Today, most manufacturers of linen garments and other linen items, especially interior furnishings, recommend dry cleaning. Why, if linen is a natural-fiber fabric and can be washed? Through the ages people have washed linen in streams and boiled linen in pots to get it clean. To dry it, they simply spread the linen out to dry in the sun.
The underlying reason is not the linen, rather the dyes, finishes, interfacing, lining, buttons, trim and even the thread that may be used in construction, of garments especially. Undyed sanitized linen launders beautifully, but few things are fashioned out of undyed linen. The added treatments and additions to the fabric complicate the cleaning process. If dry cleaning is the method of cleaning used, it is important to point out spots so the dry cleaner can pretreat the stain correctly.
If dry cleaning is recommended, choose a dry cleaner who does work on the premises. Ask whether solvents are regularly changed. If white linens turn gray or yellow, it may be an indication that the solvents need to be replaced.
Probably the most quoted reason for choosing dry cleaning over laundering is that it is easier, and less time-consuming. The decision rests with the consumer if the manufacturer’s care label offers the choice of laundering or dry cleaning.