Linen is one of the oldest fabrics in the world. For hundreds of years, it has been loved and associated with those in power, thanks to its luxurious nature. It has always had a link to those who were wealthy, and to this day you will find pure linen bedding at a five-star hotel, or linen tablecloths at a Michelin star restaurant.
Linen is an extremely breathable fabric, and also heat conductive. This means that this wonderful fabric will keep you cool in the hot summer months, yet also warm under a linen duvet cover as linen retains heat from your body. Linen is a material that is notorious for creasing easily, and the complex fibres mean you have to take very special care of all linen pieces. Wouldn’t it be great to know how to iron linen clothes properly?
It helps to have the correct tools before you start to embark on ironing your linen clothes. The most important is an easy-to-use water spray bottle. Linen cannot be easily ironed unless it is damp, so make sure you fill the bottle with clean water before you start.
Yes – the iron you choose makes a difference. A high quality steam iron with top heat and plenty of steam are imperative for pressing linen. A spray feature on your iron is a real bonus, as you will need water spray a lot!
It helps to invest in a really solid and sturdy ironing board. Ironing linen requires quite steady, repetitive strokes and a lot of pressing – not great if your ironing board is wobbly! Also get yourself a pressing cloth (the iron should never directly touch the linen). This should be a small piece of flat cotton – like an old pillowcase.
Before you begin, spray the item with some cool water and leave for five to ten minutes. Pay particular attention to areas that are thicker and folded – shirt collars, pocket flaps and cuffs and let the water sink in.
All irons should have a cotton or linen setting – this is the highest heat setting on the iron. Make sure that the water section of the iron is full, and the metal plate is clean and free from dirt. If your ironing board is dirty or stained, protect the linen with a cloth or towel between the two. A way to avoid ironing is to stop the wrinkles in the first place! To achieve this, when ironing, ensure that the section is laid flat, and stays taut so that you don’t create new wrinkles. If you take the garment off the ironing board before the material is completely cool, this can also create wrinkles. Your silk pyjamas will then remain smooth and wrinkle-free!
If there is any embroidery on your linen clothes, turn the piece inside out and iron on the reverse (even better with a thicker pressing cloth in between the iron and the clothing). Start with the detailed sections of the garment – collars, cuffs and waistbands.
It’s important to keep the iron moving across the linen at all times to avoid burning or scorching the fabric. As you iron carefully through the press cloth, gently stretch out the corners of the garment to make them square. While the linen is warm and damp, it is easy to reshape crumpled sections.
When you have finished ironing, hang the garment in a very flat space and allow to dry completely before wearing. This is to allow the delicate fibres in the fabric to cool and relax, and this won’t happen if the cloth is warm. Wearing the linen clothing while damp or warm will cause it to crease – so make sure that you iron properly first!