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Caring for Linen.
There is a misconception about linen, as there is with many materials, in that it is hard to take care of. Many people end up choosing to pass on the linen in favor of more familiar materials, but this is definitely a mistake! Linen is much easier to care for than one might think, becomes softer and softer with each wash, and is a beautiful way to enhance any home. Just follow these easy-care tips!
What Is Linen?
Before we get right into the care tips, understanding what linen is will help you care for it better! While cotton is made from - well - cotton, linen is made from the flax plant. Cotton fibers are much thinner than flax fibers, which is why cotton will reach a higher thread count and is highly absorbent, while linen is excellent for moisture-wicking. However, while linen is a heavier cloth, it can take less time than cotton to dry and is often heavier to the touch than cotton fabrics. But, deposit this, it is naturally antibacterial, breathable on the skin, has low initial shrinkage, and is an excellent choice for warm-weather garments and bedding, and for household items all year round.
Washing Your Linens
Many people assume that linen has to be delicately hand-washed, carefully line-dried, and folded precisely in order to preserve its unique qualities, but that simply isn’t true; linen can be washed in any standard washing machine. It is best to wash linen with similar colors, as dyed fabrics are more likely to pick up or shed pigment than other garments like basic t-shirts. Pick a gentle cycle on your washer and be sure to use cold water or up to lukewarm water; using water at higher temperatures may cause your items to shrink. Opt for a mild detergent, and avoid bleach. Avoid fabric softeners, as they can weaken the fabric’s fibers and actually impede in its softening over time, and the moisture-wicking properties of linen.
If you have delicate or structured linen clothing, it may be wise to bring these items to a dry cleaner. Be sure to check the label to see if this is recommended for yours!
If you notice a stain in your linen, be sure to act fast! Like all woven fibers, linen will absorb spills quickly and it will absorb deep into the fabric, making it harder to remove the longer it sits. As soon as you notice a stain, spot-treat or spot-soak the area with a solution of warm water and a mild detergent. If the detergent alone doesn’t work, trying a cleaner like OxyClean can help, as can a gently dish soap. Once the stain is removed, wash and dry as usual.
As with hot water, high heats can cause linen to shrink and affect the overall longevity and integrity of the item. If you choose to use a machine dryer, choose a low- or no- heat option and forgo adding any items that have heavy pieces to them, such as jeans with large buttons. For the most optimal care, remove the items from the dryer when they are warm, but still slightly damp, and let them hang dry for the remainder. This is especially pertinent for linen clothes, since drying them hanging will help to keep their shape. Make sure all items are completely dry before using or storing them.
Just mentioned above, ensure that your linens are completely dry before storing linens to avoid mold or mildew. Linen, like all natural fibers, need to breathe, so avoid storing linen items in plastic bags. Old pillowcases, linen bags, and wrapping your linens in old towels are all good storage options to optimize their care.
That’s it! There is really no need to be intimidated by linen. It’s soft, durable, and easy to care for! Linen, properly cared for, can last a considerable amount of time. Go find your newest favorites and experience the difference for yourself! We recommend starting with our soft, comfortable bed sheets for a luxurious night’s sleep; we promise you’ll see the difference!