How do I clean hankies and Hand made doilies that have water damage?


I have over a dozen hankies and hand made doilies over 100 years old that have water damage. How do I clean them? They belonged to my great great grandmother.

  17 answers
  • on May 30, 2021

    I would take them to a professional dry cleaner and see what they can do. Take a couple at first and make sure you like the result. You can replace these treasures so you can’t be too cautious! :)

  • Cheryl A Cheryl A on May 30, 2021

    here is info for you

  • Redcatcec Redcatcec on May 30, 2021

    In this link, they used Oxyclean and boiling water, I am not sure how well your hankies would hold up with water at that temperature, but then consider they cleaned clothes way back when with boiling water. See the before and afters with their method, take a look:

  • Maura White Maura White on May 30, 2021

    I would hand wash them with a little bit of oxiclean powder.

  • Em Em on May 30, 2021

    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 to try soaking it in cool water using a product like OxiClean.

  • Libbie B Libbie B on May 30, 2021

    Oxiclean should do the trick, but I would use a toothbrush to apply and be careful around the appliques.

  • Janice Janice on May 30, 2021

    Hi Melanie, I have been very impressed with Oxi-Clean. I've purchased the granular type and mixed it with water and itt has worked well on many of my old stained items. Just soak well with the items submerged in the water and Oxiclean. Good luck!

  • I know that quilters sometimes use something called Orvus Quilt Soap on vintage or heirloom cloths. You can get it on a variety of sites, but here is a link to JoAnne's where it has some reviews you can read to see if it might be helpful.

  • Dee Dee on May 30, 2021

    I have doilies that are approximately 100 years old too. I have soaked them in hot water and Oxiclean. I have also dyed them with Rit dye so that I have red, white, blue, green, and orange for different holidays. To dye them, use Rit, salt and hot water. As little water as possible. Put in a bucket and let sit for about 5 days, then rinse and hang to dry

  • Cynthia H Cynthia H on May 31, 2021

    Hi! I have all kinds of vintage and antique doilies. I soak them overnight in a dishpan filled with hot water and Oxiclean. It also removes musty smells. Then I hand wash and rinse them and air dry them on a drying rack. Sometimes I have had to soak them more than once, but, the over night trick usually works. Good luck!

  • Lindsay Aratari Lindsay Aratari on May 31, 2021

    agree with the above! Hot water and oxiclean!

  • I personally would take them to a professional cleaner as I'd be upset if I accidentally ruined them.

  • Mogie Mogie on Jun 01, 2021

    Do not use chlorine bleach. It will eat the fabric. Soak in regular Tide laundry detergent and vinegar for about an hour. If you are soaking one doily I would use about 1/8 cup Tide and 2 tablespoons vinegar

  • Johnavallance82 Johnavallance82 on Jun 02, 2021

    Hi, Steep them in a Biological washing powder and water overnight, and then wash.

  • I would personally agree with using oxiclean and hot water. Already tried it and been happy with the results.

  • Betsy Betsy on Jun 03, 2021

    Hi Melanie: Perhaps this site has something in here that you can use:

    Good luck

  • Deb K Deb K on Jun 12, 2021

    Hello Melanie, hope this helps you out

    Cleaning vintage linens poses a problem. You want to keep them as white as possible, but using harsh bleach and soap can damage the fibers. For a gentle yet effective cleaning, soak your tablecloths, napkins and runners in warm water for 15 minutes. Next, add some mild, phosphate-free soap to your water and swish your linens around. Thoroughly rinse, lay them out to air dry, and Grandma’s table linens will look better than they have in years.

    Bleach your linens naturally

    Nobody wants to put splotchy, stained napkins on their dining room table, but submerging Grandma’s napkins in bleach will do more harm than good. Believe it or not, your kitchen has everything you need to brighten them. Start by rubbing lemon juice and salt on your linens and hang them outside to air dry. Once dry, rinse them with warm, clean water and air dry one more time. Your linens won’t look new new, but they’ll be whiter than before.

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