Always wash linen, separate from other fabrics, before using. Linen may shed fibres until it has been washed a few times. This is normal and part of the life cycle of linen fibre as it becomes softer and softer over time. Shedding may be especially noticeable in darker coloured linens; the darker dyes can lead to a greater build up of fibres in the linen. Try pre-soaking for 20-30 minutes in lukewarm water, then add to machine for a short wash with an extra rinse.
Use mild detergent (ie. not Tide). Try Seventh Generation, Nature Clean, TruEarth, Nellie’s, or Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day.
Never pour detergent directly on dry linen fabric - always dilute first.
Never use bleach - even on white linen.
Never use fabric softener.
For spot removal try hot or boiling water poured through the stain. Shout, OxyClean or a gentle laundry stain bar applied to wet fabric may also be used.
Mild dish soap or bar soap may be effective for spot cleaning, especially for oil or grease. Washing detergent should not be applied to dry fabric as it can result in blotches and colour loss.
Cold water (for energy efficiency) wash with minimal detergent. It is safe to wash in hot water. Wash with like colours.
Hang to dry. If you wish, a short tumble in the dryer will soften the texture. Too much time in the dryer will shorten the life span of your linen.
If you are inclined, linen may be ironed on high temperature. Be sure to dampen first. Fresh air, wind and sunshine do the best work!
To brighten faded linens, try these tips:
Add 1/2 cup of white vinegar to washer and wash as usual
Soak at least 30 minutes before washing
Add 1/4 to 1/2 cup of salt to washer, fill with cold water and soak overnight. Add gentle detergent and wash as usual.