|Tuckaway Cottage Suite - Sandaway Waterfront Lodging|
Select and wash with care, and keep life in your linens
By Jerri Sapienza.
Proper care keeps linens clean and fresh,
and should lengthen their life span.
So says Aimee Wedlake, owner of Valerianne,
a specialty linen store. Her shelves
are stocked with home accessories and luxury
linens for bed, bath and table.
Wedlake was inspired by her mother; who
started Valeriaime 13 years ago in Scottsdale,
Ariz., where Wedlake ran the shop for
eight years. Her mother has since retired,
and Wedlake is keeping the family's love,of
linens alive with her Vienna, Va., store.
We chatted with Wedlake about laundering,
storing and choosing linens.
Question: What are common mistakes people
make when laundering linens?
Answer:One of the worst things you can do
is use dryer sheets and fabric
softeners. Thex coat fibers,
build residue, and are
difficult to rinse clean. They
also dull and gray colors
and break down cotton,
which can cause linens to
lose, their softness and can
make them less absorbent.
To help brighten your linens
and get rid of residue
buildup, wash them with a
quarter-cup of white vinegar
every six to eight weeks, no
People also tend to use
way too much soap and
don't rinse properly. You
only need a smaIl amount of
soap. A good rule of thumb for detergent:
Whatever it says on the bottle, use half. I
also use an extra rinse cycle' on sheets. I
know it's not really green, but it really gets
rid of the residue.
Q:How often should you change and launder
A:Every week to 10 days.
Q:What are things to consider when buying
A:First, what appeals to your hand: Do you
prefer a crisp, tight weave like cotton percale?
Or do you prefer something with a
little more luster, with a higher sheen, like
sateen? Then, think about your mattress
, depth. Make note of it before you start shopping,
so you can get the appropriate size.
Q:Explain thread count, please.
A: Thread count means the number of
threads per square inch of fabric. Typically,
the higher the number, the better. But when
you get above 600, you're simply getting a
heavier sheet, not necessarily a better one.
Egyptian cotton for sheeting is th~best. It's
the strongest and longest staple cotton on
If your budget doesn't allow for high
thread-count sheets, just make sure the
packaged sheets you do buy are 100 percent
cotton. And when you launder them for the
first time, don't use soap (they aren't dirty
use white vinegar.
Q:Any tips for caring for pillows?
A: If you have down pillows and. want t,
freshen them up, put them outside for a few
hours on a nice day - it does wonders. If
your down pillow has lost its shape, throw it
in the dryer with a few tennis balls to fluff it
back up. And always launder your down
pillows; never send them to the dry cleaners.
Dry-cleaning chemicals will end up
breaking down the down filling. Simply using
soap and water on a gentle cycle is better.
Q:What is the best way to
launder bed linens and towels?
A: Fill your [washing machine]
with water first.
Then put in the detergent
and allow it to mix before
putting in your sheets and
towels. Finally, make sure
the linens are really rinsed
- clean before putting them in
the dryer. And use cold water,
always. It's gentler on
Q: Do you prefer white or
A: Personally, I like white. My towels are
white, my sheets are white. It's a fresh,
crisp and clean 'point to start and end your
Q:What are things to keep in mind when
A: The absorbency factor, which comes
down to the quality of the cotton. Egyptian
cotton, Turkish cotton and bamboo are
thirsty fabrics, which means they, are more
Q:Tips for keeping a linen closet?
A:It's nice to have a closet designated just
for linens, but sometimes that's just not possible.
Generally, keep towels together by
size, with the largest sizes on the bottom. I
store my sheets with the fitted sheet inside
the flat sheet and the cases right on top.
Fitted sheets are such a nightmare to
fold, but here's a tip: It's just a matter of
putting the corner pockets inside of each
If you need to store cleaning products and
vacuums in the same closet, just keep the
linens above and away.
The above photo is Tuckaway Cottage at Sandaway in Oxford, Maryland. This is one of eighteen bed and breakfast accommodations offered at Sandaway.