GOOD quality linen can never be termed an extravagance. If one has the means it is always economy to buy the best. Though the initial outlay is bigger, the extra cost is an investment that pays dividends in appearance and wearing qualities.
A nicely-laid table is a womans pride, but however well it may be set, it will look nothing if the linen is inferior. Good linen never dates. It will last for years and always look new every time it returns from the laundry.
Providing one has the money to spend, it is a good thing to triplicate every article. A rest is good for everything, linen included. Two table-cloths, one in use and one at the laundry, may seem sufficient, but what is to happen if the one in use has soup spilt over it before the other one has come home?
Economy in Numbers
Tt is not extravagant to have in use a breakfast-cloth, a luncheon set, and a dinner-cloth. One immediately thinks this will entail more laundering and extra expense. This is not the case. One table-cloth used three times a day will not last clean for very long, whereas three each used once a day, will stay clean for a longer period. The laundry bill will be no larger than that for the one cloth used for all meals.
It is also nice to have a change. For breakfast, for instance, one docs not always want a plain white cloth, whereas for dinner nothing looks nicer. Luncheon mats save a lot of washing because they do not get so soiled as a cloth, winch is bound to get a certain amount of rubs from peoples clothing. Carving-cloths should be used when a hot joint is to be carved at the table.
Serviettes should be plentiful in every home. A dozen is the least any household should possess, as a clean one should be given to each visitor, even if he is only staying for one meal.
Tea-cloths and Tray-cloths
Do not err too much on the side of moderation in the matter of afternoon tea-cloths, tray-cloths, and doyleys. Tea is easily spilt, and when this happens at the beginning of the week, it is more than likely that an interval of several days must elapse before the cloth can be sent to the laundry. Such accidents must be allowed for when buying linens. Tea serviettes are easily made at home at small expense, and at little expenditure of time and energy. A dozen is the minimum one should have, though these are likely to prove inadequate if much entertaining is done, unless they are washed at home.
The quantity of bed-linen required depends entirely on the number of bedrooms and beds in use. Each bed should have one mattress cover, one under blanket, two top blankets, and two pairs of sheets, and each double bed four pairs of under pillow-slips and the same quantity of top-slips. This is allowing two pillows to each person and dispensing with the rather old-fashioned bolster. If a bolster is used, two covers will be necessary, and only two pairs of pillow-slips instead of four.
Each bed must have a bed-spread and an eiderdown. Many people prefer these to be of taffeta, having both to match, and thus eliminating the washing of large spreads. In this case it is not necessary to have a change of quilts, but it is advisable to keep one in reserve for the time when the silk article is being cleaned. If linen bed-spreads are used, two should be supplied for each bed.
Mattress covers and blankets do not need washing every week as do sheets and pillow-cases, but they need washing or cleaning occasionally, and spare ones are needed. Two double-bed mattress covers and two single-size should be sufficient for the medium-sized house.
At least three spare blankets should be kept in reserve for use when others are being cleaned or in case of illness, when extra pillow-slips and sheets are always necessary, plus two spare pillows, unless these can be taken from another bed which is not in use. Marking of Linen HE number of towels likewise depends A on how many people live in the house. Two Turkish towels, two face-towels, and two bath-sheets should be sufficient for each person. Extra towels should be kept for visitors and in Ccise of illness. Small guests towels are useful for visitors staying for one meal, and they are easily washed.
The marking of linen is best done by means of woven names, though marking ink is often used. Many people like to keep to their own towels even after they have been laundered. The easiest way of distinguishing them, if they are all of the same kind and colour, is by working initials on them.
Glass-cloths, dusters, etc., are best bought by the dozen. Those in use should be washed every day to prevent them becoming too dirty. They are easy to wash through when they are comparatively clean, whereas when they are allowed to get very dirty they need hard rubbing. This means hard work, and shortens the life of the article.
Roller-towels are the best for kitchen use, and should be of Turkish towelling, as it absorbs the water quicker. These need changing frequently, at least twice a week, for cleanliness of hands is most important when cooking or touching food. Four roller-towels should be kept. Three oven cloths should be in service, a clean one being put out each week.
Old Linen is Useful
LD linen should never be thrown away. Sheets get worn in the centre but they can be cut in half, hemmed, and used as draw-sheets in case of illness. Those that are not too worn may be cut in the centre, the selvedges joined down the middle, the worn part cut out and the sides hemmed. These may be used as under-sheets. Old linen is also useful for bandaging and dressing wounds.
The good parts of worn table-cloths can be made into maids cloths, carving-cloths, and cloths for use in the kitchen for such purposes as cutting bread, and so on.
Storing of Linen
Linen should always be kept aired when not in use. Bed linen is best kept in the linen cupboard where the hot-water system will ensure its readiness for instant service. To keep it clean, each shelf should be covered. To save time, keep sheets, pillow – slips, etc., in separate piles.