Laundering Fine Linen

 There has been a lot written in the last few years about “thread count” in sheets and the quality that it represents. You seldom read that thread counts differ country to country or that the type of thread used is more important than the number. So we will dispense with the subject and concentrate on how to care for linens that are an ” investment”. Everyone’s pocket book is defferent, but everyone knows the difference between linens that are worth taking care of and the ones you know will not be in your closet two years from now.

Good linens can last for thirty years with the proper handling. Thay can withstand childern, dogs and champagne in bed if they are cared for. However it is important to realize first how they are constructed and to know the difference between what should be expected to withstand wear and what will never be able to last beyond summer camp or a year in a college dorm.

Linens are constructed on a grid; horizontal threads and vertical threads. If the threads are pure cotton and not cotton peices, they should be able to withstand a great deal of wear.  If however, you cut into the grid to make a fitted bottom sheet, you cut dramatically the strength of the weave and the sheet will tear. So the first rule of sheeting: ALWAYS USE A FLAT BOTTOM SHEET.  And because stains and wear are usually sustained by the bottom sheet, I always recommend purchasing a second bottom sheet.  In a set that can cost into the hundreds and thousands of dollars, this is a good investment. If you can use sheets nicely for 30 years or pass them on to your children as an heirloom; you have actually saved yourself money.

The care of sheeting, however, is a bigger challenge than the expense. Though lesser quality sheets give us the freedom to go from dryer to bed, beautiful sheets from Leron, Anichini, Frette, and Gayle Warwick look their best when ironed. I have been called in to replace lovely sheets that the owner thought were dowdy, when all that was required was an iron for them to look as they did the day they came home.  Ironing sheets is a chore,  but for this excercise, let’s say it’s worth it.

TO LAUNDER SHEETING:

1.  Machine was in warm water, not hot.

2.  Wash in the gentle cycle.

3.  Use a mild detergent Do not use bleach, stain removers or detergents with a “bluing” agent or lightener. Always dilute your detergent or pour it into the automatic dispenser, never directly on the sheets.

4.   Fabric softeners are not necessary. Save the money.

5.  If you cannot air dry ( does anybody do that anymore?). Put your sheets on the lowest possible setting of the dryer. It is the dryer that causes the most damage to good linens. Remove the linens while they are still slightly damp and place them on a bed or rod. It is very damaging to repeatedly dry them in a dryer.  It breaks down the cotton and the fabric becomes dull and brittle.

6.  Try and leave the linens somewhere flat before pressing. It makes it so much easier to iron. Try and iron when the linens are slightly damp, if possible. And pressing from the underside of a pattern is better, just like clothing.

7. Store your linens in an airy place. Don’t place in plastic. Fold them simply and store.

8. If your sheeting has a monogram, iron it from the underside onto a terry cloth towel so that the monogram stays three dimensional and doesn’t flatten out over time.

Good luck! And remember that a cup of white vinegar in the rinse water will remove all soapy residue and leave your fabrics smelling better than any product on the market.

If you own expensive sheets and don’t want to launder them yourself, Anichini Fine Linens recommends BlancPlume 1-800-307-0229 for a professional water cleaning.  If you use a professional laundry service, copy these instructions and ask them to follow these guidelines. For any further help, feel free to comment on this site or contact us through www.goredean.com

 

 

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