Faded Bluebird

Linen Lessons

· How to take care of your linens ·

June 27, 2016 2 Comments

I have a weakness for linens, I don’t know why some things trip my trigger more than others.  Being a natural homebody, I love almost everything to do with making my home beautiful.  But linens?  They hold a special place in my heart and when junkin with friends, several of them will immediately run towards the furniture, but you’ll find me bent over the linen boxes digging for vintage gold.  I love everything about them, so my goal is to keep them as long as possible.

Linens By Any Other Name

I’m throwing open my laundry room door to let you catch a peak of my obsessive care of those linens.  I do need to explain something up front, however.  In my region of the world we refer to anything that goes on our beds as Linens, actually that label covers; towels, napkins, and tablecloths too.  Its kind of like anything that we wipe our noses with is called Kleenex. Actual Linen is made from the Flax plant and requires some special handling, but that’s for another day, today we’re going to talk about those other linens…….. the stuff that I can afford.

Tips for linens

Keep Your Cool

Washing your linens is where some of the damage can occur, so I’ve got some do’s and don’ts for you to consider.

Wash your sheet separately from the rest of your laundry.  The last thing you need is for your husband’s jean zipper to snag your vintage sheets.  They survived the WWII era only to bite the big one inside your Maytag. Also, if you have an agitator, loosely ball up your sheets and place them inside, they take less abuse this way.

Pre-treat any stains, but never use chlorine bleach.  Chlorine bleach can not only discolor your sheets but over time it greatly weakens the fibers.  You can find my homemade bleach recipe HERE.

Wash in cold.  Cold water is not only more energy efficient, it cleans just as well and is gentler and more considerate.  Use a mild detergent, less than is recommended, because again too much can weaken your fabric.  It’s important that if you make your own cleaning products that you use detergent not soap.

Turn your duvet covers and pillow cases inside out before loading them into the machine.

Don’t use fabric softeners.  They coat the fibers and over time it too will break your fibers, same goes with dryer sheets.  I use vinegar instead.  You can scent vinegar with Lavender essential oil and pour it into a Downey ball to be released in the rinse cycle.  Vinegar is a magical fabric softener and that salad smell disappears when the sheets are dry.

When you remove the linens from the washer, give them a good shaking! This will help to reduce the wrinkles and they will dry more evenly if you use your dryer.

Dry Up

I personally line dry my linens.  It is the best way to extend their lifespan and I absolutely love the smell of air-dried sheets.  But I get that not everyone has the time or inclination to line dry but there’s still some things you can do to help your sheets live on.

Take care of your linens

Yeah, I’m gonna nag ya. I highly recommend that you line dry your sheets!  There!

High heat damages your linens. If using a dryer, take them out before they are completely dry and drape them over a rack to finish drying.

To help dry your linens a little faster and to help defeat wrinkles, place a couple of tennis balls with your linens.  Insert each tennis ball into a white sock to prevent the color or ink from getting onto your sheets.  Even better, find a pair of white wool socks to help with static!

Again, stay away from dryer sheets!  They will coat your sheets and eventually you will notice small rips and tears appearing as if by magic.  (FYI – some tears appear due to a lack of Pedi appointments!  Sandpaper those heels Ladies!) Dryer sheets can also cause problems for your dryer and dryer vent.

 If you enjoy the smell of lavender, place a lavender flower sachet in your dryer with your sheets.  You can thank me later.

Some Other Stuff

Lavender Sachets for Linens

There’s lots of great recipes out there for making your own Linen Sprays (beware those containing alcohol) and I have a favorite as well, but to be real honest I prefer to use lavender soaps.  I cut them into thirds and insert them into white baby socks so the oils from the soaps don’t stain my linens.

I keep several sets of sheets so that I don’t have to wash them as often.  I usually keep at least 3 sets of sheets per bed, so when I wash a set, I have a set on the bed, and one in the closet.  After washing them, I add them to the bottom of the stack and they each get used evenly.

How often you change your bed linens is a personal thing.  I change mine every Saturday, just because of the EWWWWW factor.  Anyone remember that Oprah episode?  I think I slept on my sofa for a week.

Also, to protect your pillows don’t use a plastic cover.  First, can you say crunchy! Then there’s the whole continuously sliding around thing.  Double bag your pillows instead.

When you get up in the morning, throw your duvet or blanket back to allow your bedding to air while you get ready for your day.  And consider this, your sheets will keep that fresh from the line smell longer if you bathe at night prior to getting in.  Two showers a day won’t kill anyone,  no matter what your kids claim.

Check out an old post of mine, “My Home’s Spa Routine” to find tips on how to clean your mattress, pillows and down duvets!  I’m nothing if not persistent!

What Do You Think?

I do have a question for you.  Recently on one of my Facebook Group pages and interesting discussion broke out.  Someone asked if anyone in the “real” world made their beds every day.  I know that I do, cause I like the look of my bed when it’s freshly made, my room feels tidier and I look forward to climbing back in it later.  It’s just more appealing to me if it’s made.  But, what do you think?

Happy Cleaning!


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