Caring for your Linen Altar Cloths & Sacred Linens

Caring for your Linen Altar Cloths & Sacred Linens


100% linen will continue to shrink and degrade quite quickly if not laundered properly. 

Hand washing is highly recommended and to be used whenever possible.  If the cloth has only a few spots that need to be cleaned, one may just spot clean the needed areas. 

Stains should be treated individually and as quickly as possible.  Immediately treat a stain by using Oxi-Clean, Shout or Spray-N-Wash or something similar.  Lay your cloth on a clean towel, and with a washcloth, rub it gently and briefly so as to not rub a hole in the fabric.  Rinse it well to remove all of the stain remover.  Put it between dry towels or washcloths to absorb the excess moisture.  DO NOT ring the linen.  If it is still too wet, do not iron it because it will scorch easily.  Or if the stain is not completely removed, treat it again BEFORE ironing it, as heat sets stains. 

When the entire cloth needs to be laundered, hand washing is still preferable; however, a machine without an agitator can be used.  Use only the most delicate cycle.

Use a mild detergent.  Avoid strong detergents, especially concentrated forms or ones with optical whiteners, bleach, or alkalis.  Absolutely NO bleaches. 

Hang drying is recommended, but never in direct sunlight if drying outside.

If you must use a dryer, use only the air-fluff setting.  Using a heat setting will result in continual shrinkage, and drastically decrease the life of the cloth.  Do not let it dry completely.

It is best to press the cloth while it is still damp.  If this is not possible, spray it with water as you are pressing it. 

Have towels or a large sheet on the floor to protect the cloth as you are pressing it.

Use a hot iron on the “linen” setting, with the steam turned off.  Avoid letting the iron remain on one spot to avoid scorching.  Move the iron in a constant gentle motion.  If it should get scorched, stop, and treat the spot immediately.


Rubrics state that there must be three layers of linen cloths on the altar.  The top cloth is made from a heavier weight linen and hangs down both sides ending approximately one inch up from the floor.  The bottom two cloths are made from a lighter weight linen and cover only the top of the altar.  The two bottom cloths may be sewn together as “one” cloth, but must be two layers.

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