A first wash is important for your new linens and prepares them for a long and beautiful life. Unfold your linens before loading them into the washing machine, and begin the first wash with a pre‐soak in cold water and a small amount of liquid detergent. After this soak cycle, run a wash cycle at low temperature, again using very little liquid detergent, followed by a cold water rinse. If your washer does not have a pre‐wash/soak cycle, we suggest a hand‐soaking for your first wash.
On succeeding washes, machine wash your linens in warm (not hot) water* and follow with a full, cool rinse. Always select a gentle wash and spin cycle. Separate bright colors from whites, and remember to include only natural sheeting fabrics in your wash. (Synthetics, if co‐mingled, can cause pilling in your natural linens.)
As with the first wash, unfold or loosely shake open your linens before loading, and never fully pack the washer tub.
We recommend that you always use a biodegradable liquid detergent, avoiding those containing whiteners, bleach, optical brighteners or alkalis, all of which can alter color and weaken your fabric over time.
We also suggest that you use half of the recommended detergent, and that you dilute it in the washer tub before adding your linens. Specific stains can be pre‐treated (see stain removal tips below) before your general wash.
We do not recommend fabric softeners, which tend to artificially coat your textiles. Similar to pores in your skin, the natural fibers of your linens need to breathe, and by frequent use you will achieve a lushness never imagined by a synthetic softener.
By not overloading the tub, by avoiding excess heat, detergent and any additives, and by choosing gentle cycles and thorough, cool rinses, you will protect your linens from stress and damaging surface residue.
The washing temperature for particularly delicate fabrics should be 30 C / 85 F, with a cold final rinse.
Dry cleaning is not recommended for your natural cotton and linen tablecloths.
Caring for your linens
Table Manners linens will last for years with gentle care. Proper cleaning and storage will prolong their life and ensure they retain their heirloom quality. Your linens exist to be enjoyed, and you should always feel comfortable using and caring for them. Like fine silver or pearls, the more you use your linens the more luminous and precious they will become.
The ideal way to dry your fine linens is by air, using a line or draping them over a clotheshorse, railing or rod. If drying outside, take care not to place your linens in intense, direct sunlight: this will cause colored articles to fade and, although at first appearing to make your whites shinier, direct sunlight will eventually turn your whites yellow. If shade is not an option, the best and softest light is in the early morning.
If air drying outside or inside is not practical, shake out your damp linens after they are washed and place them loosely in the dryer. Always avoid twisting or wringing your linens. As in the washing process, do not overload the dryer, as your linens need room to dance.
Use a gentle tumble setting at the lowest temperature. We recommend that you never completely dry your linens or leave them untended in the dryer after their cycle is complete. Because your linens are all natural, extreme or prolonged heat will dry out the fibers and make them brittle and lifeless over time.
The best time to press your linens, whether air or tumble dried, is when they are still damp. If this is not possible, you can temporarily store laundered linens in a plastic bag in the refrigerator or freezer until you are ready.
Press your linens on the under side when possible, using a well‐padded ironing board and a clean iron.* If additional moisture is needed, we recommend a water spritzer rather than a steam iron which might emit rusty droplets during steaming.
When pressing damasks, monograms or other embroidery, place face down on a terry towel so that the decoration will "pop" out within the terry loops. However, be sure that the towel you use is white so that no color from the terry bleeds onto your damp linens.
To protect delicate lace and cutwork, place a soft white pressing cloth – on which you can sprinkle water – over your linens, and iron on the reverse side when feasible.
*The iron setting should be warm/hot for cottons, and hot for linen.
Storing Fine Linens
One of the most wonderful aspects of home linens is the beauty of their storage. The feel and look of gently folded fabrics, and the clean, crisp fragrance of laundered linens is intoxicating. The important thing to remember is that these natural fibers need to breathe. We recommend that you store your linens in a cool, dry and well‐ventilated space, and that they be shielded from long exposure to direct light. If possible, your linens should be folded flat on wooden shelves covered with paper. And, following our French tradition, it is pleasing to tuck lavender sachets within your wardrobe linens.
For linens that are used infrequently, we suggest wrapping them gently in white cotton, muslin or acid‐free paper. Please avoid plastic bag or bin storage, or cedar chests, all of which can cause permanent yellowing or streaking.
Store linen tablecloths (without plastic covering) rolled on cardboard tubes or hung on cloth or paper‐wrapped hangers. This will prevent crease marks from setting, which can weaken fibers.
All Table Manners fine linens come with a linen bag, and we recommend using the bag to store your linen tablecloths.
Tips for Stain Removal
We recommend cleaning stains as quickly as possible after they appear, although we understand etiquette might sometimes prevent this. Try never to strenuously scrub the stain away, but rather to gently soak, wash, or blot it out – a process that can be repeated until results are obtained. It is easier to remove stains from natural as opposed to synthetic fabrics because the natural fibers are living and more accepting of attention. Unfortunately however, once a stain is truly set, it is often difficult to remove.
For coffee, tea or soda stains: soak in HOT water and pre‐wash with a stain remover. The soaking process can be repeated, using fresh hot water so that a partially diluted stain is not then reapplied.
For red wine: cover with SALT and then rinse in COOL water. Again, the process can be repeated through several rinses of fresh cool water.
For white wine: rinse with CLUB SODA and follow by patting the stain between a clean white terry towel. Repeat the process as needed.
For ink: hold the stain against a white towel, spray closely from behind with an aerosol hair spray. Ink should transfer to the towel. Repeat the process with a clean towel.
For candle wax: chill with ice, then scrape off as much of the wax as possible with the dull side of a knife. Iron between absorbent paper, changing the paper until the wax is absorbed.
For grease: do not allow to set. Sprinkle fresh grease stains with baking soda or cornstarch and leave for a few hours until the powder becomes thick. Scrape away and repeat the process, finally brushing off the powder and washing as usual.
Meat juice or tomato juice: rinse with COOL water. Blot the stain with a clean white terry towel. Repeat the process as needed.
Oils: pre‐treat with stain remover or liquid laundry detergent.