Linen is a beautiful, comfortable, and durable fabric that is made from fibres of the flax plant. Taking care of linen is easy! It becomes softer and more absorbent with age. What The Linen team has been asked many questions about taking care for linen products, so we decided to write an article to make things clear. Just follow a few simple rules, and enjoy your linens for years to come! As with many fabrics, especially if you’re still learning about how to care for them, use a small, hidden area of the fabric to test out any cleaning products.
Here are some basic rules that are applicable to most pure linen items:
– Machine wash in hot water (up to 70°C (158°F).
White kitchen linens can withstand water temperatures of up to 100°C. In the past housewives regularly boiled their linen items to kill germs on their bedsheets and towels. Nowadays, it is uncommon for people to boil their linens, but you can still wash them on the “hot cycle” setting in your washing machine.
– Do not bleach.
Bleach ruins natural fibres of flax linen easily. Also do not bleach your coloured kitchen linens. No matter what kind of dye was used (natural or chemical) the colours and patterns will be ruined.
– Iron at high temperature.
Ironing your fancy tablecloths and napkins makes them more elegant for that formal dinner, and, as a bonus, kills germs. So some people like to bleach to kill the germs – iron instead!
– Tumble dry, low heat, delicate setting.
Take out of the dryer when your kitchen linens are still slightly damp. You can hang them to dry or iron to perfection.
Linen comes from the flax (linseed) plant, which is an important food and fibre crop found in cooler areas of the world such as Northern Eastern Europe. The first use of flax fabric in textile production was found in what is now Georgia and Middle East. In the ancient world linen was considered a hot commodity, valued for its practical uses and spiritual symbolism. In ancient Egypt, considered a symbol of purity, flax linen was worn by priests, as well as used in the embalming process; and in Rome it was often used to make sails. After the fall of the Roman Empire linen lost its international popularity for some time, but still had the time to make its way into Europe. In Western Europe linen became popularized by Charlemagne who was aware of its strength and hygienic properties. Flax linen first appeared in the Slavic regions in the IX century; they prized linen for its versatility, and considered the fabric pure, mystical, and holy. Flax was used by Slavic people of all social classes in day to day life, and in marriage and other rituals. Peter I, during his reign, industrialized the production of linen goods, and later, Catherine II encouraged export, making Belorussian linen available to the rest of Europe. To this day flax and the material it produces remains a prized national product of Belarus, prized for its quality, utility, and history.
There are plenty of natural fabrics on the market worthy of their place in your home, but flax linen fabric is by far the strongest and most durable, as well as carries many health benefits. Linen is 2 times stronger than cotton and 3 times stronger than wool, and absorbs up to 20% of its weight in water without feeling damp to the touch, and dries quickly. Another benefit of pure flax linen fabric is that natural linen fabrics are hypoallergenic and antiseptic: no harmful bacteria can breed in it. It does not form any lint, making it perfect for people suffering from asthma, allergies, sensitive skin or any other dermatological problems. Flax linen fabric does not disintegrate over time, it just becomes softer, so towels and washcloths can double as gentle, reusable exfoliant.
Clothing and bed linens made from flax fabric are light and breathable, perfect for both hot and cold weather as linen is great at maintaining body temperature. Moreover flax fabric reflects UV rays, which makes it more effective than other fabrics at protecting the skin from sun damage. Finally, linen is the ultimate low-maintenance fabric: it can be machine washed even in hot water, heat-treated, and even left out in the sun without fading.