Back

Basic Care Instructions #2: Blankets, Sheets, Towels, Down Comforters

 

 

****

BASIC CARE INSTRUCTIONS  #2

****

This is the second in a series of newsletters on common care instructions for domestic items and materials most often seen in antique and vintage textiles, including but not limited to housewares and clothing. I hope this care information is helpful to you.

You may well know a lot more about the care of domestic items than I can tell you here, but it's nice to have all this information in one place. So at the risk of boring you, this newsletter goes into some detail.

This newsletter covers cotton blankets, sheets, mattress pads, down comforters, towels and wool blankets. It's basic information relevant to all fiber. Future issues will cover cotton and silk knits, outerwear, sweaters, shoes, trousers, jackets, fine leather goods, and lingerie. See our issue BASIC CARE INSTRUCTIONS #1 for information on how to read care labels you may find on vintage fabrics (and you should follow them if you do find them!).

****

Cotton Blankets And Cotton Sheets

In the case of COTTON BLANKETS, we suggest you machine wash them in cold water, delicate cycle, wash separately. Do not bleach. Tumble dry at low heat. Pressing with a warm iron is optional.

In the case of COTTON SHEETS SUCH AS PERCALE, again, we suggest machine washing in warm water. Use only non-chlorine bleach, as needed. Tumble dry at low heat, but, and this is IMPORTANT, remove PROMPTLY from the dryer.  Pressing with a warm iron is optional.

In the case of COTTON SHEETS SUCH AS FLANNEL, follow these instructions:
Machine wash in warm water.
Use non-chlorine bleach, tumble dry at low temperature and DO NOT OVER DRY!.
Pressing with ONLY a WARM iron is optional.
As you probably know, a certain amount of pilling will occur. This is nothing to be alarmed about. 

 

 

****

Mattress Pads

Think of your wool mattress pad as a fine, pure wool blanket. It simply does not need frequent cleaning. When cleaning is necessary, the New Zealand Wool Board recommends hand washing, and they should know.

To wash, place the pad in a bath using lukewarm water and a wool shampoo. Rinse. Spin out excess water in a washing machine.
Then line dry or use "cold air / air fluff" cycle in your clothes dryer.
OR PROFESSIONALLY DRY CLEAN.

 

Mattress pads for infants and babies, on the other hand, are another story. These should be washed daily in hot water and soap, and thorougly dried in the dryer on HOT before reusing.

 

 

****

Down Comforters

 

Down can either be washed or dry cleaned. Whatever method you use, you must be sure that the comforter is very clean when the process is over. Otherwise, the down filling will not reloft properly and the down will lose its' insulating ability. If it does NOT reloft properly, have it recleaned AT ONCE.


Note: Queen and king size down comforters are too bulky for most home washers and dryers. We recommend you deal with them using the oversized machines found at most laundromats.

Down quilts should NOT be washed or dry cleaned too frequently.  Keep them fresh by airing them out in summer, preferably after a thunderstorm when the air is full of ozone (how's that for an unusual tip!). Ozone restores the lanolin around the down (really!) which in return restores the down (one good turn deserves another!).

To spot clean a down comforter, soak the area in a very mild detergent until as much of the spot can be removed as possible. Resist like the plague the temptation to rub that spot! Let it dry in a medium to warm temperature.

When washing down comforters, use mild detergent and water NOT hotter than 95 degrees Fahrenheit. When transferring the down comforter from the washer to the dryer, LIFT IT;  do not pull it! Wet down is very heavy.

Helpful Tip: Dry thoroughly at low heat, and put a pair of canvas sneakers or tennis balls into the dryer at the same time, to reloft the down during the drying process. Before storing the comforter, be sure it is completely dry!  Otherwise the down can rot. Really.

Never ever store down in plastic bags. Down needs a 'breathable' fabric container and storage in a dry place.

 

 

****

Towels

There is nothing extraordinary about towel care:
Machine wash in warm water.
Wash dark colors separately.
Tumble dry at medium temperature.
Use non-chlorine bleach on colored towels only if needed.
DO NOT USE FABRIC SOFTENER. Contrary to what you may think, fabric softener coats the fabric and reduces absorbency.
Household Hint: Add 1/4 to 1/2 cup of white vinegar to the rinse water; this will dispel any soap residue.

 

****

Wool Blankets

With wool blankets, it's advisable to pay close attention to the label. The label should say "Washable Wool" or "Superwash Wool".
Here's the key to that information: Wool that has been treated for "Superwash" means it can be machine washed, either cool or warm, on GENTLE cycle. It does have a finish on it that makes the wool stiff at first, but after washing it, the wool softens. Avoid the dryer, however. "Superwash" does NOT mean superdry! Also, machines with rough agitations may contribute to shrinkage; that's why we stress GENTLE cycle.

 

Having said all this, the following suggestions should take care of things:

WASHABLE WOOL:  Machine wash on GENTLE cycle. Do NOT bleach! Tumble dry on the LOW setting, for as long as it takes for the blanket to get completely dry OR hang the blanket doubled over a clothes line and leave the drying to the air!

NON-WASHABLE WOOL:  Professionally dry clean only.

 

****

I sign these newsletters "See Into The Invisible". Thanks for reading.

Best Wishes, 
Debra Spencer

All Content is © Debra Spencer, Suit Yourself™ International. Technical Library FAQ Index ISSN 2474-820X. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce in part or in whole without express written consent. Thank you.
Top
All Content is ©2019 Debra Spencer, Appanage™at www.suityourself.international Suit Yourself ™ International, 120 Pendleton Point, Islesboro Island, Maine, 04848, USA 44n31 68w91 Technical Library FAQ Index ISSN 2474-820X. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce in part or in whole without express written consent. Thank you.

Read Our Magazine! A Fortune Cookie Once A Week.

Enter your e-mail address to receive our magazine.
Email
Country
Please enter a valid email address.
Email address already subscribed.
All Content is ©2019 Debra Spencer, Appanage™at www.suityourself.international Suit Yourself ™ International, 120 Pendleton Point, Islesboro Island, Maine, 04848, USA 44n31 68w91 Technical Library FAQ Index ISSN 2474-820X. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce in part or in whole without express written consent. Thank you.
Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm. ~ Winston Churchill