Cleaning Vintage Linens

Wanna do!!! 19 hours ago
An Antique Linen Dealer shared her secret with me, over 25 years ago, for cleaning vintage linens. This was before Oxygen cleaners and many spot treatments were readily available. I would try the newer ones first. If they do not work, this has worked for me. Please note, always test a small area first. If you are happy with the results, proceed with caution, at your own risk.
An antique linen dealer shared her secret with me, over 25 years ago, for cleaning vintage linens.The first step was soaking in Biz, a powdered detergent. I soaked this crocheted tablecloth overnight in Biz. Directions are on the box.
Since stubborn stains remained, I moved onto the next step. I brought water to a gentle boil, not rolling and added powdered Cascade. Depending on the size of your item and pot will determine the amount of product you need to add.
I used a lobster pot, so I added 1/2 cup of Cascade. I turned the eye off before I tested a tiny area to decide if I should proceed. Next, I added the entire tablecloth and stirred constantly. I used tongs to help check the stains.
If you determine that this method may work for you. Always test a tiny area first.Then, proceed with caution, at your own risk. Only you know the age, type of fabric, size and condition of your piece. Note, rinse by hand and line dry.
This worked beautifully on my tablecloth. The stains are gone. For me, this was unusable before cleaning it. It didn't respond to Oxygen cleaners or pre-treatment cleaners. I have successfully used this method for 25+years.

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  • Carol
    Carol Sierra Vista, AZ
    I have used dishwasher powder on fabrics for years. A nurse told me about it rears ago as It also removes the "gray" from nylon and only polyester fabric. Just make sure you dissolve the dishwasher detergent in very hot water before putting your fabric
  • Lori Siska
    Lori Siska Grand Rapids, MI
    This is good to know, I just inherited a boat load of vintage linens from my mother that have been in storage for years (I don't recall seeing a lot of these in my lifetime!) Thank you for the tips, can't wait to see what I can revive!
    • Betsy
      Betsy Atlanta, GA
      Lori Siska there are many great suggestions throughout the comments too. You might find one your like there too. Thanks you!
  • Mary Zeringue Wrigley
    Another solution is to make a heavy soapy paste with the regular ivory bar soap. Let it some till almost dry and rinse well. If you have rust stains put lemon juice on the stain and then rub with salt, leave on and put in sun. After stain is gone, wash
  • Gail
    Gail Lakemont, GA
    I have just inherited boxes full of vintage linens that I know some of them are more than 100 years old. Is this safe on colored needlework or will it remove the color from the colored threads as it removes the yellowing and stains?
    • Betsy
      Betsy Atlanta, GA
      Gail , I have never used this method on colored items. There are many good suggestions throughout the comment section. Maybe you can find a suggestion there.
  • Kathie taylor
    Kathie taylor Largo, FL
    I was told by professional dry cleaners...Dial soap (old yellow bar kind) and COLD water will remove any stain. Some times it requires soaking up to three days. Cascade contains bleach and a degreaser.