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Caring for Luxury Linens

A luxurious example of the antique and vintage textiles available from Pandora de Balthazár

While interviewing us, Coryanne Ettiene, who maintains the blog Kitchen Living with Coryanne and writes for Better Homes and Gardens, asked some astute questions so it occurred to us that sharing them with readers of our Pandora de Balthazár Diary would be fun, especially because she asked us about caring for luxury linens. Cynthia Bogart, whose remarkable site The Daily Basics holds an expansive mix of delicious design and lifestyle eye-candy, suggested that Coryanne speak with us and we were thrilled. We were also tickled to say that Coryanne is now a collector of our luxury linens: “I have gone into high gear turning my bed into what can only be deemed a ‘haven.’

Pandora’s Path to Luxury Linens

The first of her five questions addressed Pandora’s motivation for founding our company. In answering, she shared how her passion is simply innate: “As a Dalton-bred Georgia peach, I was raised in a tactile environment. Motivation is a completely different thing. I have been a collector of antique textiles since childhood. Christmas gifts were always hand- or machine made and monogrammed. My mother was my inspiration and my role mod…remember madras plaids? Mine were always monogrammed and custom-made just for me. Creating a world where textiles are truly appreciated, enjoyed and utilized is beneficial to us all. I am passionate about motivating others to accomplish this goal. Check out our “Paintings in Thread” for example, and our upholstered headboards as perfect examples that elevate textiles to an enjoyable art for…and experience the real difference.”


Antique and vintage textiles available through Pandora de Balthazár. Photo by Bill Bolin.


She then asked about our top tips for caring for antique textiles: “Use them often! A supple hand is critical to longevity. Wash them two- to four-times per year even if not using them; dry and store wrapped linen without ironing or starch. Line dry when possible and use gentle sunlight to self-cleanse and freshen your linens, your down bedding, even your rugs. Send your textiles and linens to a professional at least once a year for cleaning, conditioning, repair and restoration to maintain and elongate their life…unless YOU choose to be the professional. 

“Techniques and supplies are available from professionals to assist you. Should you wish to frame your textiles, do so in such a way that they can be removed and cleaned, and hang them away from humidity and outside walls where temperature changes might exist. Don’t be afraid to ask advice. Full-service laundry and restoration exists. Great textiles are to be enjoyed, recycled, and cleaned. And lastly, the old adage ‘Use them or lose them’ applies. NOT using your textiles can produce negative results like dry rot, rust, oil from wood furniture, fold ‘burns’ or staining on the folds can decimate your textiles.”


French Brocade Treasures in the Pandora de Balthazar collection.


Coryanne asked us why we use only Hungarian goose-down and our own Beata Antal, who is intimately involved with the purchasing and the handling of the down/feather products, told her it is simply the best for sleeping pillows and duvets, explaining: “We believe the large cluster feathers of the Hungarian goose makes a better feather pillow than the mix of 85/15 or 70/30 that most companies use. We also have a down-proof ticking that is machine-washable for ease of maintaining the pillows and duvets on a regular basis. The goose-down we use is meant to offer the paradoxical benefits of support, softness, lightness and coolness.”

Caring for Luxury Linens and Antique Textiles

Next, Coryanne asked us one of the questions we are asked the most: our top tips for caring for the down pillows and duvets in our European Sleep System, Pandora gave her the “newsflash” that surprises most of our customers: “If you own a pillow that says ‘do not wash,’ we suggest you ask, ‘WHY?’ The way I was raised—cleanliness is next to Godliness—has stayed with me all my life. I wash my pillows every three months, or more often if I am sick. I even press them, and I steam-clean my mattress and headboard every six months. Use sunshine for interim self-cleaning—it’s free, it’s fun, it’s fresh, and your pillows and duvets will thank you!”


Gold Velvet antique textile in the Pandora de Balthazar collection.


Beata added, “For detergent suggestions, I recommend Dreft or our own linen wash, which is so concentrated you use half a normal portion. Wash your pillows at least twice each year, but more often to maintain cleanliness—your pillows will actually respond to proper cleaning and you will as well. Use a light detergent without bleach or whiteners, and soak your pillows at least one hour, rinsing three times. Once you’ve done so, roll them in two Turkish towels to drain excess water. Place in the sun on a drying rack, but on top of a towel, rolling and fluffing every 20 minutes to move the down around. After approximately two hours of sunlight, place in the dryer with clean tennis balls until dry, then return to the sunshine for about 20 minutes on each side for the freshest application.”

We have found that it is also important to avoid humidity at all costs, beginning the process early in the morning and removing the pillows from the outdoors by 3 p.m. “If you feel unsure about your ability to accomplish this effectively, there are professionals who can clean them (or even re-tick and refurbish them),” Beata notes. “Our company has a full-service laundry and restoration center and we are there to help if you need us.”


Fringe on a valuable antique textile sold by Pandora de Balthazar. 


Finally, Coryanne asked, “I am a big advocate of ironing bed linens, however some people feel it to be a waste of time. What encouragement do you have that might change their point of view?”

“I absolutely believe in ironed sheets,” Pandora told her. “I launder and hang my sheets to dry, using sunlight whenever possible. That, too, gives me pleasure, and my sheets benefit all the way. Plus, it influences my family, friends, clients and even neighbors! Who doesn’t love the smell of fresh sheets, lavender and the feel of freshly ironed sheets against the body? I look at the right to sleep on ironed linen sheets and ironed linen shams as one of my most important bedding choices. Think about it this way: would you wear a non-ironed shirt to the office? Then why would you place the most important need in your life (yes, sleep) last instead of first?”


Lacey Window Panels are among Pandora de Balthazar’s antique treasures.


It’s no secret that sleep, water, affection and food are things our bodies MUST have to perform, to discern, to recover, to recuperate and to restore. “People choose daily what is important in their lives,” Pandora adds. “Whether to iron is a self-discussion that should be measured in tangible benefits: just how important is my sleep to me? What am I willing to do for better sleep? What must I give up to have the best sleep of my life? Is ironing worth it? Do I have to do the ironing? Can I afford to have my sheets ironed in order to enjoy that benefit in my own life and truly feel the difference?”

We’d like to thank Coryanne for prompting this wonderful discussion about caring for our Pandora de Balthazár luxury linens. I guess you can tell we get quite excited about the subject, and we hope something here is helpful to you if you’ve found your way here looking for information about caring for luxury bedding. If you have a question that Coryanne didn’t answer, leave a comment and we’ll get back with you with an answer.

The Pandora de Balthazár Diary and this post, Caring for Luxury Linens, © Pandora de Balthazár, all rights reserved. Products mentioned in this and all posts can be purchased on PandoradeBalthazár.com.


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