Saturday, 28 September 2013

Linen laundry secrets!

I am really not a great fan of household chores, but one of the activities I do find exceptionally enjoyable and relaxing is ironing bed and table linen. I worked for a fine linens company for a few years or so, and I loved nothing better than preparing the various products for a photo shoot. Armed with a water spray and a well padded ironing board, I would happily spend hours smoothing creases from fabulous Egyptian cotton pillowcases and sheets.

OK, so really large duvet covers were a bit more challenging, but the end result of a beautifully dressed bed was more than worth it!

Then there is my ever growing collection of vintage table linens! Not always in the best of condition when I find them, I need to give them some care and attention to bring them back to life.

My best laundry tip is always to iron your linens when still damp. Particularly with pure linen, it is much easier to iron when the cloth is moist. Ironing on the reverse, the first pressing allows you to return the piece to its proper shape. Then taking a pressing cloth, you can tackle any areas of embroidery to restore them to their original raised texture, always ironing on the reverse.

If the embroidery is particularly dense, you can achieve great results by laying the cloth right side down on top of a soft towel and then pressing gently.

If you are ironing linen damask, iron on the reverse first of all, then iron on the right side to enhance the sheen of this wonderful fabric.

If you don't have the time to iron the cloth immediately I have a great way to keep the cloth at the right dampness. Fold the still damp cloth in a clean plastic bag and pop in the fridge until you are able to iron it. This is fine for a few hours, but if you need to wait for longer you can also put it in the freezer! Yes, honestly! Just allow 30 minutes or so for the material to thaw before ironing. I wouldn't recommend leaving it in the freezer for more than 48 hours.

Then you can head for the linen cupboard with a beautiful pile of freshly laundered linens – what could be more satisfying?

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