Whilst we had all our guests from Red Magazine, Elle Decoration, Living etc and more tucked up in bed enjoying a delicious breakfast, we couldn't resist busting some of their linen myths. You'll be quite surprised by what they asked!
"Does higher thread count actually mean better quality?"
We say: 300tc or 400tc linen woven from good quality cotton will have all the luxe factor you need.
It’s hard to debunk this myth without a little bit of ‘geek’. Thread count refers to the number of horizontal and vertical threads in a square inch of cloth. So, in a 200tc cloth you might have 110 threads running vertically and 90 running horizontally; in a 400tc, you might find 280 horizontal and 120 vertical threads. The problem begins when you increase the thread count as the threads need to be packed tighter together, creating an impermeable barrier that makes the fabric less breathable and potentially harder to launder. Think wrinkles on a grand scale. Manufacturers may also twist multiple individual threads together to artificially boost the thread count, as BBC journalists recently discovered when investigating linen at some very well-known stores.
"Washing linen - to tumble dry or not to tumble dry?"
We say: Line dry where possible and iron when slightly damp if necessary. Our linen can of course be tumble dried but avoid overloading the dryer or over drying.
Over drying linen is a common mistake that results in hard to iron out creases. We recommend air drying whenever possible but if time is short or the weather’s bad, tumble dry until damp and steam iron to perfection.
"Is it OK to use fabric softener on towelling?"
We say: It’s always better to go au-naturel when it comes to towelling.
Fabric conditioner coats the loose cotton fibres with a waxy finish, which actually prevents the towel from doing its job. Our advice is don’t use it. Dry outside ideally or, if not practical, on an indoor airer overnight. Avoid radiators and if using a tumble dryer, make sure there is a cool down time as part of the drying cycle to allow the yarns time to recover and prolong the life of your towels.
"Egyptian cotton - is it really the best quality there is?"
We say: Look for products that contain a high quality long staple cotton from a retailer you can trust.
Forever quoted as synonymous with luxury, the main attraction of Egyptian cotton is that it can be used to make long staple yarn. Using long staple over short staple yarn helps produce cloth that is softer and smoother to the touch, both very desirable characteristics of high quality bedlinen.
Thankfully the production of cotton to make long staple yarn is not the sole preserve of Egypt’s Nile Delta, and not all cotton grown in the region produces long staple yarn. Given the worldwide supply of so-called ‘Egyptian cotton’ far outstrips the physical production, it’s easy to see why confusion and misinformation reign supreme.
“Is duck down the best filling?”
We say: It’s totally personal! As a rule of thumb more feather equals more support.
The type of pillow you need can depend on the way you sleep. But unless you love cloud-like softness you’ll probably want a mix of feather (support) and down (softness and warmth). How much feather you need depends on how firm you want your pillow to be, but a good hotel-quality average will be around 70% down and 30% feather. Bear in mind that inexpensive shop-bought pillows are cheap for a reason, and more likely to quickly lose their shape and support.