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Caring for Vintage Textiles - Stain Removal, Whitening & more

Treat stains promptly. Fresh stains are easier to remove than old ones.

Take non-washables to the dry cleaner ASAP.

When treating, place stained area face down on a clean paper towel or white cloth. Apply stain remover to the underside of the stain, forcing stain off the fabric surface instead of through it.

Pre-treat stains with Shout or Spray 'n Wash. I prefer using Palmolve dishwashing detergent (more pH neutral) on stains. Dab a drop on a stain and brush into fibers with a soft toothbrush.

Greasy stains, such as oil and butter, need to be covered with an absorbent, such as salt or cornstarch, then followed with a combination solvent like Shout or Spray 'n Wash.

Launder your washable fabrics in the hottest water they can bear, but always soak vintage textiles in cool water first.

NEVER soak or wash vintage textiles in a washer. Use your bathtub or a large rubbermaid storage container.

Always try and test stain removers on a hidden or less noticable part of the item for color fastness on dyed or printed fabrics. To test, apply product and let stand 2-5 minutes, then rinse. If color changes, do not use product.

NEVER dry any vintage fabrics in the dryer. In the summertime, lay fabrics on grass to sun-bleach. Clothesline drying in the sun will also whiten whites. Always layer a diaper on the clothesline to prevent new stains and double large fabrics such as tablecloths over the line instead of hanging from corners.

Use care when lifting wet linens. The weight may case unnecessary stress on the textile fibers. When soaking a delicate piece, line the container (usually my bathtub) with a layer of clean cheesecloth and use this cloth as a means of lifting the other.

Do not starch any fabric prior to storage as it will yellow fabric.

Do not fold any fabric prior to storage as it the fold marks will weaken fabric. Roll fabric and store in non-acid paper or plastic.

Want to store something you cherish? Roll fabric and place in a large glass container and seal or purchase archival tissue paper and archival storage containers.

Chlorine bleach weakens and destroys textile fibers. Chlorine bleach should ONLY be used, highly dilluted, in extreme circumstances when all other methods have failed to yeild the desired results.

ALWAYS rinse fabrics until the rinse water is clear enough that you would drink it. Residual detergent will yellow fabrics.

Resist the temptation to soak too many items at once. Add only an amount of textiles so that there is plenty of circulation in the container - Less is better and will yield better results!

Have patience; it takes a little extra time and effort to remove some stains. Remember, some stains cannot be removed.

The tips and recipes above have always worked well for me.

Recipe #1 for non-vintage whites only
In your rust free washer or bath tub add the following
1/2 to 1 cup bleach, 1 cup lemon Cascade, 1 cup vinegar, 1 cup baking soda and 1 cup sea salt. Add cool water if you have a red wine stain, otherwise add hot water, agitate or stir with long wooden or plastic spoon and stop.
Add whites, agitate and stop again.
Let soak for 24 to 72 hours then wash as normal.
For smaller batches, use the recipe above and
decrease amounts to 1 to 2 tablespoons.
For vintage whites, use recipe above and omit the bleach.
For vintage lace and very delicate items, soak in 2 cups sea salt & 1 cup vinegar to 3 gallons cool water. Soak and rinse until water is clear.
Repeat the recipe above if any staining remains.

Recipe #2 for colors (non colorfast)
In your rust free washer or bath tub add the following:
1 cup vinegar, 1 cup baking soda, 1 cup sea salt, 1 scoop Oxi Clean, 1 scoop Clorox Oxygen Action (new product) and 1/4 cup lemon Cascade. Add hottest water possible recommended by product label. (usually warm or cold) agitate or stir with long wooden or plastic spoon and stop.
Add colors, agitate and stop again.
Let soak for 24 to 72 hours then wash as normal.
For smaller batches, use the recipe above and
decrease amounts to 1 to 2 tablespoons.
Repeat the recipe above if any staining remains

Courtesy of My Granny's Attic Antiques Collectibles and Custom Gifts - www.mygrannysatticantiques.com

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