When it comes to competence in household matters, laundry ranks very near the bottom of my personal list. Clean laundry rarely makes it into my bedroom dresser; my longsuffering husband and I pick it out of overflowing baskets in the guest room. But there is one sort of thing that always (always) gets folded immediately upon its removal from the dryer: Cloth napkins. And there is a very good reason for this — also stemming from my loathing of laundry.
See, if you fold napkins promptly, still warm from the dryer, and smooth them down hard, they really don't need to be ironed. And it there is one thing I loathe even more than folding laundry, it's ironing.
I have switched pretty much entirely to using cloth napkins at the table, and I love the look and feel (not to mention reusability) of using a substantial cloth napkin instead of a flimsy paper one. But I hesitated for a long time on making this shift, because I assumed I would be living with ultra-wrinkly napkins all the time. And ironing was an option reserved only for the most special of times. (Actually, I take that back — last Thanksgiving I sent them out to be cleaned. I truly hate ironing.)
But as long as I take them out of the dryer immediately and fold them smooth, my napkins are acceptably non-wrinkled, at least for my taste. It's a small tip, but it's the one that put me over the edge of using cloth napkins full-time!
Do you have any other good tips for making cloth napkins look better or last longer?
Related: David Lebovitz on French Napkins
(Images: Faith Durand)