Over the years, experts have come up with numerous care practices for various fabrics, including linen.
Indisputably, linen offers a stylish look and a comfortable feel. Subsequently, almost every one of us owns a linen cloth or bed sheet in their closet.
But linen often needs high maintenance to deliver excellent functionality and longevity. One way to take care of linen is by using the right detergents during washing procedures.
Thus, always take time to read and understand all washing instructions indicated on the fabric label.
Fabric softeners on linen; is it okay to use them?
Generally, linen is a delicate material. Using harsh detergents and chemicals when washing would only destroy the fabric.
Linen works best with eco-friendly and mild detergents that contain little to no chemicals. Abrasive detergents lead to the weakening of the fabric.
So, does this mean that you should not use fabric softeners on linen?
Well, yes. Based on previous studies, nearly all fabric softeners contain toxic chemicals that are harsh to both fabric and human health.
When you use a fabric softener on linen, you weaken the fibers and shorten their durability. If you wish to soften a linen fabric, all you have to do is be patient. What does this mean?
Typically, if you take good care of linen, it tends to soften naturally over time. All in all, softening a linen fabric should not be a cause of worry. Just maintain the fabric well, and it will become soft with time.
So, how should I take care of linen?
Here are ways to do it correctly;
Avoid dry cleaning your linen fabric
Never dry clean or use a dryer on linen. Generally, linen does not function well under high temperatures.
Thus, the fabric would become very weak when exposed to too much heat. After washing linen, hang it outside to dry.
Alternatively, you can hang the fabric in the laundry room. Also, do not leave linen out in the sun for a long time. Besides fading, it would become weaker and more prone to wear and tear.
Use appropriate laundry detergents
Another way to make linen soft over time is to incorporate the right laundry detergents. As mentioned earlier, abrasive detergents damage the linen. Therefore, it would be best to go for mild detergents with a larger percentage of natural ingredients.
Similarly, do not use fabric softeners to soften the fabric. Fortunately, there is a wide variety of reliable mild detergents available online and in most local stores.
Wash using cold water
If you want linen to soften after some time, avoid using hot water for washing. Remember, linen fibers do not react well with high temperatures. Thus, always use cold water to wash linen.
The main advantage of using cold water when washing linen is that you end up saving on energy.
Since you will use cold water to wash linen, ensure that the detergent you use can work in cold water.
Use a gentle washing machine setting mode
Softening your linen also entails washing it on a gentle setting. Linen is delicate. Therefore, washing it in a harsh setting would weaken and damage the fibers.
In turn, the linen won’t provide maximum longevity. Before you proceed to wash linen, place it on gentle setting mode.
Adhere to all washing instructions
Although there seems to be a universal procedure for handling linen, always read and understand the instruction manual.
Each piece of fabric is different. So, you may have to alter some maintenance practices occasionally.
Iron your linen garments correctly
In most instances, you don’t need to iron linen. Linen rarely develops creases, especially when you store it correctly. Therefore, avoid ironing linen as much as possible.
Failure to do so would expose the fabric to high temperatures and, in turn, damage the linen.
Nevertheless, if you have to iron your linen, ensure that you set the iron on the lowest temperature heat setting.
Also, only iron when the linen is damp. Doing this eases not only the process but also retains very ironing temperatures.
Wash linen garments when needed
Typically, the more you wash the fabric, the more you lessen its lifespan. Therefore, only wash linen when necessary. The frequency of washing the linen depends on how you use it.
Since you are not supposed to frequently wash the linen, it would help if you bought sets of linen sheet and cloths.
This way, you won’t have to wash them often. And anytime you decide to wash linen, ensure you follow the correct procedure.
Process of washing linen fabric
- The first step would be to separate your linen sheets or clothes from other colored clothes. Doing this helps you prevent any transfer of colors.
- The next step would be to set your washing machine to a mild setting. Linen is delicate. Thus, washing it under a harsh setting would wear out the fabric.
- Take the right detergent and pour in the correct amount in the washing machine. Always mix the detergent before placing the linen garment inside the washing machine. Direct contact with detergent can damage the fibers of the linen. Remember, your detergent should contain fewer toxic ingredients that won’t be harmful to linen.
- After washing the linen under a gentle mode setting, repeatedly rinse until all the detergent gets removed. At this point, avoid pouring a fabric softener.
- Then, take the linen out to dry after rinsing. Use your outdoor hanging lines to dry the linen garments. Please do not leave them in the sun for too long. But ensure that the linen is completely dry before taking it inside for storage.
Laundry experts highly discourage using fabric softeners on linen. Fabric softeners contain toxic chemicals that impose abrasive effects on various fabrics. Besides, linen does not require artificial softening.
This fabric tends to soften naturally after some time when well taken care of. So, if you wish to soften your linen garments, give them some time.
Even so, you have to incorporate all the right maintenance procedures to make linen soft over time.
Some of these techniques include using appropriate washing detergents and following all instructions indicated in the manual. Ultimately, avoid using fabric softeners on linen.