A simple linen tablecloth can make an ordinary table extraordinary, effortless and chic. Take that evening meal with the family up a notch or make that dinner party with friends all the more impressive and inviting with the lovely look of linen. Plus, it's easy to care for! The same is true for linen napkins which pair perfectly and are excellent for cleaning up all the little messes a delicious meal can bring.
Below is advice from the Old Farmer’s Almanac on how to care for your linens:
- Linens needn’t be ironed immediately after use. Do wash them, but to preserve the fiber and color, put them away until you plan to use them again. Never tumble-dry linen as this can over-dry the fibers and makes ironing more difficult. Linen naturally dries quickly. Just spin and line dry.
- When you wash linen, just avoid using any whitening detergents or bleach. This will change the subtle natural white linen damask. If you use professional launders, check that they will not use whiteners; there is nothing worse for natural fiber.
- Whenever possible, store linen articles without folding. Linen tablecloths store best rolled.
- When you iron before use, there’s usually no need to use starch except perhaps for the finest linens, for linen has built-in crispness. If the linen has already dried out before ironing, use a water spray to re-dampen it. A good steam iron will work best on linen. Iron first on the underside of the tablecloth to eliminate creases, then on the right side to enhance the fabric’s natural sheen.
- Or, follow the advice of one veteran table-linen lover: Secure a long, wooden dowel to the basement ceiling and drape freshly ironed tablecloths over it; cover these with plastic bags, and when you need one, simply take it down and spread it out on the table.