Linen is a fabric that has been used for centuries to produce many kinds of clothing. Made from the flax plant, linen is created from the stalk of the plant, using its strong durable fibers. Linen is well known for wrinkling, and in a special way, that’s part of its unique attractiveness.
Whether you are fond of linen’s notorious wrinkling or prefer pressing your linen to keep it crisp, linen needs special care. If cared for properly, linen clothing can last for years and remain in excellent condition. The following are some basic tips to keep your linen garments in tiptop condition.
Before washing any clothing, it is important to look at the label to view the manufacturers care recommendations. Although linen may be laundered with great results, the garment label will take in account any special instructions that may be necessary for the particular item you want to wash. Some garments may include different fabric types used for their lining, or some may be a blend of linen with another type of fabric. If the label says it’s best to dry clean the garment, it would be wise to follow this advice.
If your garment does not list any instructions on the label, or is made entirely of linen, machine or hand washing your garment in mild, bleach-free detergent is best. When hand washing linen garments, never wring or twist the garment while cleaning. Carefully wave the linen around in lukewarm or cool water, replacing the soapy water with fresh water until all soap is removed. When machine-washing linen garments, it is best to use the machine’s gentle cycle.
Do not overload the machine, as linen launders best when given more room to move around freely in the washing machine. For garments that are delicate, have embroidery or fringe, put the garment in a pillowcase or mesh bag to prevent wear and tear. The more you wash linen, the softer it gets. Softer linen is still sturdy, but will not wrinkle as much as stiffer linen.
If you choose to dry your linen garments in a machine dryer, it is important not to over-dry linen. Over-drying can make linen brittle, causing it to wrinkle even faster than it naturally does. Remove linen clothing from the dryer before it is completely dry and iron while it is still damp. When leaving linen items to dry on their own, best results are achieved when the item is laid and smoothed out on a flat surface to air dry.
Ironing linen garments is remarkably easy. Be certain your iron is clean and if you choose to fill with water for steam, be sure it is free of mineral deposits. Mineral deposits can cause spotting on the garment. To make ironing effortless, simply make sure your garment is damp. Wrinkles are pressed away with ease when linen is dampened. Finish ironing when linen is smooth but still slightly damp, and hang or lay the garment flat until completely dry. For extra crispness, spray the linen garment with starch before ironing.
Avoid folding linen garments. Linen clothing should be hung on a padded clothes hanger in a cool dry environment.
If by chance you are battling with a stain on one of your linen garments, remember that stains are most easily removed when they are fresh. Never try to rub a stain away. Using a damp white napkin or cloth, blot the stain gently. If the stain is oil-based, it is usually best to let the dry cleaners do the work for you. If you know that the stain is water-based, blot the stain, and then wash the item as soon as possible.
If you choose to use a stain remover or treatment product, it is safest to test an inconspicuous area of the garment with the product first. Apply the product and let it sit for at least 5 minutes and then rinse. If you notice no color change, then proceed, using the product directly on the stain. After using the stain remover, rinse the garment and launder as usual. Remember that some stains just can’t be removed.
By simply caring for your linen clothing in the proper manner, you will be able to enjoy wearing your garments for many years to come.