Product & Care Information

 
At Kramer’s we strive to offer our customers as much information as possible on the products we sell and how to care for them.

Please click on any of the topics listed below to access the desired information.

BED COVERINGS DEFINED
What is a bedspread, a coverlet, a comforter?
How do you say duvet cover?

WHAT IS A DUVET?
A funny name for a luxurious way to sleep.

CARE OF DOWN PRODUCTS
Getting the most from your investment

COTTON CONFUSION
Egyptian, Sea Island, Pima, Supima - I thought cotton was cotton!

WHAT IS THREAD COUNT
Basic information about thread count.

BEYOND THREAD COUNT
Thread count is only one factor in judging high quality bed linens.

BASIC WEAVES FOR BED LINENS
Linen, satin, twill and Jacquard weaves explained.

HOME LAUNDERING TIPS
Read this before you throw everything in the washing machine.
          -Shrinkage
     
    -Washing Bed Linens
      
   -Washing Bath Linens
      
   -Washing Table Linens
      
   -How to Dry
      
   -How to Iron
     
    -Storing Linens

UNIVERSAL LAUNDERING SYMBOLS
Those hieroglyphics on the label actually mean something.

STAIN REMOVAL
Helpful hints for saving that beautiful sheet or table cloth.


BED COVERINGS DEFINED
What is a bedspread, a coverlet, a comforter?
How do you say duvet cover?

 

Bedspreads
A bedspread goes to the floor and has additional length to tuck over the pillows. They may be either throw style or tailored (fitted) style.

Bedspreads are generally made of decorative fabrics that are quilted with a decorative stitch design. Quilting gives the fabric additional body and adds texture and dimension to the finished product.

Because of the fabrics used, the construction and the sheer size of a bedspread, most manufacturers recommend dry cleaning. Check the label for specific information

Important terms:
Side Drop: The distance that the bed covering hangs over the side of the bed.

Pillow Tuck: The additional length built into a bed covering to allow it to tuck over the pillows.


 
Coverlets
A coverlet does not go to the floor and may or may not have additional length to tuck over the pillows. They may be either throw style or tailored (fitted) style.

Coverlets can be made of quilted fabrics or they can be made of textured, woven fabrics. The textured, woven fabrics are also known as matelasses (mat teh le zay) or piques (pee kay).

Depending on the fabric and the construction, a coverlet may be require dry cleaning or it may be washable. Check the manufacturer’s instructions or ask the store where you made the purchase for more information.

Important terms:
Side Drop: The distance that the bed covering hangs over the side of the bed.

Pillow Tuck: The additional length built into a bed covering to allow it to tuck over the pillows.

Comforters
A comforter does not go to the floor and it does not cover the pillows. They are more heavily quilted than either a bedspread or a coverlet.

A comforter can be made of a decorative fabric with polyester fiber fill or a basic, down-proof fabric with down filling.

Decorative comforters generally require dry cleaning while down comforters are best maintained by a professional washing service.

The finished dimensions of a comforter are an important consideration as to how it will fit your particular mattress, box spring, bed frame combination.

Duvet Covers
A duvet (doo vay) cover is used on a basic down comforter. It serves to add color and design to the top of the bed as well as to protect the comforter.

The word duvet is the French word for down. What we call a down comforter is known in much of the world as a duvet. Therefore, a duvet cover is the decorative/protective cover for a down comforter.

Most, but not all, duvet covers are washable. Check the label for more information

The finished dimensions of a duvet cover are an important consideration as to how it will fit your particular comforter, mattress, box spring, bed frame combination.

Pillow Shams
Pillow shams are decorative covers for bed pillows. They can be flanged (tailored), ruffled or welted.

The pillow shams generally coordinate with the bed covering so they may be quilted, unquilted or made of textured, woven fabrics.

Recommended care of the pillow shams would be the same as the bed covering. Check the manufacturer’s instructions or ask the store where you made the purchase.

 

Bed Skirts (Dust Ruffles)
A bed skirt is used when the lower portion of the bed is an unattractive box spring and bed frame. They can be tailored, shirred (gathered) or box pleated.

A bed skirt may be made of the same fabric as the bed covering or in a fabric that coordinates. When shopping for a bed skirt it is important to know the drop required

Recommended care would depend on the fabric used.

Important term:
Bed Skirt Drop: The distance that the bed skirt hangs over the side of the box spring.

BACK TO THE TOP


WHAT IS A DUVET?
A funny name for a luxurious way to sleep.

Duvet (doo vay) is the French word for down. What we call a down comforter is known to a large part of the world as a duvet.

A duvet cover is put on a duvet (down comforter) to add color and design to the top of the bed as well as to protect the duvet.

BACK TO THE TOP


CARE OF DOWN PRODUCTS
Getting the most from your investment

Always use a duvet cover to protect your duvet and keep the duvet cover clean. Use pillow protectors on down pillows and wash the protectors regularly. A feather bed cover over a feather bed is strongly recommended.

Duvets, pillows and feather beds should be fluffed daily to maintain the loft and fullness of down.

If soiled or stained, duvets and pillows can be spot cleaned with a damp cloth and mild soap

If feather beds or silk-filled duvets become soiled they should be dry cleaned.

For cleaning down duvets and pillows, we recommend a professional, specialized laundry service. We have this information and prepaid shipping labels available in the store.

Laundering rejuvenates the lofting quality of down making duvets and pillows full, fluffier and fresh smelling.

You may wash down items in a front-loading, extra-capacity washer (the kind used by professional laundries) using a mild detergent in warm water. Do not use top-loading washing machines because the agitation may damage the delicate cotton cover. Some modest shrinkage or wrinkling may result from washing, but will not be visible once the duvet is in a duvet cover.

Down comforters and pillows love drying in the sun. Spread them out on a sheet on the grass or deck, and shake them vigorously from time to time while drying. Or, you may tumble dry in a dryer set on medium heat. Remove every hour and fluff. Placing a few tennis balls in the dryer will facilitate the drying. Be certain your down duvets and pillows are thoroughly dry before returning them to the bed or storage. Always store in cotton bags, never in plastic.

BACK TO THE TOP


COTTON CONFUSION
Egyptian, Sea Island, Pima, Supima - I thought cotton was cotton.

Cotton is a soft vegetable fiber obtained from the seed pod of the cotton plant and one of the major fibers in the textile industry. Its origins date back to 3000 B.C. The longer the fiber, the better the quality. Lengths vary from less than one-half inch to more that two inches. Remember: Fiber length (also called staple length) determines the quality of cotton. Long-staple cotton is not less than 1 1/8 inches in staple length.

Egyptian Cotton
Egyptian cotton is regarded as the cream of the global crop, with the longest staple (or fiber) of any type of cotton - 1 ½ inches or longer. Although historically it all came from Egypt, today “Egyptian” cotton is also produced in other countries, but still complies with the original Egyptian standards of quality. Considered the finest cotton in the world, it is soft, silky, strong, less likely to pill or lint and expensive.

Sea Island Cotton
Sea Island cotton, named for an island off Georgia’s coast, is also grown on islands off South Carolina, Texas and Florida, and in the West Indies. The highest grade of luxurious cotton made of strong, long, thin silky fibers, it’s the domestic version of Egyptian cotton.

Pima
Pima is a generic name for long-staple cotton grown in the U.S. and a few other countries. In the U.S., cotton is considered to be extra-long staple (ELS) or Pima if it is 1 3/8 inches or longer. Named after the Pima Indians of the American Southwest who helped raise it on experimental farms in Arizona in the early 1900s, it is less expensive than Egyptian or Sea Island cotton. Pima grown in the U.S. is usually referred to on packages by the trademarked term Supima.

Supima
Supima is the trademark name used to promote and market textile and apparel products made with 100% American Pima cotton. The name Supima is an abbreviation for Superior Pima.

BACK TO THE TOP


WHAT IS THREAD COUNT
Basic information about thread count.

Thread count is simply a measure of how many warp (lengthwise) threads and weft (widthwise) threads are woven into one square inch of fabric. While thread count is a consideration when buying fine linens, even more important is the quality of the cotton and the yarn construction.

BACK TO THE TOP


BEYOND THREAD COUNT
Thread count is only one factor in judging high quality bed linens.

Think the definition of luxurious bedding is a high thread count? Think again. The secret to selecting the best sheets is knowing which factors to consider. While thread count is a consideration, even more important is the quality of the cotton, the hand or feel of the fabric, the nature of the finishing, and the fashion.

Thread Count Basics
Thread count has become the buzzword in bedding - let’s face it, its gotten to be something of a status symbol, a “my sheets have more threads than yours” sort of thing.

So what exactly is thread count? It is simply a measure of how many threads - warp (lengthwise) and weft (widthwise) - are woven into one square inch of fabric. The thread count of “standard” cotton or muslin is 160; percale sheets begin at 180 and a count of 200 or higher are improvements on percale.

Thread count also has to do with the yarn construction and quality of the yarn. With finer threads, like those produced with Egyptian cotton, more can be woven into each square inch, producing a finer fabric.

As a practical issue, just how many threads can fit into one square inch of fabric? While improvements in spinning and milling technologies have pushed the number up, thread counts above about 400 are something of a misnomer, generally entailing the use of a “plied” yarn - one that is produced by twisting together gossamer-fine threads. For marketing purposes it is not uncommon to count the twisted yarns as double and, for example, describe fabric with 250 individual four-ply yarns in a square inch as a 1,000-thread-count product. But according to accepted textile industry practices, while they make incredibly soft and luxurious sheets, plied yarns do not multiply thread counts.

Fiber Quality
So, thread counts aren’t the be-all and end-all when it comes to sheets you love to touch. Softness depends more on the quality of the fiber, which is why a 200 thread count fine cotton sheet can have a softer “hand” than a 400 thread count sheet that uses an inferior grade of cotton or a twisted yarn.

Fine linens begin with fine cotton, and the quality of the cotton depends on the length of the individual fibers or staples - the longer the staple, the better the cotton. Longer staple can be combed finer to remove more small fibers, allowing the cotton to be spun into a finer-textured thread with more tensile strength, and woven into a softer, more lustrous fabric.

Once raw cotton is blended and cleaned, it is carded to remove any short staples and dirt that can cause yarn breakage in weaving. While carding will remove some of the short fibers, combing - a process used by high quality manufacturers - is much more thorough. This leaves the longest staples ready for spinning into a yarn that is stronger and finer to the touch - yarn that will produce a high-quality fabric.

That being the case, any sheets can have a high thread count, but if they are not made of long-staple cotton, they are not going to be as refined. The best-quality cotton results in a stronger fabric with a smooth soft hand.

Finishing
Finishing processes have a lot to do with the way the bedding feels. The better manufacturers take extra care to remove treatments used during weaving. This finishing process not only helps reduce wrinkling, it maintains the clarity or brightness of the color by preserving the cellulose core of the cotton and gives the fabric a smooth hand and a silky, shimmering look.

The way in which a fabric is woven also has an effect on it feel - cotton sateen sheets, for example, are softer than those with a classic linen weave. A satin weave has more warp (lengthwise) threads on the top surface, resulting in a silk-like touch and appealing luster. Which is better? It’s a matter of personal taste: some people prefer the crispness of a linen weave, others like the softness of the satin.

Fashion
The same care and attention to detail used in the manufacturing of high-quality bedding is brought to bear in the styling. This results in timeless, classic designs and colors that will add to the beauty and enjoyment of your home for years to come.

BACK TO THE TOP



BASIC WEAVES FOR BED LINENS
Linen, satin, twill and jacquard weaves explained.

Plain (or Linen)
In the plain weave, each weft (widthwise) yarn passes successively over and under each warp (lengthwise) yarn, in alternating rows.

Satin
A satin weave has more warp (lengthwise) threads on the top surface, giving it a very smooth and lustrous surface.

Twill
The twill weave is characterized by a diagonal rib in the fabric

Percale Sheets
Percale sheets are made with a plain weave. Percale has a minimum thread count of 180.

Sateen Sheets
Sateen sheets are made of fabric with a satin weave, which produces a softer, more lustrous finish

Jacquard Fabrics
Jacquard is both a loom and a type of weave that creates a woven pattern in fabric by individually arranging the warp (lengthwise) threads. Jacquard looms are used to make damask, brocade and tapestry fabrics.

BACK TO THE TOP


HOME LAUNDERING TIPS
Read this before you throw everything in the washing machine.

Home laundering is recommended for bedding items made of sheeting type material. Some items, such as bedspreads, decorative comforters, matelasses and down filled products may require dry cleaning or professional, specialized washing. Check the information you received from the manufacturer or ask the store where you purchased the item before assuming that it is washable.

We strongly recommend that you A) prewash all linens before use, and B) wash linens separately from anything else, particularly items that contain polyester. Polyester “pills” and will shed its pilling on natural fibers, diminishing the smoothness and softness of the fabric. In addition, garments with buttons or zippers can damage delicate linens in the wash.

Select a gentle laundry detergent. Products with bluing agents or whiteners are not recommended on colored linens, as they may progressively fade the colors.

Consider this longstanding practice to ensure longevity of bedding: rotate your sheets, with a set in the closet, a set on the bed and a set in the wash. This prevents one set from getting more wear than another.

A word of caution: Certain skin and hair products that contain oxidizing agents (e.g., lotions used for acne) may cause discoloration of sheets, particularly blue linens. If you use such personal products, cover your pillow with a white pillowcase or white towel.

Shrinkage
Shrinkage will occur with all linens made of natural fibers, the amount of shrinkage ranging from 4 to 10 percent, depending on the fiber used. The sizing of better linens allows for expected shrinkage. Linens washed in hot water or dried at hot temperatures will shrink excessively. Preshrunk items, such as Jacquard-woven table linens or honeycomb towels, normally shrink 3 percent or less. Generally, very large pieces of fabric or very high thread count linens are not preshrunk.

Washing Bed Linens
Linens should be separated into light and dark colors. Avoid overloading the machine to prevent breaking long fibers like those in Egyptian cotton. Whether cotton, pure linen or a cotton/linen blend, bedding should be washed in warm water, using a gentle laundering agent, with a final cold rinse. If presoaking is necessary, it should be in cold water.

Allow your washing machine to fill up and begin agitating before you add detergent or bleach. Unless your linens are extremely soiled, use half the commercial detergent recommended: this will reduce damage to fibers and clean your linens just as well.

Remove washed bedding promptly from the machine; this helps reduce wrinkling. Shaking damp linens out before drying (at low heat) will also reduce wrinkles and quicken the drying time.

Washing Bath Linens
Terry Towels: Washing terry towels before use begins the “breaking in” process, making them softer and more absorbent. Several washings are required for 100% cotton terry towels to achieve their maximum absorbency, softness and fluff.

Honeycomb Towels: These lightweight, waffle weave towels are loosely woven for absorbency, dry very quickly, and have been preshrunk. White honeycomb items with colored borders may be bleached safely to keep their brightness.

Launder towels in warm water and a gentle detergent. It is particularly important with towels that you not use fabric softener, because it decreases the absorbency of the towel.

Washing Table Linens
Table linens should be washed in warm water and gentle detergent, with a final cold rinse. If the linens are labeled “colorfast” bleach may be used, which brightens the colors. Fabric softeners are not recommended because they decrease absorbency and impart a fragrance that can interfere with your dining pleasure.

How to Dry
Line drying linens is ideal, leaving linens nearly wrinkle-free and smelling fresh, but using your dryer with the proper settings will bring about satisfactory results, leaving linens relatively wrinkle-free and soft.

Do not over-dry your linens by using a dryer setting that is too hot. Set your dryer on permanent press, which has a cool-down cycle at the end that helps reduce wrinkles. Most dryers have an air cycle that simply tumbles its contents without any heat. This is also a good method for drying linens

Remove your linens promptly to reduce wrinkling. Smooth them out, finger pressing details like flanges on pillow shams, borders on flat sheets, edges of tablecloths or napkins. Then fold carefully.

How to Iron
Washing and drying your linens properly will eliminate many wrinkles. But fine linens made of natural fibers do wrinkle, particularly when new. As they become older and softer, you will find that they wrinkle less.

For both bedding and table linens, using a good steam iron will make ironing easier. Avoid using spray starch, which has a tendency to adhere to the surface of the iron, and may also attract silverfish to the stored linens. If you wish to iron your linens, the following guidelines are recommended.

Bedding: Iron your bed linens while they are still damp. If the piece is embroidered, ironing on the reverse side will prevent damage to the embroidery. Refer to the sewn-in label with the universal symbols for the appropriate setting for your iron. (The symbol chart is included at the end of this section.)

Table Linens: Table lines should be ironed while damp. Ironing Jacquard-woven table linens will enhance the pattern by increasing the three-dimensional appearance inherent in the Jacquard-woven technique.

Storing Linens
If you plan on storing your linens, iron them before you store them.

Store linens flat. If shelves are wooden, line them with tissue paper; some woods, such as cedar, contain oils that can damage linens.

Make certain that linens are not exposed to direct sunlight or moonlight to avoid color fading.

Do not leave table linens on your table where they may be exposed to direct sunlight over an extended period of time.

Care of Down Products
Always use a duvet cover to protect your duvet and keep the duvet cover clean. Use pillow protectors on down pillows and wash the protectors regularly. A feather bed cover over a feather bed is strongly recommended.

Duvets, pillows and feather beds should be fluffed daily to maintain the loft and fullness of down.

If soiled or stained, duvets and pillows can be spot cleaned with a damp cloth and mild soap

If feather beds or silk-filled duvets become soiled they should be dry cleaned.

For cleaning down duvets and pillows, we recommend a professional, specialized laundry service. We have this information and prepaid shipping labels available in the store.

Laundering rejuvenates the lofting quality of down making duvets and pillows full, fluffier and fresh smelling.

You may wash down items in a front-loading, extra-capacity washer (the kind used by professional laundries) using a mild detergent in warm water. Do not use top-loading washing machines because the agitation may damage the delicate cotton cover. Some modest shrinkage or wrinkling may result from washing, but will not be visible once the duvet is in a duvet cover.

Down comforters and pillows love drying in the sun. Spread them out on a sheet on the grass or deck, and shake them vigorously from time to time while drying. Or, you may tumble dry in a dryer set on medium heat. Remove every hour and fluff. Placing a few tennis balls in the dryer will facilitate the drying. Be certain your down duvets and pillows are thoroughly dry before returning them to the bed or storage. Always store in cotton bags, never in plastic.

BACK TO THE TOP


UNIVERSAL LAUNDERING SYMBOLS
Those hieroglyphics on the label actually mean something.

The following chart defines the symbols you will find on the sewn in labels on many items. Please refer to the tag before laundering.

 

The 2 indicates a normal wash cycle; the 60 means the item should be washed at 60 degrees C, or 140 degrees F.
 
 
The 6 indicates a gentle cycle at 40 degrees C or 104 degrees F.
The triangle with X means no chlorine bleach. Without the X, bleach may be used.
 
 
The iron indicates that the item may be pressed. Three dots indicates a very hot iron; 210 degrees C, 410 degrees F. Two dots indicates a hot iron; 160 degrees C, 320 degrees F. One dot indicates a warm iron for touch-ups; 120 degrees C, 248 degrees F.
The encircled P means all dry cleaning solvents may be used.
 
 
Indicates article may be line dried

BACK TO THE TOP


STAIN REMOVAL
Helpful hints for saving that beautiful sheet or table cloth.

Berries and Fruit
If the stain is still wet, sprinkle with salt and gentle liquid soap. Let sit for a couple of hours and rinse well. If the stain is dry, a solution of borax (one part borax to six parts water) may remove the stain. Soak until it has disappeared.

Blood
Attend to bloodstains immediately. Rinse well in cold water (never hot water - it will permanently set the stain), then try one of the following: A) sprinkle the stain with unflavored meat tenderizer; or B) blot on hydrogen peroxide with a damp cloth, allow the peroxide to bubble, then wipe with a fresh cloth. Repeat if necessary. For dried bloodstains: soak overnight in a solution of cold water and two cups of salt. Wash as usual.

Butter or Margarine
Mix one teaspoon of detergent with warm water. Apply to spot and blot. You may need to repeat a few times. Or mix one part white vinegar and two parts water. Saturate the stain and blot until dry. Wash as usual.

Candle Wax on Table Linen
Gently peel away the wax that can be easily removed with your fingernail. (If the wax is soft, harden with an ice cube.) Then place the item between two sheets of brown paper and press with a warm iron; the remaining wax will be absorbed by the paper. If the wax was colored and left a stain, wash with a bleaching agent.

Coffee or Tea
Apply a borax solution (one part borax to six parts water) directly to the stain, then wash in warm soapy water.

Grease
Do not allow grease stains to set! Sprinkle fresh grease with baking soda or cornstarch and leave for a couple hours until the powder gets thick. Scrape away and repeat the process. Brush off the powder and launder as usual.

Grass
Mix one-third cup vinegar and two-thirds cup water. Apply to stain and blot. Or pre-soak in hydrogen peroxide. Launder as usual.

Lipstick
Scrape off as much as you can with a dull knife. Use a prewash spray and rub with a clean white towel. Wash as usual.

Mildew
Apply white vinegar and lemon juice to kill the mildew. Let the item dry in the sun for a few hours. Wash as usual, but separately

Scorch Marks
Treat the same way as mildew, but drying in the sun is not necessary.

Wine
White wine is easily removed with normal laundering. Red wine stains can be handled two ways: A) sprinkle salt on the stain, and soak in cold water; if the stain is stubborn, rub the salt into it to remove; or B) saturate the stain with club soda until it disappears.

BACK TO THE TOP