A Guide for Linen Care
This weekend we were spending some quality time with our friends Paul and Linda at the Shore when Linda came up with an often asked question, “Hank, what is the best way to care for my Deck Towel?” We do address this in the FAQ portion of our website, but I thought I would take the opportunity to post it for all to see. The question is a bit like “Who serves the best cheesesteak in Philadelphia”, since there are various opinions, but here are some guidelines.
First of all, many people think a deck towel needs to be dry cleaned. Not so! The fabric has been in existence for thousands of years. The Egyptians were using linen long before dry cleaning was ever imagined! Here are a few basic rules for washing a Deck Towel.
Today’s detergents run the gamut from harsh to gentle so it is always best to test a small portion of the fabric first. If you think you are using a particularly strong detergent, it could damage the natural fibers. Note that some of the “bleach” type stain removers can be pretty strong.
Either machine washing on the gentle cycle, or hand washing is preferred. Use a mild detergent in either cold or warm water (not HOT). If you water is hard, a water softener is recommended. Be sure that the fabric is rinsed thoroughly to remove all soap residue. Fabric softeners are not recommended as they bond themselves to the fabric fibers making the towel feel a little “waxy”. Part of the appeal of linen is its natural exfoliating properties - let the fiber do its job! You will find that the more you wash linen, the softer it becomes. Wash ASAP if your deck towel becomes stained but again, avoid bleach.
Drying Linen in a machine on a cooler setting is fine, but who does not like the smell of clothes dried on the line. A natural side benefit of sunlight is that it is Mother Nature’s way of killing bacteria. We like that! Try to avoid over drying as it can make the fabric stiff.
Ironing is not really necessary, unless you let the fabric dry while rolled up in a ball. If you did, and there are wrinkles, moisten the fabric lightly and iron with the steam setting on low. White linen can be pressed on both sides but all others should be ironed from the lighter side of the fabric only.
When storing your fabric make sure it is cleaned first. If dirty, it may attract mildew. If mildew forms, soak your deck towel in a mild solution of hydrogen peroxide and water and then wash again. Avoid storing your linen in cardboard boxes or bags. They attract bugs! Avoid plastic bags as they foster and retain moisture. A fabric bag is best for storing your linen, or even wrap your deck towel in an old sheet or t-shirt!
Hope this guide helps!
Gail and Hank
That’s Linen, That’s Life!