Caring for Antique Linens

Advice Caring for Vintage and Antique Linens

How to Care for Vintage and Antique Linens

Toma Clark Haines Brand Ambassador Pandora de BalthazarAs we began 2017, I mentioned that one of my New Years resolutions was to get better quality sleep – and more of it! I’ve always been a Princess and the Pea kind of girl – meaning that a variety of things could interrupt my nights zzzz’s however until I became Brand Ambassador for Pandora de Balthazár I didn’t understand how much the quality of linens can enhance – or detract from – one’s sleep. Pandora has one of the largest and most respected collections of antique linens on the market, many of which are museum-quality textiles. That’s what makes this partnership between Pandora de Balthazár and The Antiques Diva so perfect – we’re both big believers in using beautiful antiques that are also functional for everyday life.  

As with any antique, maintenance is an important part of keeping antique linens in top condition. I’ve picked up some fantastic tips from Pandora on how to care for vintage and antique linens. By following the expert advice of Pandora, you can extend the life of your pillows, duvets, sheets, and shams, allowing you to enjoy them for many years to come. 

Caring for Antique Linens: Antique Sheet from Pandora de BalthazarGoose Down Pillows
Everyone cleans their sheets and mattress pads, but did you know that pillows need maintenance too? Each morning it’s important to fluff goose down pillows to allow air to circulate between the feathers, helping the pillows keep their shape. It’s also necessary to take pillows outdoors on a sunny day at least once every two-to-three months to let the sun’s ultraviolet rays kill dust mites and keep pillows fresh between laundering. Making sure down pillows are fluffed and exposed to sunlight ensures that feathers in the pillows are freed from moisture that penetrates them while you sleep. 

Add another layer of protection by using pillow protectors under your pillow cases. Pillow protectors from Pandora de Balthazár are hypoallergenic and keep dust mites and allergens from building up as quickly. 

When it comes to killing allergens, down pillows need to be washed. Some people perspire more than others, but it’s recommended to wash pillows at least once or twice a year! Do you wash your pillows! As I’ve begun discussing this with friends, clients and colleagues I was shocked by how many people didn’t know to do this!!! If your pillows aren’t fluffing as fully as they used to, that’s probably due to dust mites and allergens which add weight to the feathers, making them less fleecy. That means it’s time to wash them! Splish splash give them a bath!

Goose Down Duvets
As with down pillows, duvets and blankets filled with down benefit from daily fluffing and frequent exposure to sunlight. It’s also important to change linens often – about every three days or so, especially if you use body lotion, perfume, and hair products. All of these products transfer from your body to your linens (which can lead to discoloration) and finally into the down itself. Frequent fluffing and washing can increase the longevity of your bedding. The more you wash the better they will be!

Steps for Laundering Down BeddingLinen Closet with Antique Linens

To Wash:

• Use a large washing machine, front loader or top loader without center agitator

• Use warm water, set to delicate cycle and soak thoroughly, rinsing at least twice

• Use mild detergent and be sure it is properly diluted

To Dry:

• Air dry outside if possible or use low to medium heat in a large dryer

• Use dryer ball or clean tennis ball to help fluff the down, or it is ideal to remove and shake every 60 minutes

• Be sure it is completely dry inside and out—especially important for pillows

• Be prepared for an estimated drying time of 2 to 6 hours, depending upon the capacity of the dryer 

Sheet Sets
Most sheet sets and shams are easy to care for. Simply machine wash them on a delicate cycle in warm water. If you dry them in the dryer, be sure to use low heat, but the best option is to line-dry them. Diva Confession? I have my housekeeper iron ALL my linens!!! I thought this was normal… but am learning that not everyone irons their sheets!! For extra luxury, you want to smooth them out and iron them for a crisp hotel-like feeling!

In Bed with Pandora de Balthazar Brand Ambassador, Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques DivaAnd here’s a hint? In the morning when you wake and the sheets look a little wrinkled, spritz them with linen spray so they are slightly damp and smooth them with your hands… et voila, linens will pop back like they are freshly ironed. And smell fabulous too! 

Antique Linens and Lace
As with most antiques, linens and lace are meant to be used. Simply storing them away is not good for them, as dry rot could set in. Linens like to be handled regularly, as natural oils from your hands keep them flexible. It’s the same with silver – the more you use your silver the less you have to polish them! Window treatments, antique shams, tablecloths with lace, and other delicate pieces should be washed at least once a year – even if they’ve only been in storage. This keeps them pliable! 

If you notice any damage on your linens, repair them immediately to avoid the damage becoming worse. If you’re not sure how to repair your linens, Pandora de Balthazár offers hand-wash laundering services and repair/restoration services for all linens purchased through them. They can also examine linens that were not purchased through them, in order to advise you as to whether they can be repaired, or how they should be laundered. 

maintenance is an important part of keeping antique linens in top conditionStorage
If you are planning to store your antique linens, do not iron them beforehand. Simply be sure they are thoroughly dry. never store linens in plastic bags or on wooden shelves. Store linens on hangers or roll them in old linen if storing in a chest or cedar cabinet to keep oil from penetrating them. Rolling them helps prevent them from becoming brittle. To maintain a crisp white color, soak linens every couple of months in Pandora de Balthazar’s linen soak – a conditioning treatment that prevents yellowing. 

As with any investment, proper care and maintenance can help linens last for generations. The bed is a place we spend a significant amount of our lives in, so why not dress is with the best linens possible? With Pandora de Balthazár’s products, sleep is more than just a necessity, it’s luxury married with gorgeous design and the highest quality Hungarian goose down and Italian linen – the perfect ingredients for any Diva’s bed!

Stay tuned for more fun as we discuss all things bedding, decorative textiles and restorative sleep here on the blog. We will be doing a series of blog posts about antique linens, teaching you all you need to know and sharing our insider tips on restoring your inner diva.

Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva®

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Author: Toma Clark Haines

Toma Clark Haines is a Global Tastemaker, Speaker, Writer & Entrepreneur; and founder and CEO The Antiques Diva® & Co, Europe, Asia and America's largest Antiques Sourcing & Touring Company.

2 thoughts on “Caring for Antique Linens”

    1. A good washing machine set on delicate, double rinsed is perfect!

      If the item has lace – the best way to wash your linens is in net bags to protect the delicate fabric!

      And never machine dry… always line dry!

      Dryers are the worst for your antique linens! Think about it… these linens were made at a time when people only air-dried so the fabrics, even though they might be tough, are woven differently and therefore the dryers eat them up! Best case scenario – hang your linens outside in the sun to dry! (though on a rainy cold day, hanging over the shower pole will work in a pinch!)

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