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Caring For Linens

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Caring for Linens

Follow these simple suggestions for proper care of your bed, bath, and table linens, and you will prolong their life and preserve their beautiful appearance. While Sferra linens are made from natural fibers that generally can be machine washed at home, please be sure to read the care label on each item for best results.

Candle Wax – Using the dull side of a knife, scrape off as much of the wax as possible. Then cover the wax with absorbent paper and iron it on a medium setting, changing out the paper until the wax is gone.

Coffee, Tea, Soda – Soak in hot water. Pre-wash with stain remover.

White Wine – Rinse with club soda.

Red Wine – Cover with salt, and rinse with cool water.

Oils – Pre-treat with stain remover or liquid laundry detergent.

Meat Juice or Tomato Juice – Rinse with cool water only.

Ink – Lay the fabric against a towel, stain side down, then spray the fabric closely from behind with aerosol hair spray. The ink should transfer to the towel.

Chemicals – Some hair and skin products, such as acne lotions or toothpastes that contain oxidizing agents, may discolor colored sheets and towels. When using such products, it's safest to sleep on white linens.
Machine washing bedding
  • Pre-wash your linens before first use.
  • Separate your fine linens from other items in the wash, especially those containing polyester, which tend to create pilling.
  • Separate items with heavy zippers, which can abrade and damage the fabric. Separate light and dark colors.
  • Avoid overloading the washing machine, which can cause fibers to break down from excessive abrasion and agitation.
  • Wash most linens in warm water on a gentle cycle with a cold-water rinse.
  • Be careful to pre-treat any stains prior to washing.
Machine washing towels
  • Always separate light and dark colors, and wash towels only with other towels to prevent pilling.
  • Machine wash in cold water.
  • Use a non-chlorine bleach detergent. Chlorine bleach will weaken the fabric and cause yellowing.
  • Never use fabric softener when washing towels; this can make them less absorbent.
  • Remember not to overstuff the washer.
Machine washing table linens
  • Machine wash in hot water for whites, cold for colors.
  • Use pure soap for soft water or a gentle detergent in hard water.
  • Use oxygenated bleach for whites only — chlorine bleach can weaken the fabrics and cause yellowing.
  • Remember to use the rinse cycle to remove all detergent. This will help avoid "age spots," which are caused by oxidation of the fibers.
  • If possible, treat stains when they are fresh. If stains are allowed to set, they may be impossible to remove at a later date.
  • Place delicate lace and embellished linens in a pillowcase or a mesh laundry bag before putting them in the washing machine.
Detergent
  • Use a mild detergent without added bleach or whiteners.
  • Do not pour detergent directly on textiles. Rather, add it to the water as the wash tub fills, or dilute detergent with water, then add linens.
  • Unless linens are very soiled, you only need to use half the recommended amount of detergent.
  • For more information, please visit www.thelaundress.com (212-209-0074) or www.linenwash.com (800-814-9274).
Hand washing

If the label says "hand launder," never machine wash. Hand wash in gentle soap; rinse thoroughly in clean water to eliminate all soap residue; then line dry, lay flat or hang to dry. Avoid wringing linens.

Professional cleaning

Professional hand washing is recommended for the most delicate linens — those that are heirlooms, are worn, or have heavy embellishments or embroideries. Be sure to use a reputable launderer who knows how to launder delicate linens. For more information, please visit www.linenlaundry.com (800-637-6334).

Dry cleaning

Dry cleaning is recommended for luxury fibers such as cashmere, merino wool and alpaca, and also to avoid excessive shrinkage on our formal top-of-bed items such as our Italian matelassé blanket cover. Be sure to use a professional dry cleaner with experience in natural fibers and luxury linens.

Drying bedding
  • Line drying outdoors is gentle and safe. It also gives linens the fresh scent of the outdoors and the natural bleaching of the sun. However, it is not always practical.
  • You can machine dry most linens on low heat, but be sure to check the care label. Shake out damp linens before placing them in the dryer.
  • Never use a high heat setting, which is the surest way to weaken the fibers, cause shrinkage and shorten the life of your linens.
  • Remove bedding from the dryer promptly while still damp to minimize wrinkles.
  • Smooth and fold, or press with an iron if desired.
Drying towels

Tumble dry on low heat.

Drying table linens

Avoid twisting or wringing out linens before drying. Tumble dry on low heat and remove when slightly damp. If possible, line dry in the sun to keep linens at their whitest.

Shrinkage

All natural fibers will shrink to some extent, but in most instances we generously overcut our items to allow for shrinkage. Do not wash or (especially) dry linens on a hot setting, which is most likely to cause shrinkage. Follow the instructions on care label.

Iron linens while still slightly damp on the reverse side of the fabric.

Use a steam iron on a warm or hot setting for cotton.

Use a hot setting for linen and a water spritzer if needed.

Iron damask table linens on the reverse side first, then on the front side to bring out the sheen.

To iron embroidered linens, iron them on the reverse side atop a towel to preserve the three-dimensional effect of the embroidery.

Use a press cloth to protect delicate lace and cutwork.

To restore the lustrous face of sateen fabrics, iron on the reverse side.
Store bed linens in a cool, dry, well-ventilated area.

Linens stored long-term should be wrapped in white cotton, muslin (old pillowcases work well), or acid-free paper.

Avoid storing linens in plastic bags or boxes, which can cause permanent yellowing; natural fibers need to breathe. Cedar chests can also cause yellowing or streaking on fabrics.

Store linen tablecloths rolled on cardboard tubes or hung on hangers (without plastic) to prevent crease marks from setting, which can weaken fibers.