Whether you are a dedicated linen aficionado or have just started switching to linen instead of cotton, you are undoubtedly aware that linen is far from your average textile, both in terms of its manufacturing and its properties. And if you consider that few have the luxury of having a closet only for their linen, the question of how you should store this valuable material deserves a truly informative and helpful answer. For this reason, we have written this short guide where you can find out about the best ways to store linen long term.
Why do I need to store linen safely?
Many people are unaware of this wonderful material's characteristics and why it requires special attention, or in other words, why and how it needs to be stored properly to preserve its properties over the years.
Pure linen fabric is actually one of the oldest textiles in use. Historically, people have been using it for making anything from delicate lace to huge sails for ships. Linen has a cellular structure which renders the fabric incredibly strong and heavy. It is also extremely pleasant and cool against the skin compared to other natural materials.
The reason for this effect is that linen fibers are thicker than, for example, cotton fibers, which makes it more durable and more breathable. Namely, moisture passes through linen much more easily since the fibers are not so tightly woven, contributing to its excellent absorbency and shorter drying periods than cotton fabrics. These properties are why it is better to invest in linen towels over cotton towels, sheets, and other household fabrics.
Linen has many benefits compared to cotton.
How should I store linen long term?
Hence, the versatility and endurance associated with this fabric is one reason why it is best if you do your best to store linen properly. If treated right, linen sheets, towels, and pillowcases can be passed on from generation to generation without ever becoming moldy or fragile. Now that you know what makes linen so unique, let's take a look at how you should store linen to preserve its beneficial characteristics.
Fold linen fabrics so that the edges face the back
When it comes to linen, its storage depends not only on where you store it but also on how you store it. As we said, having a separate linen closet would be ideal but not absolutely necessary. You can also store linen in a regular closet, casket, or any other dry and preferably aerated spot in your home.
The way you fold your linen fabrics also makes a difference. Be sure to fold it neatly, with the fabric's edges facing the back. Properly folded linen should then be stacked onto shelves in an orderly manner. Proper folding and placement prevent the material from becoming frayed and moldy, which can happen if it is placed in the closet crumpled or semi-dry.
You can roll your linen if you do not have enough room
However, if you do not have enough room for all of your linen, there is another great way you can store it. You can make room for all of your linen by rolling up your towels and other linen you own and then stack them onto shelves. This is particularly convenient if you have shallow shelves.
Rolling your linen is a good way to make use of the space at your disposal, especially when it comes to storing towels on a boat.
Be sure to store your linen in a safe and dry place
You mustn't underestimate the importance of good linen organization, especially if you plan to store it in a particular place for a more extended period. So, if you have linen towels in your summer house, make sure you do not leave this unresolved since you might not be coming back there for a while. Also, be sure to wash your linens before you stack them because stains can oxidize over longer periods.
If you cannot store linen in your home properly at the moment, you might want to consider renting a safe and dry storage space. Renting a secure storage unit on a long-term basis can help you keep your linen mold-free, and such services are extremely useful until you can find a spot for it in your home.
Note that you should not pack or wrap your linen with tissue paper, newspapers, or cardboard since they can bleed onto your linen. If you opt for plastic boxes, make sure that they are acid-free and made from polyethylene. Other kinds of plastic tend to release gasses over time, making them unfit for long-term storage of linen. Dry cleaning bags are also not a good choice for storing linen because they can get sticky over time.
Ventilated shelves preserve linen best
Linen can get moldy if it is not aerated, so make sure you do not leave linen wet for long. The best way to preserve linen for the long term is to have proper air circulation in the spot where you choose to store your linen. Since humidity and stagnation are linen's worst enemy, having good airflow thanks to slatted shelves in your storage space is the best way to keep it in good shape.
If you do not have the time or the means to invest in a closet with slatted shelves, there are other ways you can pack and stack your linen. You can use reed baskets, hooks, toiletry bins, or anything else that is breathable enough to keep your linen dry and ventilated.
Wooden or reed boxes are a good alternative for keeping your linen ventilated.
Keep your linen closet insect free
While it is paramount that linen cloths stay dry, you also need to think about protecting your linen from insects. Unfortunately, linen-eating moths could potentially ruin your collection if you leave it unattended. Washing everything in your closet at high temperatures should eliminate any moth larvae that feast on keratin, which is a protein that is one of the building blocks of our hair, nails, and skin molecules.
Apart from proper washing and other ways to store linen long term, you can also protect your linen from moths by placing cedar blocks or lavender sachets onto the shelves. The smell that is released is not only useful for repelling moths - your linens will also absorb the pleasant natural scents.