Commercial soap powders and liquid detergents can be safely used. Fine hand-embroidered linen and organdie needs to be treated with care and preferably hand-washed or machine-washed on a gentle cycle. There is no need to use starch except perhaps for the finest linens, because it already has built-in crispness. Linen should never be tumble dried as it will naturally dry quickly. After washing, stretch to the original shape and iron while quite damp. Always check for colourfastness and for the age of the fabric before using any type of bleach. Bleaching damage is irreversible. If the stain is not removed with 15 minutes,
it cannot be removed by bleaching and further bleaching will weaken the fabric. Adding vinegar to your rinse water will keep the colour longer. As a natural fibre, linen launders beautifully. The more linen is washed, the softer and more luminous it becomes. Freshly washed linen has a naturally clean fragrance and gives one the sense of well being. Gentleness is the key for laundering linen. Use pure soap with warm, not hot, water. Wash coloured articles in cool water. Launder any stains when fresh. If allowed to set, stains may be impossible to remove at a later date. Use oxygen-type bleaches for white linen, instead of chlorine bleaches, which can cause yellowing. Whatever drying method you use, line drying, machine drying or rolling in terry cloths, remember to remove the linen while it is still damp for ironing. If linen dries thoroughly, it becomes brittle and takes several hours to recover its natural moisture and full flexibility. To keep linens white, try drying them in the sun.
Cotton can be easily laundered. Boiling and sterilizing temperatures can be used on cotton without disintegration. Any good detergent can be used to wash cotton. Chlorine bleach can be used safely on cotton whites. Use colour safe bleach on dyed cottons. Cotton can be ironed at relatively high temperatures, does not scorch easily, stands up to abrasion and wears well.
Silk, is the strongest natural fibre. Silk absorbs moisture, which makes it cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Silk is a natural protein fibre, like human hair, taken from the cocoon of the silkworm. Most silk fabrics can be hand washed. Silk dries quickly but should not be put in an automatic dryer. Silk may yellow and fade with the use of a high iron setting. Press cloths and a steam iron are recommended. Silk is also weakened by sunlight and perspiration. Chlorine bleach should never be used on silk.
Resistant to crease, “Lambskin” fleece keeps it shape. The polyester fibres of fleece are strong and wear exceptionally well. It is easily laundered with any good detergent. “Lambskin” fleece can be machine dried and does not need ironing.
Wash and dry new towels before use to remove finishes and excess dyes. Launder on a normal wash cycle. Wash separately, not with clothes, for sanitary reasons. Use cold or warm water to wash towels and do not over dry. To prevent a waxy softener build up, use liquid or softener sheets, once every three or four washings. If you hang-dry towels, shake them while wet and again when dry to fluff the terry loops. Do not iron towels; this will reduce absorbency.