When it comes to washing, linen is almost always better off with a hand or machine wash than a dry cleaning. In fact, the more linen is washed, the softer and more absorbent it becomes. However, a few general rules are best kept in mind. You should wash linen garments in a mild detergent diluted in lukewarm or cold, and preferably soft, water. If you are using a washing machine, set it to a mild wash cycle. In all cases, make sure to rinse the fabric thoroughly to remove all soapy residues.
Try and ensure that you remove a stain from a linen item immediately after it has formed. The more you delay, the harder it will be for you to get the stain off. In some cases, the stain may not come off at all. Some varieties of white linen can withstand oxygen bleaches, though chlorine bleaches are not recommended.
You may machine dry linen, or hang it on the line to dry, but do not wring it too hard before you hang it out to dry. The best thing would be to bring it off the line while it is still damp, because linen tends to acquire a brittle quality if it dries too thoroughly, which is difficult to reverse. However, you should leave linen items in direct sunlight for a while for the bacteria to be killed and the items to acquire the crisp linen smell.
Actually, ironing is not really a priority when it comes to linen items, unless they’re really crushed. If so, it would be a good idea to iron while the fabric is still damp. If you can’t manage that, use a spray starch and iron with steam at medium-to-hot. While white linen is best ironed on both sides, it is bets to iron dark linen on the wrong side only.
Never store dirty linen, because it will attract mildew. If mildew has formed on your linen items, soak in a mild solution of hydrogen peroxide and water before washing. If you wrap your linen, avoid using plastic bags and opt for cloth bags instead. Also, avoid cardboard boxes and cedar chests.
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