Linen is the kind of fabric that fulfils the modern yearning for a more natural type of luxury. There are also many practical reasons why the fabric is back in favour.
It is made from flax which is grown without pesticides or fertilisers, so is far more ecological. It is sturdy but breathable, making it ideal bedding all year round, and the tactile weave feels wonderful next to skin. Stain resistant and easy to take care of, linen can be ironed for crisp lines or admired for its distinct soft crumpled texture. The fabric naturally inhibits bacteria, fungi, and microflora. Linen grows finer and softer, maintaining its unique properties after multiple times of washing.
Despite all the positive qualities of linen, choosing linen bed linen can be a tough job. This is why we decided to ease the job for you and prepared a guide to choosing linen and taking care of it.
One of the first things to remember when choosing linen bedding or other products is thread count. The thread count refers to the number of fibres woven into square inch of material. Thread counts vary from 80 to around 1000, with most shops selling bed linen with a thread count between 150 and 400. It’s a common mistake to assume that a higher thread count means a better quality fabric. In fact, the fineness of yarn is more important. A 200-thread-count sheet made of very fine yarns will feel softer than a 400-thread-count sheet made from poorer quality fabric of thicker yarns. Linen will always have a lower thread count than cotton, yet it’s regarded as one of the most luxurious fabrics to sleep in.
While speaking of linen care, probably the most important thing is not to use bleach and detergents with optical brightening agents. Machine-wash bed linen following the manufacturer’s guidelines, usually at 40 or 60 degrees, but no higher as this can damage the fibres. If you do tumble dry your bed linen, take it out of the machine while still damp and line dry outside. Remember, that it is much easier to iron your linen products while they are still damp. On the other hand, stonewashed linen that is getting more and more popular these days does not require any ironing at all.