Many people prefer a launder linen service, especially table linens, handkerchiefs and bed linen, because the more linen is washed, the softer and more luminous it becomes. Its luminous quality is caused by nodes on the flax fibers, which reflect light. These same people often choose to wash linen articles because they know linen, as a natural fiber, launders beautifully.
Shirts and other garments worn close to the body are easily washed. Freshly washed linen has a naturally clean fragrance and gives one the sense of well-being. In the case of hand or machine washing use a sufficient amount of water since linen is very absorbant.
A variety of drying methods is recommended for linen: line drying, machine drying or rolling in terry towels. Whatever method you use, remember to remove the linen from the line, the dryer or the towels while it is still damp. If linen dries thoroughly, it becomes brittle and takes several hours to recover its natural moisture and full flexibility. (The natural moisture content of linen is between 6-8%. Linen dried beyond this point will re-absorb moisture from the air.)
Dry Cleaning Linens
Today, most manufacturers of linen garments and other linen items, especially interior furnishings, recommend a dry cleaning linen service. Why, if linen is a natural-fiber fabric and can be washed? Through the ages people have washed linen in streams and boiled linen in pots to get it clean. To dry it, they simply spread the linen out to dry in the sun.
The underlying reason is not the linen, rather the dyes, finishes, interfacing, lining, buttons, trim and even the thread that may be used in construction, of garments especially. Undyed sanitized linen launders beautifully, but few things are fashioned out of undyed linen. The added treatments and additions to the fabric complicate the cleaning process. If dry cleaning is the method of cleaning used, it is important to point out spots so the dry cleaner can pretreat the stain correctly.
If dry cleaning is recommended, choose a dry cleaner who does work on the premises. Ask whether solvents are regularly changed. If white linens turn gray or yellow, it may be an indication that the solvents need to be replaced.
Probably the most quoted reason for choosing dry cleaning over laundering is that it is easier, and less time-consuming. The decision rests with the consumer if the manufacturer’s care label offers the choice of laundering or dry cleaning.