Linen – summer’s breathable, chicly rumpled staple – is another fabric that people assume has to be dry cleaned. But linen actually does better if you wash it by hand: it gets softer and more wonderful with each wash. But it does need to be washed with care. 

Tips for gentle washing

1. Read the label. As always, look at the manufacturer's care instructions before doing anything. And testing for colour fastness in an inconspicuous spot is always a good idea, too. 

2. Turn the garment inside out It keeps surface fibres from breaking, so your clothes last longer. 

3. Use cool water. Washable linens can be machine-washed on the gentle cycle, and most linens (even those not marked “washable”) can be hand-washed.

4. Hang to dry or tumble dry on low.  If you put linen items in the dryer, take them out while they're still a bit damp so wrinkles don't set in. Hang to finish drying.

5. Iron or steam.  Linen basically wrinkles as soon as you look at it, so it’s totally okay to embrace that slightly crumpled look. For super-creased items, iron while they're still a bit damp and use a low setting: too hot and you could scorch the fabric.