Storing Linens Flat
Always launder or dry clean linens before storing. Some stains may not be visible but can provide food for mildew or insects. Take care to rinse thoroughly to remove all detergent which can cause discoloration. Be sure that your linens are completely dry - especially after ironing - before you store them. Moisture means mildew.
Store linens in a cool, dry, well-ventilated area. Wrap them in acid-free tissue paper, not regular tissue paper. The acids in regular tissue paper can yellow white linens. Never store linens in plastic bags, cardboard boxes or in direct contact with cedar chests or any wood drawer. Fumes from petroleum-based polyurethane plastic boxes and wood acids can yellow or weaken the fabrics.
Place heavier pieces like place mats on the bottom, then solid tablecloths and napkins and place lace pieces on top of the stack. It is better to store linens unironed because starch can attract insects and any crisp creases can weaken fibers.
At least twice per year, refold the linen to prevent continued stress on one area.
Storing Linens by Hanging
The best way to prevent wrinkles for permanent press or freshly ironed linens is to hang them on padded hangers in a closet. Hang only one cloth per padded hanger and leave plenty of room between hangers so air can circulate. You can also use an over the door hanger and pad the rods for long term storage.
With proper care, linens can last for many generations to come.
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