What You Need To Know About Linens
You’ve finally treated yourself to some lovely linens – now how do you best take care of them? One way to think about them is how you treat your hair – if you over-wash, treat it with chemicals, or use a blow-dryer too often, you can damage it and cause split ends and frizziness. Similar rules apply to your sheets – harsh soaps, rough washers, and hot dryers can damage the fibers and reduce the life of your linens. The following are ten ways to keep your best linens luxurious.
- Attend to stains right away – if you have a spill, try to clean it immediately before it sets. Usually, if you attack it while it’s still wet, it comes out easily. Natural citrus cleaners such as Nature’s Miracle do a good job – make sure the cleaner is safe to use on delicate fabrics. Other products that specialize in removing stains from fine textiles include Orvus paste, a super-mild soap, and Restoration Powder, which is fantastic for soaking older fabrics.
- Changing your sheets once a week and your pillowcases twice a week is usually sufficient. Washing them more than once a week can cause them to age faster.
- When it’s time to wash, choose a mild detergent, such as Linen Wash. You can generally wash in warm water on a gentle cycle, though wash in cold water if you feel they are fragile. It’s best to use a front-loading washer without an agitator to reduce the strain on the fabric. Avoid chlorine bleach, stain removers, or any harsh soaps – if you want an extra-fresh smell, try adding a cup of white vinegar to the rinse water.
- Because heat can hurt your linens, air-drying is really the best approach. However, if that’s not an option, use the low (delicate/permanent press) setting on your dryer. To steer clear of wrinkles, remove the linens while they are still slightly damp and either iron them immediately or make the bed right away, smoothing them out as you go.
- This is everyone’s favorite part – ironing. No one likes a wrinkled bed, so you’re going to have to either make the bed as soon as your dryer turns off, or pick up that trusty iron. You can take a short cut by folding your linens in half (vertically) before ironing them … or iron only your pillow cases and duvet, using jersey sheets, which don’t need to be ironed!
- If you happen to love either linen or lace, ironing is even more interesting. For linen, iron on the reverse side to keep the front from getting shiny. With lace, press rather than iron; lift and lower the iron without moving from side to side so that you do not snag the fabric.
- If you really want to save yourself the trouble, you can also take your sheets to the cleaners. Many dry-cleaners now offer hand-washing, which, though pricier, is the easiest on your delicates, and saves you time.
- Another time to dry-clean is when you’re not sure if you should wash. Linen, hemp, silk, jute, and ramie are all fabrics that ought not be dunked in water. If the care labels instruct you to hand-wash, do so with cool water and mild soap, such as dish detergent. Dry these fabrics out of direct sunlight on a wooden drying rack, using clean terry towels to cover the dowels.
- Just as with down, linens need to be stored in cool, dry places where air can circulate. Also refrain from stacking them in or on shelves or drawers made from unfinished wood as resins can cause stains.
- The last touch in caring for your linens is infusing them with a nice scent – sachets, soaps, and drawer liners all add a wonderful dimension to your sheets … favorite scents are lavender, cedar, and rose – but you can experiment with others as well!