Ahhh, Linen, smooth and fluid. The term “linens” can more commonly refer to any household good, but this should not be confused with linen fabric. Linen textiles are some of the oldest in the world, dating back thousands of years. Linen is known to be the world’s strongest natural fiber. It is so durable it’s even used in paper money to increase strength! It is thicker than cotton and linen fiber has variable lengths, most of which are very long. This contributes to strength, which contributes to longevity. So, in other words, Linen lasts a very long time.
But, what about the wrinkles?! As we all know, both cotton and linen are associated with wrinkles. Linen fibers have a natural resin called lignan. At first, the fibers are stiff and crease easily. But, over time and through handling the wrinkles become smoother and softer.
Linen is thought of as nature’s wicking fiber and natural fibers love water. It can gain up to 20% moisture before it will first begin to feel damp. Cotton will absorb more than 25% of its weight in water. Additionally, linen is known to gain strength when wet. It has the natural ability to prevent bacterial growth. For towels, this is very important as hand and bath towels tend to be the perfect home for microbes. I fell in love with linen towels a few years ago after a friend gave me one as a gift. I am slowly adding more linen towels to my towel sets and love that they are certainly less cumbersome to pack for the beach as well.
Linen fibers are hollow, moving air and moisture naturally. During the colder months, you can layer linen blankets or a throw to retain heat and warmth from your body. Linen reacts to the season and the body in contact with the cloth to give the best of all situations. Linen is a natural insulator. It is valued for its ability to keep cool in the summer months and trap warmth in colder weather. This is all achieved through the natural fiber itself.
Now, linen is not just for home decor…I absolutely love to wear linen in the summer! One of my favorite “go-to” tops is a white linen button blouse. You can’t beat it and it always looks so chic dressed up or down. Add a simple gold necklace or a turquoise statement piece and, Boom! Out the door…
Caring for Linen
Linen becomes softer and more absorbent after each wash, which is pretty neat. Wash linen on low temperatures in lukewarm or cold, and preferably soft, water. Use the gentle machine cycle and a mild detergent to protect the fibers. I love, love, love Caldrea Sweet Pea detergent to care for linen. It leaves an amazing smell and so nice when you pull the covers up!
In my opinion, as beautiful and delicate as linen appears, I have found that it is definitely a “workhorse” fabric that is worth incorporating into your home. Quality + beauty = timeless…a winning combination! I found a few beautiful options with links for your convenience. Enjoy!
Until next time ~