White or neutral linen sheets, tablecloths and napkins can be kept in their pristine state by using a quality detergent and precise laundering processes. Do your fine linens, and yourself, a favor and enjoy them often as long-term storage can cause fine fabrics to yellow and weaken at the folds.
Follow these tips to keep your linens in the finest shape:
Cotton damasks like vintage tablecloths, napkins, and bedding can be laundered in hot water and gentle detergent on the delicate cycle. Line dry and iron promptly. Sturdy linens can be laundered in this same way if shrinking is not a concern. To minimize shrinking, wash in cool water and line dry until just damp, then iron promptly. If either of these materials are to be stored for a long time; dry completely and do not iron.
Linen may be machine dried on a short, low heat cycle which will result in a soft, gently rumpled appearance. However, tumble drying will hasten wear and tear on the fibers and isn't recommended for heirlooms that you’re planning to hand down to future generations.
Delicate and embellished linens should always be hand-washed in cool water with gentle detergent. After rinsing, roll delicate linen in a clean towel and press gently to remove excess water, then line dry until just damp and iron promptly. To iron an embroidered item without crushing it, place it right-side down on a soft towel and press gently on the wrong side.
Revamp linens for spring usage, then maintain them by laundering sheets once a week, blankets once a month and tablecloths and napkins after use. For a natural way to achieve whiter whites, wrap the peel of one lemon in cheese-cloth of muslin and tie securely closed, then add to wash cycle.
For best results, add detergent as the washer is filling with water. Wait to add laundry until the water level is about half to three-quarters full. This will allow detergent to distribute itself as evenly thought the wash water and won’t leave faded spots on linens.
If you're in the market for an instant heirloom, our favorite luxury linens are Matteo.