To wash linen is easy because it is a natural fiber. Just think that for centuries linen was washed in streams, boiled in cauldrons and dried in the sun. Fortunately, today we have washing machines and more comfortable ways to hand wash. As for dry cleaning, it is only necessary when the linen has special treatments or is mixed with other fibers.
Via: Serendipity Fabrics
In any case, always follow the care instructions supplied by the manufacturer. These instructions, whether for washing linen at home or for dry-cleaning, are elaborated taking into account many variables, such as preshrinking treatments, threads, dyes used, possible anti-wrinkle or anti-stains treatments, etc.
Linen can be dry-cleaned, laundered in washing machine or by hand, or steam cleaned (a practical way of cleaning curtains, for example).
Via: Y. McFadden
Freshly washed linen smells wonderful and gives you a greater sense of well-being. Follow these tips to wash linen at home and you will see how the more it is washed, the softer and more luminous and beautiful it becomes.
– Linen always shrinks the first time you wash it and then do not do it again. There are two options: to wash it before using it, or to buy a pre-washed linen (as we will see later).
– Linen should always be removed slightly damp. Remove it before it is completely dry. And never use the dryer. The reason is that the natural moisture content of linen varies between 6 – 8%. When it dries too much, the fiber becomes brittle. If this happens, linen fabric will take several hours to absorb moisture from the air and recover its full flexibility.
– In addition to the dryer, bleach is the other big enemy of linen fabric. No matter if it is a white linen, this product weakens the fiber and yellows it.
– To wash linen, either by hand or machine, use pure soap or a mild detergent. And be sure to put a sufficient amount of water, since the linen is very absorbent.
– Clean any stain when recent.
– The water temperature can oscillate between hot and very hot depending on the care instructions.
– Rinse with plenty of water to remove all detergent and residual dirt. This avoids the formation of “age spots”.
– Don’t wring to drain after washing linen.
– The best way to keep the white linen is to dry it in the sun.
Ironing linen fabric
– Ironing linen fabric is not a cumbersome chore if you do it when linen is a bit damp. After you have removed wrinkles with the iron, leave linen drying.
– One trick of our grandmothers to keep the moisture was to put the linen towels rolled up in the fridge for a few hours. Then towels were taken out one by one and ironed. If you have space in your refrigerator, try doing it with curtains or covers inside a plastic bag. It will make ironing much easier. It is also a way to avoid moisture odor when you can not iron the linen after washing it.
– Steam ironing dry linen will be much less effective than ironing it wet. Steam from a domestic iron is usually not enough.
– Iron first the reverse side, then the right side. This will bring out all the natural shine of the linen fabric. But if it is a dark color, iron only by the reverse side.
– Pure linen withstands very high ironing temperatures. In any case, always follow the manufacturer’s instructions and, if you do not have them, test in a corner or with a scrap of the fabric.
Via: Elle Deco France
What does “pre-washed linen” mean
Pre-washed linen has been repeatedly washed at high temperatures and with special products to prevent it from shrinking later, enhancing its softness and giving it a special “patina”.
As linen improves its qualities with washing and becomes incredibly soft after three years, choosing a pre-wash linen means speeding up this process and saving a lot of washes.
Via: Blasco & Blasco
Stonewashed linen means that it has been washed in large machines with pumice or volcanic stones that bash and tumble the fabric’s fiber. Stonewashed linens becomes more supple and have patina, in addition to amazing shades of color. Of course, this treatment don´t affect the quality and durability of linen fabric, but always rely on specialized manufacturers to avoid any surprise.
Do you want to know more about linen fabric? Check this post about decorating with linen fabric.