WashingLinen just loves to be washed and ironed. The more linen is washed the softer, nicer and shinier it becomes.
First, use the right washing agents. The detergents that contain bleaching agents are perfect for white linen but should not be used for washing colored linen or else your linen would get discolored or spotted. Only bleach-free detergents must be used for washing colored articles. Use pure soap or gentle detergents. Soap works best in soft water. Never use chlorine bleaches to avoid damage to the fiber. Only oxygen-type bleaches should be used for white linen laundering. However, no bleach should be used when washing spun, colored or embroidered linen.
If the water you use is hard due to a high lime content add a softening agent, especially for darker-colored articles. Use plenty of water because linen is very water-absorbent. Water temperature should be selected according to the care instructions attached to your linen item. If the temperature exceeds the recommended maximum temperature it may lead to fabric shrinkage.
Never wash darker-colored pieces together with lighter-colored articles - if you do, you risk spoiling both.
Do not overload your washing machine, so linen can move freely - if you do, the fabric color may get streaked. When machine washing, put delicate or fringed items in a pillowcase or a net bag to reduce wear and tear.
Whether washing by hand or by machine, linen items have to be thoroughly rinsed in plenty of water to remove all soap, detergent and residual soil and prevent the formation of the so-called age spots due to the oxidation effect.
Do not soak, boil off, rub or wring out embroidered articles.
When washing colored embroidered articles, add a touch of salt. Also add a touch of vinegar when rinsing colored linen - that will help prevent color fading.
Remove stains when still fresh. If allowed to set, stains may be hard, if impossible, to remove at a later date (for more information see Stain Removal section below).
If you take your linens to an outside laundry, don't forget to tell them that your articles are linen-made.
DryingDo not wring out linen before drying. Whatever drying method you choose - line drying, tumbler drying or lying out on a terry towel - make sure your linen articles are slightly damp before ironing. That will make your subsequent ironing job easier. Drying white linen in the sun helps retain the original white color. It is a good idea to lay out your laundered item, pull it into shape and pat it flat to minimize wrinkles and thereby save your ironing time. Over-drying leads to the loss of the natural moisture content and makes linen brittle. Over-dried items restore their natural moisture content after re-absorbing moisture from the air.
IroningAs it has just been pointed ou,t ironing is easier when the laundered items are still slightly damp. Be sure that the soleplate of your iron is clean and smooth. If you have a steam iron check out the soleplate for mineral deposits - they can cause brown spotting. Use well-padded boards with smooth heat-reflective covers - it will reduce your ironing time. Iron linen articles until they are smooth but not dry, then hang or spread them out to become bone-dry.
If you postpone ironing until some later time put laundered items in a plastic bag and place it in the refrigerator or a freezer from 6 to 24 hours. It will help them remain damp and prevent mildew formation.
For extra crispness spray the laundered items, especially napkins, with starch and iron at a medium to hot setting - it will allow you to fold napkins into a variety of fancy shapes. If you prefer a softer look, use spray-on fabric sizing.
In case of light-colored linens, iron on the wrong side first, then on the right side to bring out the sheen. As regards dark-colored articles, iron on the wrong side only.
When ironing embroidered linen, keep the embroidery stitches rounded and dimensional and iron on the wrong side on a soft terry towel to avoid the risk of flattening it out. Special care should be taken while ironing delicate lace and cutwork to avoid tearing it with the iron - use a press cloth to safeguard against it. Press cloth also helps to avoid press marks over seams, hems and pockets.
Do not iron on a patterned cloth because there is a risk that it may get imprinted on the embroidery. Do not fold up the items just ironed - they should be kept spread out for some time to dry.
Place a table next to the ironing board when ironing large items such as tablecloths. Roll finished sections of the cloth over the table rather than letting it pile up under the ironing board. You can prevent tablecloth creasing by rolling the tablecloth around a tube as you continue ironing.
Stain RemovalRemember that fresh stains are easier to remove than old ones. Never use chlorine bleach - it can damage the fabric.
Always follow stain removal product directions. Make a point of testing a stain removal substance before applying it. Do it using a hidden part of the cloth. After applying the remover, let it stand for 2-5 minutes, then rinse. Should the color change, do not use the product on the fabric. Never put stain removers directly into the washing machine. Do not mix stain removers together.
When removing a stain, place the stained area face down on a clean paper towel or white cloth. Avoid applying the remover on the embroidery.
Always launder items after treating to remove residues of the stain and the stain remover.
You can also try the traditional way: spread the linen out in the sun in your back yard for a few days.
Remember that some stains cannot be removed.
Ballpoint Ink Hold stain against towel, spray closely from behind with aerosol hair spray.
Beverages Soak in cool water. Re-wash with stain remover. Launder using oxygen bleach (for white linen).
Blood Rinse immediately in cold water.
Candle Wax Chill with ice and scrape off as much as possible with dull side of knife, then iron between absorbent paper, changing paper until wax is absorbed.
Chocolate Pre-wash with product containing enzymes in warm water or treat with pre-wash stain remover. Launder.
Collar, Cuff Soil Pre-wash with stain remover, liquid laundry detergent or paste of granular detergent and water. Launder.
Cosmetics Pre-wash with stain remover, liquid laundry detergent or paste of granular detergent and water or rub with bar of soap. Launder.
DeodorantsAnti-perspirants Pre-treat with liquid laundry detergent. Launder. For heavy stains pre-treat with pre-wash stain remover. Allow to stand for 5 to 10 minutes.
Fruit Juice Rinse with cool water.
Grass Launder using oxygen bleach (for white linen).
Grease Spots, Oil Pre-treat with pre-wash stain remover or liquid laundry detergent. For heavy stains, place stain face down on clean paper towels. Apply cleaning agent to back of stain. Replace paper towels under stain frequently. Let dry, rinse and launder.
Ink Use ink eradicator (only for undyed, untreated linen).
Lemon, Lime Juice, Vinegar Rinse immediately with cool water.
Lipstick On pure linen, rub with a little salad oil to dissolve lipstick, then launder to remove oil.
Meat Juice Rinse with cool, never hot, water.
Perspiration Use pre-wash stain remover or rub with bar of soap. If color of fabric has changed, apply ammonia to fresh stains, white vinegar to old stains and rinse. Launder using hottest water safe for fabric.
Red Wine Cover with salt if stain is fresh, and then rinse with cool water. If stain has dried, try rinsing with club soda.
Tar Scrape residue from fabric. Place stain face down on paper towels. Sponge with cleaning fluid. Replace towels frequently. Launder in hottest water safe for fabric.
Tomato Rinse with cool water.
Coffee/Tea Stretch fabric tautly over a bowl and pour boiling water from high above.
White Wine Rinse with club soda.