Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Caring and Storing for Pure Linen Fabrics

Caring and Storing for Pure Linen Fabrics

Linen can be laundered with confidence. With a minimum amount of proper care, the natural beauty of linen is easily maintained. Linen increases in strength when wet, which is why it stands up to the rough and tumble of repeated laundering so well. Linen is a strong natural fiber. Irish linen wears extremely well and is able to maintain its special qualities throughout its long life through normal household use. The more linen is washed the softer and more luminous it becomes.

Caring and Storing for Pure Linen Fabrics
It is important to select the proper washing agent. Commercial liquid detergents can be safely used, but always check for colorfastness. Colorfastness is a term used to describe a dyed fabrics ability to resist fading and color running due to washing, exposure to sunlight and other environmental conditions. Please ensure you check any specific care instructions, like ‘wash separately’ or ‘wash with like colors’ and these warnings mean the dye tends to bleed. If not colorfast, colors may bleed, fade, or migrate to other areas of the garment, or other items in the wash load. To test for colorfastness: in an inconspicuous area apply the product and let dry thoroughly. If color loss occurs do not use the product. If no change is evident proceed with cleaning by following label directions.

Avoid any detergents with optical brightening agents (whitening agents) as they may cause colors to alter and on damask patterns can detract from the appearance of the subtle white linen damask pattern. When washing colors, check that your detergent does not have whitening agents. Please avoid using bleach. Misuse can significantly degrade and weaken the fibers.

Washing Your Linens

Machine wash in warm (not hot) water on gentle cycle. You may use any mild detergent or soap. Use enzyme reactive stain removers only. Do not use chlorine, bleach, stain removers or detergents with lighteners. Never pour detergent or soap directly on your textiles. Do not use fabric softeners. These only coat the fibers and make them "appear" to be soft.

  1. Unfold your linens completely before washing.
  2. Wash dark colors separately from white colors.
  3. Do not overload the machine.
  4. Wash your linens at a maximum of 40°C or 104°F (Warm water generally between 110 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit (43.3-32.2 Celsius)).
  5. Linen where colors are fast at 40°C or 104°F.
  6. Fine hand-embroidered linen needs to be treated with care and should be hand washed or machine washed at 40°C or 104°F.
  7. Use a mild soap.
  8. Avoid chlorine bleach.

Drying Your Linens

Caring and Storing for Pure Linen Fabrics
Remove linens as soon as possible from the washer to avoid excess wrinkles. Never tumble dry linen as this can over dry the fibers and makes ironing more difficult. Linen naturally dries quickly anyway. The ideal way to dry linen textiles is air only. If possible, line dry, it is best for linen. A line or rod is perfect or just lie flat to dry, but you can use a railing or shower rod as well. If you must use a dryer (however, not recommended), use the lowest setting and never dry completely. Always remove them from the dryer while still damp.

Ironing Your Linens

Always iron linen when damp as this is the ideal time to press them, however, if not possible, let them air dry. If you smooth the wrinkles out at this point, the pressing becomes even easier. Press on the underside, using a well-padded ironing board and a clean iron. Iron with steam on slightly damp linen (best the inside of the fabric). There is no need to use starch except perhaps for the finest linens, for linen has built-in crispness. If the linen has already dried out before ironing, use a water spray to re-dampen it. A good steam iron will work best on linen.

Storing Your Linens

Caring and Storing for Pure Linen Fabrics
General linens can be folded neatly. If you can, store tablecloths without folding. Linen tablecloths store best when rolled to avoid wrinkles. Storage should be dry and away from light with some air circulation. Avoid cupboards with heating pipes running through them or cedar linen chests, as these can discolor linen. If by mischance your whiter linens become discolored, wash as soon as possible and dry in the sun to whiten again.

Use these wash and care instructions to enjoy your linens for a long time to come.


  1. Apart from linen alone, I think that any other materials of fabric need careful storage too. Otherwise, they would not last as long as we would them too especially if our home is prone to insect and bug visits regardless of their physical size.

  2. Mark,
    Excellent points and thank you so much for builds to the original post. Also, thank you for visiting us at Linens Of The World. Warm Regards.