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Living with 100% Linen

100% Linen Caring for Linen Linen Ideas The Family Table

Do you wonder what using pure linen napkins on a daily basis would be like? Our family has been test-driving linen 3x per day for many years, and as you might imagine, we have some insights! Read on and add your questions in the comments.

How should I wash my linen collection?

The first time you wash your new linens, you’ll witness a remarkable transformation. The fibers will open up and the napkin or tea towel will become very absorbent, perfect for drying glasses in the kitchen. Your pure linen item will further soften with every wash, adding to its beauty and character.

We recommend a cold wash with gentle detergent, followed by either air dry or a gentle tumble dry. If you plan on ironing, it works great to pull the linens out while barely damp and give them a pass with a hot iron on the unprinted side.

Do I have to iron everything, all the time?

The thing everyone wants to know! Here’s the great news—no, ironing is totally up to you and we consider it very optional. And, if you practice the warm smoothing method (read on), you can avoid ironing almost completely. Of course, if you love ironing (we see you!), you do you.

So, the warm smoothing method? Here’s what we do in our house, 95% of the time. We wash as noted above, and pop the linen load in the dryer. It’s best to run full loads in the washer and dryer—so as to use less resources, and because full loads tend to create fewer creases and deep wrinkles.

When the dryer cycle is over and the linens are still warm, pull them out and smooth them flat with your hands on a table or in a stack. This prevents wrinkles and creases from setting. Once your linens are cool, fold and store for use. We like to keep a big basket of napkins and placemats on a sideboard in the dining room.

What are the benefits of using linen?

Linen has a reputation for wrinkles—which we feel are totally manageable, see above—and also a reputation for beauty and usefulness! The flax fibers from which linen is made are incredibly strong and durable. In our family’s napkin basket, there are cotton napkins mixed in with our own linens, and we certainly put both through the paces (yes, our kids absolutely use cloth napkins every day!). In our experience, the cotton napkins develop holes and rips after a few years of use, while all the linen napkins remain very soft and lived-in, and totally intact.

Unlike cotton, linen won’t yellow and discolor with age. Linen stays true to color, softens and becomes more beautiful with every appearance at your table. We hope you enjoy—and how do you incorporate linen into your daily life?


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