How long do 100% linen sheets last for?
March 15, 2006 6:14 PM   Subscribe

About six years ago I spent a fair amount of cash on a good quality 100% linen sheet,pillowcases and duvet cover.The sheet and duvet cover are now worn out,the sheet in the center and the duvet cover at the top.I machine washed them regularly at 60° C with a standard non-biological detergent.I was under the impression that good linen lasted a lifetime.Do I have unrealistic expectations or am I doing something wrong?
posted by Dr.Pill to Home & Garden (11 answers total)
Couple questions:
- Do you wear anything to bed?
- Is that 6 years of continual use (washed during the day, of course)?
- Is the wear pattern consistent with your sleeping location?
posted by Kickstart70 at 6:19 PM on March 15, 2006

Response by poster: -No
posted by Dr.Pill at 6:29 PM on March 15, 2006

Nothing lasts forever. Linen isn't kevlar.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 6:42 PM on March 15, 2006 [1 favorite]

60 C seems a little hot to me. But 6 years isn't that bad.
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 7:37 PM on March 15, 2006 [1 favorite]

Are you sleeping with porcupines?
posted by raider at 8:24 PM on March 15, 2006

Do you have a washer with an agitator (or whatever that post thingie in the middle is called)? Those wear out fabrics faster than the front loading type. Linen should be dried on a medium dryer setting and taken out slightly damp, then either ironed, hung, or folded flat.
Also, there are different grades of linens based on fiber length, just like cotton and wool. Longer fibers means longer lasting.
posted by oneirodynia at 8:45 PM on March 15, 2006

i have a duvet cover, sheets and pillow cases from my grandmother--they are about 30 years old now. i've been using them 20 years.

i wash them in very hot water but only once a month and never use chlorine bleach. and only now after all these years are there small signs of wear, a few small holes i have mended in the duvet cover only-- right in the middle of it.

maybe linens were better made years ago. mine are german made and solidly middle class. that is to say that my grandmother bought the best she could afford, but not the cheapest and certainly not the most expensive.

while she had them--10 years of the 30--i know how she washed them--in nearly boiling water. that was the way back then, and the cycle was quite long too. no mechanical drying of course.

i think the quality of linens has gone down. i bought the most expensive ones in our best department store and was very disappointed in their poor wear-- a mere few years. i was hoping to approximate the quality of my grandmother's linens, but haven't been able to so far.
posted by subatomiczoo at 8:46 PM on March 15, 2006

Perhaps you have unusually acidic body chemistry. Not to overshare, and of course the circumstances are different, but I tend to eat holes in my panties over time.
posted by ottereroticist at 12:11 AM on March 16, 2006

Check out this book.
posted by BigBrownBear at 1:28 AM on March 16, 2006

60c definitely sounds too hot to me.
posted by fire&wings at 5:54 AM on March 16, 2006

From Home Comforts, Cheryl Mendelson's prequel to the book BigBrownBear linked to:
In part, today we need to use more caution because our linens are less sturdy than linens were in the old days, when they were much heavier in weight, resin-free (resin treatments weaken cloth), and often made of the finest-quality flax. [....] It was precisely because linen resisted staining and soil and because sturdy linen could endure strenuous laundering that it was used for bedding, tablecloths, towels, underwear, and nightgowns.
And to back up what otteroticist suggested about body acids:
Linen is vulernable to mildew but not to moths. It has good light resistance, more than cotton, eventually deteriorating only with long exposure to light. Concentrated acids, or even dilute acids if they are hot, can damage cellulosic fibers like linen. Over time, acid perspiration will also weaken it.
Also, Mendelson urges her readers to use very mild detergent, while avoiding ones with brightening agents.
posted by jbrjake at 10:11 AM on March 16, 2006

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