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Taking Care of Bed Linens


River Washing LinensBed Linens is probably the world's oldest natural fiber, and most people would agree bed linen predates dry cleaners. And bed linen launders beautifully.

Know up front, that the following information is gleaned mostly from people talks.

Most people use, and recommend washing, rather than dry cleaning for linen garments, bed linens, and table linens. (However; dry cleaning is recommended for cleaning linen draperies, due to potential for shrinkage in long pieces.)

Washing bed linens is recommended because the more linen is washed, the softer, more absorbent and more luminous it becomes. One can use either hand or machine washing, but observe the following points:

  • Be gentle when laundering bed linens: use a gentle wash cycle or handwash and use just a little gentle soap. We like Ivory Snow (powder), but some people swear by Woolite, some people like Orvus Quilt Soap (available at some Quilt stores as well as many Saddle and Tack shops!) and some even use their favorite shampoo. Whatever you use to wash bed linens, follow the package directions. Place delicate, embroidered or fringed linens in a lingerie bag before putting them into a washing machine.

  • Use cool to warm, not hot, water to wash bed linens. Wash colored linens in cool water. Soft water is important: Hard water forms a soap scum that make linen stiff and dull.

  • Launder bed linen stains when fresh. If allowed to set, stains may be permanent.

  • Use oxygen bleaches (hydrogen peroxide) for white bed linens. Experiment to see how much is needed. Chlorine bleaches can cause yellowing.

  • Try a couple of tablespoons of cream rinse for your hair in the final rinse cycle. Linen is cellulose fiber, and many of our customers swear this makes their linen more lustrous.

  • If hand washing your bed linens, rinse very thoroughly. Removal of all soap will help prevent large brown spots on linen, which are caused by oxidation of cellulose by residual soap.

Drying. Several drying methods are recommended for linen such as:

  • Line drying,

  • Machine drying,

  • Rolling in terry towels, or

  • Drying on the lawn!

Whatever method you use, bring the bed linen in while it is still damp. If bed linen dries thoroughly, it may become brittle, taking several hours to recover its natural moisture and flexibility. Don't wring wet or damp bed linen before drying, it breaks the fibers.

Many people prefer to spread their bed linens on the grass to dry them Note: Be certain the grass is clean and the dog is tied.... Line drying works as well, but may leave dimples where the clothes pins were. The sunlight helps bleach white linens white, helps kill bacteria and leaves them with a great, fresh smell.

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