Linen is a fabric that is very resistant to washing and wear and tear over time. Its maintenance therefore does not concern so much this part, but rather the conservation during the periods in which it is not used . Furthermore, however long it may have a life cycle, nothing is eternal and, to keep it at its maximum splendor, some forethought may be needed.
Obviously, the first very useful indications come from the labels of the various garments; always read them carefully, to understand the composition and observe the instructions given. In any case, here are some general tips for taking care of your linen garments, whether it’s clothes or household linen.
The washing machine
Is it possible to wash linen garments in the washing machine? Absolutely yes. Even more than cotton, it also resists frequent washing for a long time , as can happen with sheets.
If a garment is in pure linen, it can also be washed at relatively high temperatures; if instead it is a mixture of different fibers, check the label. For garments with embroidery or other inserts , always use the cycle reserved for delicate garments, possibly in cold water or in any case lower than 40 degrees.
Pay attention to the centrifuge: the linen fibers are not very elastic and, as is known, this fabric wrinkles very easily. It is therefore better to lengthen the drying times a little and decrease the spin speed .
With linen, best to avoid the dryer. But if you need it, maybe because the weather outside is rainy and it wouldn’t allow you to hang out, you can use it with a few tricks : put a few items on, set a low temperature and let the dryer go for a quarter of an hour maximum. The garments will finish drying on a drying rack.
Since linen clothes are used above all in summer, take advantage of the summer and hang them outdoors. Unlike other fabrics, linen is not afraid of the sun and does not turn yellow easily … however, why risk it? As already mentioned, nothing is eternal. So, unless you’re in a hurry and want to harness the power of the sun’s heat, hanging in the shade is always a good choice , for any type of fabric.
Remember that linen has great absorbency, great for when you sweat; but this also means that it will absorb a lot of water. Before picking up the hanging clothes, make sure they are perfectly dry, turning them several times on each side ; it often happens that some moisture remains in the creases.
This is the most challenging step when it comes to linen. It is not easy to remove creases from the fabric, due to the lack of elasticity of its fibers. You need a very hot iron and a little steam : for this reason, it is always better to iron the garments inside out.
Above all, remember that every crease will remain, even those made with iron. So be careful how you fold your clothes to put them away in the closet. Perhaps, it is better to leave the shirts open and put them on a hanger , and for linen trousers, be careful to follow the side crease very well.
Pack your clothes for next season
As mentioned, caution with linen items should be exercised especially when storing them for the following season. It is usually put away for the winter to await summer.
The problem with linen is that it absorbs humidity, so it will capture what it finds in the environment . It is therefore essential that it is stored in very dry cabinets, together with moisture-absorbing bags. Also use moth-repellent products, even if these insects are attracted to dirty clothes; before making the change of season, make sure they are clean and well scented; moths don’t like perfume!
However, avoid using vacuum bags ; you would find many folds and you would really struggle to eliminate them. Unless there are major space problems, it is better to leave clothes and household linen “free to breathe”.
Instead, use tissue boxes. These will keep your clothes repaired for months but still allow for minimal air exchange, avoiding the risk of mould . However, if this should happen, avoid do-it-yourself solutions. Take the damaged garments to the dry cleaners to find out if and how they can be recovered ; in case of bad news, all that remains is to eliminate them. Unfortunately, the risk of mold spores remaining in the fibers, even if invisible to the naked eye, is high; better not to risk having them in contact with the skin.