Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Steaming mad

Those of you who use fabric tablecloths (which, Lord help me, I hope is all of you), listen up: Steam out tablecloth wrinkles. Do not. N O T. Put linens on a table which are wrinkled in any way. If you are laundering machine-washable cloths yourself, the de-wrinkle cycle does not cut it. They need to be steamed and/or pressed. Non-negotiable. This is unacceptable:

Creased and wrinkled. Steam it, even if it is delicate.

An Aesthete's Lament commented in these pages on the question of whether or not the press-crease from the dry cleaner or what-have-you should be left or removed. Because you see, this literally happens everywhere now: Fine dining. Weddings. Magazines. It is an acceptable norm, it would seem...

Martha Stewart Weddings

In the days when dry cleaners handled my linens (badly), due to time constraints I had no choice but to leave what creases remained. But they were few:(And this key, Chums.) I requested all the linens hanging with light starch. Including the napkins, into which I quickly pressed a careful fold at home to be sure the edges were matched. The few creases still drove me up the wall when I had to place a glass on them, they teetered and looked unbalanced; any paced movement on the hardwood floor would cause them to wiggle dangerously.

No excuses now, home steamers which have been reviewed by Consumer Reports and found effective are available for less than $50. Which is far less than it costs to have a table worth of holiday linen laundered and pressed once. When the linens are dried it takes but a few minutes to tune them up entirely and I say, well worth it.

We can take a lesson from stylists everywhere who take the time to press and steam:

Elle Decor

House Beautiful

It can be done, with a little effort. And it is important to put your best effort forward for every guest:

For a great reference site on how to deal with home care of fine fabrics - including knits and sweaters, I consult The Laundress Blog. I am not the only one: J. Crew has recently picked up their line of care products for cashmere and as you know, I cannot say enough good things about their sweater stone.

Related Blushing Homekeeping links:

Caring for the King of Fibers

Laundry: Current Best Practices

Coffee and the Iron: It must be Wednesday morning

Why Clean and Orderly Matters


thepreppyprincess said...

Can we just tell you how thrilled we are to see this post? And of course the post-dry cleaner wrinkle down the middle is totally unacceptable! Good heavens!

You rock Miss Hostess, yes indeedy!

swdesign said...

May I add wrinkled bedding to the list of offenders. I can't tell you the number of times I've cringed at badly wrinkled or creased bed linens on store displays or in print ads. My husband thinks I'm nuts, but the lack of attention to detail makes me nuts!