Cleaning fine bed and table linens in the metro Phoenix area and beyond
By: Stu Bloom
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The importance of skilled care for fine bed and table linens
Irrespective of the quality of your fine bed linens, skilled cleaning should:
kill germs and bacteria
kill dust mites that feed on the skin cells you slough off on a nightly basis
prevent the build up of nasty, musty odors
remove water-based stains such as perspiration
- remove protein-based stains such as blood and other bodily secretions
remove oil-based stains such as body oils, creams, lotions and cosmetics
prevent color discoloration caused by the chemical interaction of the acids and salts in perspiration with the pigments in the dyes of your bed linens
prevent oil-based stains from oxidizing and turning brown or yellow when subjected to heat (for example, when you dry your bed linens in a home dryer or iron them with a hand iron)
prevent sugar-based stains from caramelizing and turning brown or yellow when subjected to heat (for example, when you dry your bed linens in a home dryer, iron them with a hand iron or store them in a relatively warm storage closet).
Irrespective of the quality of your fine table linens, skilled cleaning should:
remove water-based stains such as coffee, juice, wine and beer
remove oil-based stains such as gravy, salad dressing, butter, mayonnaise and candle wax
prevent oil-based stains from oxidizing and turning brown or yellow when subjected to heat (for example, when you dry your table linens in a home dryer or iron them with a hand iron)
prevent sugar-based stains from caramelizing and turning brown or yellow when subjected to heat (for example, when you dry your table linens in a home dryer, iron them with a hand iron or store them in a relatively warm storage closet).
Tips for caring for your fine bed and table linens
This blog post is not a “how to” guide for removing stains, washing and drying bed and table linens using home laundry processes and equipment.
The internet is awash in these “how to” guides.
Don’t believe me?
Just google the term “tips for caring for your fine bed and table linens” and you’ll get 4.7 million hits — most of which are home laundry hacks from Helpful Heloises who, in all probability, have never heard of Anichini, Bonjour, Cotti Maryanne, Dia, Frette, Gish, Kreiss, Leron, Matouk, SDH/Legna, Sferra Bros, Signoria, St. Geneve or Yves Delorme. In other words, individuals who don’t invest in fine bed and table linens.
The problem for the owners of luxurious, distinctive European and American bed and table linens – antique, vintage, or modern – is that these linens are costly and can be easily ruined if mishandled.
Fact is, these linens demand a level of care that shouldn’t involve merely tossing them into a washer with hot water, caustic detergents and bleaches, tumbling in a dryer and folding.
Accordingly, the information that follows is designed to educate readers who are fine bed and table linen aficionados, who are serious about caring for their fine bed and table linens, and for whom home laundry results rarely meet expectations.
With this in mind, here are some tips for keeping your fine bed and table linens in pristine condition:
Resist the impulse to rub, wipe or scrub a stain using a paper or fabric napkin or towel. Instead, blot the stain with a soft, dry, cloth towel. Then leave it for a true quality cleaner.
Why do I say that?
Because a true quality cleaner will know how to treat your specific combination of
- stain (e.g., perspiration, blood, other bodily secretions, body oils, creams, lotions, cosmetics, coffee, juice, wine, beer, gravy, salad dressing, butter, mayonnaise, candle wax or some combination thereof)
- stain type (e.g., water-based, oil-based, protein-based or some combination thereof)
- fabric color (e.g., white, cream, tan, red, black or some combination thereof)
- fabric type (e.g., cotton, linen, rayon, silk or some combination thereof)
- dye type (e.g., solvent soluble dye, water soluble dye, solvent fast dye, water fast dye, or some combination thereof).
By the way, the natural color of the pulp used to manufacture paper towels is not white. Manufacturers bleach the pulp white. Combine those bleaching agents with a little water and vigorous rubbing and you could damage your fine bed and table linens before you even realize it.
Resist the urge to “do something now” by applying the first miracle cure that you can get your hands on or that’s suggested to you.
The likelihood that you’ll be able to safely remove the stain with “stuff” or a concoction of “stuff” — ammonia, baby wipes, baking soda, club soda, coca cola, corn starch, dishwashing liquid, hairspray, hydrogen peroxide, hot or cold water, laundry detergent, lemon juice, lighter fluid, meat tenderizer, salt, vinegar, WD-40 or white wine — are remote.
Most of these “quick fix” miracle cures just
- spread the stain (resulting in the formation of rings or “tide lines”),
- bleed the dyes,
- “pull” color out of the fabric and/or
- make future removal by a skilled stain removal technician even more difficult.
Here’s a sobering thought: By attempting to “treat” the stain yourself, you’ve got a 50:50 chance of ruining the bed or table linen. In other words, if the quick-fix miracle cure works, you’re just plain lucky. If it doesn’t work, you’ve possibly ruined the bed or table linen.
Read more: https://ravefabricare.com/stains-spills-fine-garments-4-dos-donts/
Resist the urge to use a water-based “miracle cure” on an oil-based stain.
Please remember the old adage: Oil and water don’t mix.
If you have an oil-based stain on a bed or table linen, the likelihood that the oil will dissolve in the “wash” is pretty much close to zero. Typically, oil-based stains need to be emulsified by a dry cleaning fluid (by the way, dissolving oils is one of the primary functions of dry cleaning).
But wait. There’s more.
When you wash a bed or table linen with oil-based stains and examine the linen, the stain may look as if it has disappeared. It hasn’t. Once you remove the bed or table linen from the dryer or after you hand iron the linen, you’ll probably notice that the oil-based stain has oxidized and transformed into a difficult-to-remove brown or yellow stain.
As previously mentioned, it’s unlikely that you can remove oil-based stains from bed and table linens by “washing” alone. And it doesn’t matter how hot the water is, how aggressive the detergents are or how many gallons of bleach you add.
If you’ve ever sent an oil-stained tablecloth, napkin or placemat to a dry cleaner and it’s returned with one of those sorry-we-tried-but-we-couldn’t-get-the-stains-out tags, you now know why. They merely tossed your linens into the wash with hot water, caustic detergents and bleach in the hope that they could “boil” the oil-based stains out.
I suppose that’s one more reason to entrust your fine bed and table linens to a specialized french laundry that’ll remove those oil-based stains before your fine linens ever enter a washer.
Read more: https://ravefabricare.com/dry-cleaning-solvents-fluids-introductory-guide/
Read more: https://ravefabricare.com/4-types-dry-cleaners-which-profile-fits-your-local-dry-cleaner/
Resist the urge to use an oil-based “miracle cure” on a water-based stain.
The application of an oil-based “spot remover” (such as WD-40) on a water-based stain will just leave you with the original water-based stain and a new oil-based stain.
Recommendation: Never use an oil-based spot remover on a water-based stain..
Resist the urge to “rewash” your fine bed and table linens multiple times in order to remove oil-based stains.
As mentioned above, the likelihood that an oil-based stain will dissolve in the “wash” is pretty much close to zero.
Albert Einstein once said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. Continuously rewashing the same linen multiple times in order to remove an oil-based stain is the very definition of insanity. It just doesn’t work.
Resist the urge to use products containing bleach.
You’ve probably seen the term “safe bleach” or “color safe bleach” printed on the labels of various products.
If you’re unskilled in the use of bleaches, you should avoid the use of bleaches of any kind.
And, yes, I heard all the stories eulogizing bleaches.
Here’s the flip side of the coin: Over the course of nearly 30 years, I seen thousands of bleach disasters, many of which were initially characterized by clients as “stains”.
Fact: They’re not stains; they’re permanent damage to the fabric.
Here’s a specific warning about 3% sodium hypochlorite (such as Clorox Bleach): While 3% sodium hypochlorite is perfect for disinfecting the toilets in your bathrooms, 3% sodium hypochlorite can permanently “spot” your fine bed and table linens.
More importantly, unless all the bleach is washed out through multiple rinses, the bleach residue in your fine bed and table linens can rot the fabric.
Consider this scenario: you washed and dried a bed or table linen. When you examine the linen, you notice one or more stains remain. So you decide to apply some 3% sodium hypochlorite to the stained area and toss the linen into the wash one more time. Miraculously, the stain disappears. Seeing that the stain “disappeared”, you toss it into the dryer and then fold it for future use.
At some future time, you decide to use that linen once more. After usage, you go through the same wash-dry process once more. Lo and behold you discover that big chunks of the fabric have miraculously vanished.
What did that happen?
Because you failed to remove every last trace of the bleach and, over time, the bleach rotted the fabric.
Resist the urge to use oxygen-based cleaning agents.
A cousin to 3% sodium hypochlorite is sodium perborate, the active ingredient in products such as OxyClean.
If you believe the TV infomercials and all the testimonials offered by folks who’ve “tested” the product (many of whom are compensated in cash or free product for their “testimonials”), these products are the next best thing to sliced bread.
The problem for the home user of these products is that the amount of sodium perborate — by weight — in these products is small relative to the other “filler” ingredients.
And the reason?
The manufacturers are probably protecting themselves from possible negative publicity if the product is misused and the textile is damaged as a result. That possibility exists because some consumers might believe that 10 scoops of the product might produce a better result than 1 scoop.
By contrast, a specialized french laundry will use sodium perborate in it’s unadulterated form and understands the concentrations necessary to achieve the very best results — safely.
Be aware that certain products such as face cleansers and toothpastes contain bleaches that can permanently discolor fine bed linens.
Many common face cleansers and toothpastes contain bleaches.
If you notice a “whitish spot” — particularly on pillow cases and shams — it’s quite possible that you have permanent color loss. Color loss is not a stain and cannot be restored.
One way to identify permanent color loss is to turn the case or sham inside out and examine whether the “stain” shows on the reverse side. If the “stain” shows on both sides, that’s permanent color loss.
Resist the urge to scrape wax off a tablecloth with a knife, even if the knife’s blunt.
We often see tablecloths and runners with large oil-based stains from dripping candle wax. In many cases, a client will tell us that they partially removed some of the wax with some type of instrument — a knife, fork or blade.
We typically advise clients not to do anything: We’ll remove all the wax — safely — without using an instrument that can possibly disturb the perfect symmetry of the underlying vertical and horizontal threads.
It’s frustrating to know that the removal of the wax from a tablecloth or runner is relatively easy and that the tablecloth or runner could have been perfectly restored if only the client had not attempted to “help” by wielding some type of instrument.
Entrust your fine bed and table linens to a French Laundry that specializes in the restoration, cleaning and finishing of fine bed and table linens.
As I’ve previously mentioned, luxurious, distinctive European and American bed and table linens – antique, vintage, or modern – are costly and can be easily ruined if mishandled.
Which is why you should consider entrusting your fine bed and table linens to french laundry experts.
When I use the term french laundry experts, I’m specifically excluding the overwhelming majority of dry cleaners who will “do” your bed and table linens by subcontracting the work to commercial laundries who process linens for Motel 6 and Best Western.
I’m also specifically excluding those dry cleaners who “do” the work in-house by tossing your fine bed and table linens into a washer with hot water, caustic detergents and bleaches in an attempt to boil your linens “clean” before running them through roller-style machines like bathroom tissue through a Charmin factory.
Introducing RAVE French Laundry LinenCARE
RAVE French Laundry LinenCARE, a division of RAVE FabriCARE in Scottsdale, Arizona, has the old world techniques and new world technology necessary to gently restore your precious fabrics to their original beauty.
Using a combination of delicate dry cleaning, wet cleaning, hand washing, blocking and/or restoration techniques to remove anything from perspiration, body oils, bodily secretions and lotions, creams and cosmetics on bed linens to food fats, beverage spills, wine spills and candle wax on table linens.
Even old, oxidized yellow stains (in most cases). And discoloration caused by age or improper storage (in most cases).
What’s more, we do all this with obsessive attention to detail and a commitment to delivering best of class bed and table linen care. And we do this without brushing, bleaching, boiling and baking the life out of your investment linens.
At RAVE French Laundry LinenCARE, our modern fabricare facility and specialized equipment are truly state-of-the-art.
Of course, best of class linen care cannot be delivered by facilities and equipment alone.
That’s why we operate the most labor intensive french laundry in the country with skilled artisans at every step of the linen care process.
Our labor- and time-intensive approach to caring for your fine bed and table linens is just one reason why our french laundry service is unmatched by any dry cleaner or laundry in Arizona and by few in the USA.
Here are the basics of our process:
- Examine and assess
- Soak to remove oil-based stains
- Soak to remove soil and water-based stains
- Launder. Very gently. And very briefly.
- Iron to perfection
- Block or reshape to size
- Package to perfection
Sleeping on freshly laundered, perfectly hand finished bed linens is one of life’s little luxuries… the ultimate bedtime indulgence.
Dining on table linens that have been cleaned and hand finished to perfection is a must for any table setting — casual or formal.
In this age of highly automated, mechanized, price-oriented, fast turnaround, sub-contracted “cleaning and pressing” services for bed and table linens, our approach to caring for your fine bed and table linens might seem a little old fashioned. But that’s ok with us. We wouldn’t have it any other way.
If you live in the metro Phoenix area (including Ahwatukee, Arcadia, Carefree, Central, Chandler, Gilbert, Paradise Valley or Scottsdale) or anywhere else in the USA or Canada, you can trust RAVE French Laundry LinenCARE to keep your fine bed and table linens looking and feeling their best for years to come.
Photo credit: matouk.com
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