Removing embroidery stencil ink

Donna M
by Donna M
I cut up an old linen tablecloth into guest towel size pieces. The cloth was stenciled with an embroidery pattern. I do not do hand embroidery so thought using it for something else was a great idea. It is not new, many years old but in perfect condition. But now I cannot seem to get the ink off the fabric. I have tried just washing it with laundry soap, soaking it in vinegar and water, and even tried bleach and water bath. It has not been put in the dryer. I am out of ideas.
  5 answers
  • Douglas Hunt Douglas Hunt on Dec 21, 2012
    I thought embroidery ink was permanent, that it was not designed to wash out. One simply embroiders over the design. So I don't think there's any way to remove it.
  • Miriam Illions Miriam Illions on Dec 22, 2012
    I'm tagging @Anna M of I'm sure she will have some suggestions.
  • Donna M Donna M on Dec 22, 2012
    Thank you Miriam.
  • Naturally Clean Naturally Clean on Dec 23, 2012
    Turn of the century (1900) or later embroidery designs were permanent. There are no treatments to remove, unless you bleach strongly several times, and that will effect the linen badly, so don't do it. Re-using an antique may require further research when fabrics, embroidery, weaving, and crochet or knitting are involved. You have the internet as a resource, use it wisely. :)
  • Elaine Elaine on Mar 17, 2016
    I know this isn't the ideal answer - as you want the ink gone - but if it's absolutely impossible to remove, Donna, instead of fighting it, can you perhaps, "embrace" (can't think of a better word!) the existing inking and add a further design yourself on top of it so it includes the old ink but is a pattern more to your liking. Just a thought, that's all!