Caring for your Linens
Linen and cotton are natural fibres. To ensure that they keep all their softness and strength you must take good care of them. Follow these few instructions:
- Check that you have bought the correct size before washing. Remember that all pure cottons and linens shrink after the first wash by 3-10% depending on the fabric. This shrinking may be minimised by always pre-washing cotton and linen in cold water.
- Check the care label in case it suggests dry clean only.
- Always separate the white from the coloured linens. Wash red and black separately from other colours.
- Do not wash linen and cotton natural fibres with synthetic fabrics. This may cause pilling on the natural fabrics.
- Always use a biodegradable detergent or non-biological powders, avoiding those containing whiteners, bleach, optical brighteners or alkalis, all of which can alter colour and weaken your fabric over time.
- Do not use excessive amounts of washing detergent as this can clog the fibres. Unless they are very soiled, your linen will be just as clean with a smaller amount of detergent.
- Heat damages fine linens whether in the washing machine or the dryer. Wash in water around 40°C.
- Remove from the washing machine immediately after washing to avoid wrinkles.
- Cotton and linen will benefit from line drying, leaving them almost wrinkle free and smelling fresh. If you wish, you may also tumble dry on a low heat. Use the cool down cycle at the end to reduce wrinkles. Shaking your linen before putting it into the tumble dryer will also help reduce creasing. Remove from the tumble dryer promptly after the cycle has finished, shake and fold carefully, making sure that details such as pillowcase borders and sheet edges are lying flat.
Use a gentle detergent without using excessive amounts as this can clog the fibres. Unless they are very soiled, your linen will be just as clean with a smaller amount of detergent. Remove from the washing machine straight away to avoid wrinkles.
Take special care for cotton pique bedspreads and honeycomb robes or towels.
Whether white or coloured, these should always be pre-washed in cold water and then on a delicate cycle at 30°C for best results. Cotton pique shrinks by 5-10% of its finished size. Excessive heat will aggravate the problem. Never tumble dry above 30°C, ironing the cotton pique as well as the waffle while it is still damp will regain some of its original size. Check the care label before washing in case it specifies to dry clean only.
A first wash is also recommended for your new towels, it will help “break them in” which makes them softer and more absorbent. This is also an important first step to set the colours and stability of the weave. Run a washing cycle at low temperature using just a small amount of non-biological detergent. Finally, rinse in cold water. You can use a touch of white vinegar in the final rinse, this will further prevent colour fading and soap build up, leaving your towels brilliant, fresh and absorbent. Finally, hang (if you have the space) or tumble dry on low to medium heat without overloading the machine, as air needs to circulate so that the pile can regain its fluffiness.
Never mix colours with whites. Check that the soap you use with colours does not contain bleach. The delicate pile of the towelling gets damaged by excessive heat so it is crucial not to wash your towels at a very high temperature. All white towels can be washed at 60°C and all other towels at 40ºC as excessive heat damages colours too.
It is particularly important with towels not to use fabric softener since it decreases the absorbency. Several washings are required for 100% cotton terry towels to achieve their maximum absorbency, softness and fluff. Never tumble dry higher than 30°C. It is always better to spin dry then to tumble dry your towels.
Never pour detergents directly onto you towels and never use detergents containing alkalis. We do not recommend chlorine bleach as this tends to yellow and weaken the towelling. If necessary, use oxygen-based bleach.
We do not recommend tumble drying linen; it should be line dried or spin dried.
Table linens often get badly stained with lipstick, red wine, grease or red fruit. Follow the instructions listed below for removing these stains before you place them in the machine.
BERRIES AND FRUIT: If the stain is still wet, rinse in cold water; if it remains, pour hot water over it, then wash in hot water and gentle liquid soap. If the stain is dry, a solution of borax (one-part borax to six parts water) may remove the stain. Soak in warm water until it has disappeared.
BLOOD: Attend to bloodstains immediately. Rinse well in cold water (never hot – it will permanently set the stain), and then try the following: gently apply hydrogen peroxide with a damp cloth; allow bubbling, then wipe with a fresh cloth. Repeat if necessary. For dried bloodstain, soak overnight in cold water and two cups of salt, then wash as usual.
BUTTER OR MARGARINE: Mix one teaspoon of detergent with warm water. Apply to spot and blot. You may need to repeat a few times. Alternatively mix one-part white vinegar and two parts water. Saturate the stain and blot until dry. Wash as usual.
CANDLE WAX ON TABLE LINENS: Harden with an ice cube or place in fridge, gently peel away the wax that can easily be removed with your fingernail. Place the item between two sheets of absorbent paper such as ink blotting paper and press with a warm iron but only if the wax is white otherwise it will tint the fabric; the paper will absorb the remaining wax. If the wax is coloured, scrape as much as you can, then wash with a bleaching agent.
TEA OR COFFEE: Soak immediately in cold water, rinse as much as you can. Apply a borax solution (one-part borax to six parts water) directly to the stain, and then wash in warm soapy water.
GREASE: Do not allow grease stains to set. Sprinkle fresh grease stains with baking soda or cornstarch and leave for a couple of hours until the powder gets thick. Scrape away and repeat if necessary. Brush off the powder and launder as usual.
GRASS: Wash in warm soapy water. If stain remains, mix one-third vinegar and two-thirds water, apply to stain and blot with clean cloth. Alternatively sponge with methylated spirit and launder as usual.
INK: Hold the stained area against a white towel; dab with a clean cloth dipped in alcohol; the ink will be transferred to the towel. Repeat as many times as necessary. Rinse in cold water before washing.
LIPSTICK: Scrape off as much as you can with a dull knife, rub with a stain remover like Vanish with a clean white towel. Wash as usual.
MILDEW: Apply white vinegar and lemon juice to kill the mildew. Let the item sit in the sun for a few hours. Wash as usual but separately from other linens.
MEAT JUICE AND TOMATO JUICE: Rinse with cold water. Place fabric on a towel; blot the stain with another clean towel.
OIL: Saturate stain with liquid detergent then wash as usual.
WINE: White wine is easily removed with normal laundering. You can also rinse with soda water. For red wine: dilute stain as soon as possible with a little white wine then soak in cold water; if the stain is stubborn saturate the stain with soda water until it disappears.
Do not over-dry your linens by using a dryer setting that is too hot. This would damage the fibres. Most dryers have an air cycle that simply air-tumbles its contents without any heat. Never tumble dry Linen, ideally, they should be line hung or spin dried.
Remove your linens promptly from the machine to reduce wrinkling. Smooth them out, by shaking them, then fold carefully ready for ironing.
For both bedding and table linens, avoid using spray starch, which has a tendency to adhere to the surface of the iron and may also attract silverfish to the stored linens. To facilitate the ironing of your linens following these guidelines:
- Iron your bed linens while they are still damp. Check the sewn-in label with the universal symbols for the appropriate setting for your iron. When in doubt, not too hot.
- Iron your linens on the underside when possible, using a well-padded ironing board and a clean iron. If additional moisture is needed, we recommend a water spritzer rather than a steam iron which might emit rusty drops during steaming.
- Due to the woven construction of cotton sateen, washing may seem to reduce the original silkiness of the fabric. Pressing cotton sateen sheets on the reverse side will smooth the fibres and restore their original appearance.
- When ironing monogrammed or any other type of embroidered linens, place them face down on a towel on top of the ironing board so that the embroidery sinks into the pile of the towelling. Do the same thing for Damask to enhance the jacquard woven design.
- Table linens should be ironed while very damp especially if they are made of linen.
Store linens flat. If the shelves are wooden, line them with acid free tissue paper. Some woods, such as cedar, contain oils that can damage linens.
Make sure that linens are not exposed to direct sunlight to avoid colours fading. Store in a cool, dry and well-ventilated place.
Leave a few lavender sachets on the shelves.
Any linens that are used infrequently, should be wrapped in white cotton, muslin or acid-free paper. Avoid plastic bags or bin storage or cedar chests, which can cause permanent yellowing or streaking.