Tips and tricks - towels and bed linen
How to care about your towels so they don't become like sandpaper
We all know that an old towel can get scratchy and unpleasant on the skin after a few years, or even months. Not only is this unpleasant, but they actually absorb less moisture. But you don’t need to throw it away; there are ways to refresh it and make it soft and absorbent once more, unless it is worn thin or has holes. A towel must be washed and cared for in its own special way, to avoid turning it into another stiff old rag.
The most common material in towel manufacture is terry cloth. This is loom-woven, usually from cotton, to create a ‘pile’ of long loops, bunched through fabric, to create a greater surface area with which the fibres can absorb moisture. You may also find velour towels, where one side of the towel has all the loops of yarn cut to make shiny fabric. Other materials include modal, from birch wood, and the increasingly popular bamboo fibre-towels, which are four times more absorbent than cotton and are naturally hypoallergenic.
Classification of terry towel according to weight:
Light 250 – 350g/m2
Medium 350 – 450g/m2
Heavy 450 – 550g/m2
Very heavy – nad 550g/m2
Classification of terry towel according to finishing:
Velour towel, towel with embroidery, printed towel, towel with applique.
Buying a cheap towel is a false economy. Go for better quality if you don’t want to be towel-shopping every 6 months. Good quality cotton is easy to care for, and is more durable. Mixed fibre towels are worn down more quickly, and tend to push the moisture on your skin from one place to another, rather than absorbing it! Synthetic fibre may also cause irritation on skin softened from the shower or bath.
The biggest problem with your old towel is that it loses its colour. To slow this process, make sure you wash it with similar colours. Of course, white towels should be washed separately. Don‘t think that because it is white, you can boil it – never wash any towel over 40 degrees C, so as not to damage the material. Never use bleach (if there is a stain, use lemon juice to remove), and drastically reduce the use of fabric conditioner (or don’t use it at all) as the loops will absorb it and it will dry hard. If you live in an area where water is hard, this can also cause that scratchy towel feeling. To remove dry fabric conditioner from your towel, wash in vinegar or baking soda.
Try to make sure that you don’t overfill your washing machine – towels need plenty of water to wash in. When you take them out, shake them to fluff out the loops, and hang them out. Don’t dry them in direct sun, or in too high a heat. Give them a shake again before storing.
Change towels often, wash at least once a week, and rotate use – don’t just wash, dry, and use it again – make sure you have a few to choose from. Also try to avoid too much humidity in your closet so they don’t get mildewed.
Dust mites - do you know your flatmates?
Dust mites are classed as arachnids; although they only have legs at birth, a further 2 grow out on maturity. You cannot see them without a microscope. Mites have no eyes, wings or antennae
A dust mite’s favourite food is dead skin cells – both human and animal. They also eat crumbs of food. Mites absorb all the water they need from the atmosphere. They need water to survive, meaning that there are less mites in drier areas
People are not actually allergic to dust mites but rather to a type of protein that dust mites shed in their skin and faeces. Dust mites are too small to actually carry disease themselves.
Female dust mites lay up to 80 eggs in their lifetimes. It only takes a month for a newborn dustmite to mature into an adult. It will die after 1-3 months.
Where there are people, there are mites – they love our dead skin cells. Dust mites collect in carpets and furniture, but most of all in and around our bedding as it is warm and humid.
It would be almost impossible to rid the house of dust mites completely, but you can control them.
Sweeping doesn’t work as they will spread more easily.
Make sure you hoover regularly, after treating carpets with a carpet cleaner proven to kill mites. You can then hoover up the dead mites and their waste which causes allergies. Make sure you change the hoover bag regularly.
Clean your carpets with an rented industrial carpet cleaner every year. Wash curtains regularly
If you are very allergic to dust mites, or suffer from asthma, do not have carpets in the bedroom, and use plastic blinds instead of curtains
Purchase pillows that stand regular washing and are hypo-allergenic. Ensure that you wash your bed linen in hot, soapy water at least once a week.
Try to keep all surfaces dry, and dust free.
Remember that dust mites have no natural enemies! Controlling them is only up to you.
How to Care for Down Pillows
Making your pillows last forever is probably not possible, but you can make them last longer. Here’s how:
Try to avoid folding them, squashing them, and beating your husband/wife up with them
Never wash feather pillows, just the pillow case. Every year, send the pillow to a professional dry cleaner.
Pure down pillows can be washed, but make sure you dry them properly in a tumble dryer, for at least 4 hours otherwise they will mildew.
If you shower at night, make sure your hair is not wet when you go to bed
Try to avoid moisturising creams at night
Buy a pillow protector for your pillow – try to prevent any type of oil from leaching into the pillow
Make sure you wash pillow cases at least once a week
If you live in a humid climate, don’t hand you pillow out to air
If your pillow smells AT ALL, it’s time to buy a new one
Most of all – avoid getting moisture in there!