Asked on Jun 10, 2015

Brown marks on vintage antique hankies

by Linda
I have found a forgotten box of 45 antique vintage hankies. Most have exquisite hand stitching and are beautiful but they have brown rust-like spots on the from being stored so many years. Are they worth more left as is or should I try to clean them and if so with what?
  12 answers
  • Diane clark Diane clark on Jun 10, 2015
    Soak them in solution of a couple of gallons of water plus 1/3 cup oxyclean and 1/3 cup biz detergent for as long as it takes to remove stains. I use 5 gallon bucket and change solution when it becomes dingy but I have soaked vintage linens for several weeks. Only time I had problems was once when red embroidery thread faded onto fabric. This will bring aged brown antique linen back to white, brightens pastels, and often will remove food and spit up stains from stored baby cloths.
    • Linda Linda on Jun 10, 2015
      @Diane clark Thanks! I will try it. Warm water or hot water?
  • Me Me on Jun 11, 2015
    dissolve 2 tablespoons of powder-type dishwasher detergent in hat water, and then fill a basin with cool water and add the hot part. Let the hankies soak overnight. Then rinse in cool water till clean.
  • Lillian Santana Lillian Santana on Jun 11, 2015
    If they don't have to be white, what about "tea" dying? Then maybe the brown stains would look like part of the design?
  • Lee Lee on Jun 11, 2015
    hydrogen proxicide…?
  • Cynthia Tyler Cynthia Tyler on Jun 11, 2015
    Hydrogen peroxide! Very cheap - environmentally - I think it's safe. Start with half water/half hydro per...use full strength if necessary. OxySpray is also fabulous. Mfr by Clorox, by no bleach, pleasant scent - almost entirely HydroPer. Works on almost EVERYTHING! You could also do a sample try of hair dye remover, available from beauty supply stores, like Sally Beauty Supply.
    • Linda Linda on Jun 11, 2015
      @Cynthia Tyler Oh my so many good suggestions and I don't know which to try first. Some are so delicate, I am afraid.
  • ShirleyB ShirleyB on Jun 15, 2015
    Fresh Lemon juice and sun light to bleach... Then gently wash with gentle soap, or just rinse the lemon juice out. Did this when I scorched my dads baptismal gown getting ready to use it for my son'sbaptism.
  • Gabrielle Falk Gabrielle Falk on Jun 15, 2015
    I've heard that the powder mixture to clean dentures can be quite effective in cleaning. I would always try a small piece of one of the hankies first, just to make sure that whatever you use, doesn't harm the fabric. I think with 'tea' dying, even tho' the result would be a darker coloured handkerchief, the spots would still be visible. Do you have a friendly dry-cleaner? They maybe able to give you advice. Cheers, from Sydney.
    • Linda Linda on Jun 15, 2015
      @Gabrielle Falk and Shirley B, Thank you for the suggestions. I have a lot of hankies and can try a lot of suggestions. Shirley I am not sure the sun will ever shine here in Indiana again. We are stuck in a rain pattern that won't quit. Wish I could share with your state.
  • Patricia Hoffer Patricia Hoffer on Jun 16, 2015
    I have soaked vintage white baby clothes (very fine and delicate) in the denture cleaning tablets. Add two to a gallon or so of tepid water and let material set over night. If staining is still visible, continue to let set even for several days. The white is brilliant and even if the stain is not completely gone it is very faint.
    • MsCaliLady MsCaliLady on Mar 03, 2016
      Never thought of tablets. Hadalwaysheard about the old powders. Thanks can't wait to try on some things I have been saving!
  • Cynthia Tyler Cynthia Tyler on Jun 17, 2015
    Oh yeah! Denture tablets! You might also try 20 Mule Team borax and warm water. Let soak overnight, with an occasional gentle stir.
  • Grandma 7 Times Grandma 7 Times on Jun 26, 2015
    I soaked my mother's Sunday handkerchiefs in mild dishwashing liquid, rinsed twice and did swished them gently. I air dried them, ironed them,folded them particularly, and put them into a frame. I thought you might enjoy the finished product.
  • Mogie Mogie on Oct 11, 2022

    You could make a homemade Oxyclean using hydropgen perxiode and baking soda.