Ironing 101 - cloth napkins

Now I know some people say ironing is a chore, I would tend to disagree. I find ironing to be relaxing and my perspective is it is all in how you do the task that makes a difference in how you perceive it. I recently entertained for forty people and decided I would show you how to iron properly. For today, I am going to discuss with you how to iron your cloth napkins and keep them looking like they do in the store (or as close to it).Cloth napkins are a great way to dress up a table for any occasion. Whenever I launder them, I always first check them for any unnerving stains and spot treat those with shout or if the linens are white, I have bleach with water (50/50 blend) in a spray bottle that I only spray direct on the spot. I always wash linens on cold, except for linens that are completely white (which are done in hot) - but then use a cold rinse. If you think you have some difficult stains, you can try using warm, but then a cold rinse.

Once they are done in the washer, you can either begin the ironing process then or you can throw them into a plastic garbage bag to keep them damp (up to 48 hours). If I do not have any other laundry to do and know I will have time to iron them in the next 48 hours, I will keep the linens in my washer to keep damp. Do not do this for an extended period of time or your linens will then need to be laundered again. Otherwise you can pull them out - DO NOT PUT THEM IN THE DRYER... EVER! If you are not going to have time for a while, then pull them out and let them air dry until you are ready to iron them.

I placed these dry linens into a laundry basket and poured one small glass of cold water (one at a time) over them until they were damp. I then let them sit for 15 minutes before I started to iron them to make sure they were all wet. I also always have a spray bottle filled with water to use whenever the linens are dry. You want a damp linen when you are ironing so you achieve that crisp look to your linen.The workhorse, my Rowenta Pressure Steam Iron. I have to start this iron seven minutes before I can use it due to the large water holding tank that generates the steam. This thing doesn't quit, it can go for hours. You can see the damp linen to the right.

Now I begin to iron the damp napkin. You should have steam coming off the linen and you sometimes on darker linens will notice the color lighten as the water/steam evaporate from it.

Here I have done half the napkin, you can see the color change. Once you are done with the entire linen, you then fold it in half, and iron over the entire half. You will still most likely have some steam arising, that is good because it allows for good creases.

Then you fold the napkin over itself again so it resembles a long strip and you iron over that again.
Lastly, you fold that strip in half over itself so you can see the edges/corners and finally iron over that. By doing this, you will add years of life to your napkins and make many table settings and events more special.

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