How should I clean antique linen and lace?

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  • River River on Sep 18, 2018

    I put linen in a sink of water with Woolite. If it has yellowed, also put in icy clean powder and let soak for 4 hours.. With latter or Nitrate long gloves on, agitate linen and lace gently. (Grab material in center and move your hand to the left and then to right- back and forth several times. Also pull material up above water and place back into water. Do this a few times. Let water out of sink. Put stopper back into drain and fill with warm water. Repeat agitation. Henley hand wash material. Repeat until linen and lace are clean. Hang in Bathtub to dry or outside. I use plastic skirt hangers to clip material on and hang in an area where water can drip out. Dryer is too harsh for antiques.


    Happy Linen and Lace Washing !

    • See 1 previous
    • River River on Sep 18, 2018

      Yes, OxiClean. Laytex or Nitrate long gloves, and lastly only hand wash antique lace and linen. I would not use lemon juice as this will weaken fabric also, antiques need gentle loving care. If material is too large for a sink, by all means use a tub. If you set jets in low, it should be fine. Sorry about the auto correct-LOL

  • Mogie Mogie on Sep 18, 2018
    Basic Washing

    Heavily soiled linens may require soaking in plain water to loosen dirt before soaping them up. Check the item after 15 to 20 minutes, and soak it longer if needed.


    After the pre-soak, transfer the item to a sink filled with soapy water and delicately manipulate by hand to get it clean. Use phosphate-free soaps made for delicate fabrics if possible, and rinse thoroughly with cool, clear water.


    If the garment has yellowed, you may want try soaking it in cool water using a product like OxiClean.



    Removing Stains

    After using your old linens, like napkins and tablecloths, always clean them right away so stains will be less likely to set in. When you find an old item that is already stained, keep in mind that it may never come clean as hard as you may try to get that spot out.


    If you want to give bleaching a go, stick to non-chlorine options on the market and hand wash. Never use bleach on a linen with colored embellishments such as embroidery or crocheted lace. And remember that bleach further weakens fibers, so only use it when absolutely necessary. You can also try soaking the piece in a textile enzyme cleaner.


    Some antique linen fans swear by the old-fashioned method of using fresh lemon juice and salt directly on a stain, and then letting the linens dry directly on the grass out in the sunshine. If you give this a shot, rinse the textile out with cool water after it dries, and let dry again before pressing it.

  • Lin Bjorkstedt Lin Bjorkstedt on Sep 18, 2018

    Thanks for the info !!!

    Question: would using a whirlpool tub traumatize the fabrics 🤤😁❓

  • Michelle Michelle on Sep 19, 2018

    I have also found a product called Soilove (available through Amazon) does a great job on old stains. Use as a pretreatment and soak in Oxiclean

  • Bren Did Bren Did on Sep 28, 2018

    If it is white then a soak in hydrogen peroxide is very gentle and a natural brightener/bleach. You can lay in the sun for extra bleaching.

  • Vimarhonor Vimarhonor on Oct 02, 2018

    Hello Lin,


    Soilove or Whink has worded wonders on my delicate linens.

  • Marylou Wood Marylou Wood on Oct 02, 2018

    By hand. With a very mild soap. I have used baking soda and peroxide to remove stains. And used bluing in the rinse water if the item is white