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Caring for your linen


This is actually quite easy. Modern washing machines are more efficient than the old way and these natural fibres stand up well to hot water and detergents. It is important to wash your linens in a "whites" load and hanging them in the sun will also help to bleach them and keep them sparkling white.

Some of the more fragile pieces with complicated pierced work and embroidery need more care and I usually put them in a lingerie wash bag to protect them during the washing cycle.




Problem stains:

Red wine stains are best soaked immediately in cold water and then washed in the normal way.

Candlewax: the best way is first to place the cloth between two sheets of absorbent kitchen roll (white only) and iron the area carefully to melt the wax which will be soaked up by the kitchen roll. The cloth can then be washed as usual.

Stubborn stains can be treated with an in-wash stain remover such as Vanish. You can also try bleaching a stain which is proving difficult to remove but be sure to dilute the bleach according to the manufacturer's instructions. Do not leave your linen for too long in the bleach solution and be sure to rinse well in cold water - bleach will rot the fibres if left too long.

And to get that lovely silky smooth finish, iron your cloth and napkins using a spray-on starch. If you want to be really authentic you can soak the linen in a starch solution (again available commercially) after washing but this adds greatly to the effort involved.