We at LinenMe want to help you care for your linens and provide full care instructions with all our products. But we understand that you may have linen textiles bought elsewhere, or have more questions about table linen products with hand-embroidered detailing. And because we want you to get the best from your linens, here are some handy hints on how to wash linens.
Tips on how to wash linens:
– Regular washing is actually good for pure linen, softening and beautifying it, and giving it a lovely ‘lived-in’ look. With relaxed linens like these you don’t need to store them away ‘for best’, you can enjoy them every day. Linen fabric gets resists dirt more easily than other textiles, and if rinsed thoroughly it comes up just as new every time.
– White pure linen items without special finishes, such as hemstitched borders, can be laundered at temperatures of up to 95°C. We normally recommend using a 60°C setting, as higher temperatures tend to wear linen out faster.
– Before washing always separate dark, coloured linens from white or off-white linens.
– You can use stain remover on stains before laundering, but avoid using bleach since it weakens the fibres and may affect the colour of dyed linens. It’s worth noting that bleaching particles in conventional washing powder make natural linen colours fade.
– Try to rinse or soak any stains immediately, when still fresh, and use natural stain soaps if needed. Cover red wine stains with sugar or salt instantly to avoid permanent staining. Sugar and salt are well-known for absorbing the moisture. Just wipe the sugar off the tablecloth straight away and it should take the worst of the wine stain with it.
– Linen garments, table linens and bedlinens normally do not need pre-washing (or soaking). However, if you are washing a linen item for the first time, it can be soaked briefly in lukewarm water before the wash to avoid creasing.
– A conventional machine wash and fast spin is recommended. Use a hot iron while the linens are still slightly damp if you want to press your linens.
– Linen has a distinctive crispness which you should be able to achieve with a hot iron – no need to use starch. However, if you really want extra stiffness, table linens can be starched after a wash to achieve that extra crisp finish.
– Wash linen articles separately from other materials, especially during the first wash, as natural fibres tend to lose lint (or ‘nap’), which you don’t want to end up on your other items.
– To reduce creasing, load your washing machine half-way. This will also ensure linens get plenty of water while rinsing.
Does linen shrink?
One of the benefits of linen products is how easy they are to care for. But, like most fabrics, you should allow for a small amount of shrinkage after a first wash. As well as water temperature one major factor affecting shrinking is how you dry your linens. Most linen products are machine washable, and because linen is so quick to dry there’s usually no need to tumble dry. Simply straighten out the item and hang outdoors or inside on a drying rack for soft, supple linens. Whilst some items can be tumble dried we don’t recommend this as it can leave permanent creasing and will shorten the lifespan of your garment. It also increases shrinkage from around 4-5% if dried naturally to 10-15% if spun in a hot tumble dryer.
Fine hand-hemstitched items, such as the above-mentioned Diana tablecloth, require extra care. If washed in a washing machine, we recommend using a low temperature and low-spin setting. Never tumble dry fine hemstitched linens. Dry cleaning can be a good idea for delicate textiles.
And last but not least, always follow the manufacturer’s care instructions on the label attached to the linen item. They are there for a reason!
About the author:
Inga Lukauskiene is a passionate linen lover, designer and owner of LinenMe, which is a small 3rd generation family business working with linen fabric. Inga also runs a blog Linenbeauty.com, where shares her thoughts about simple and slow living.