Every Customer Asks Me The Same Question...
Updated: Apr 15
How do you get your vintage linens so beautiful?
Originally published on Blogger 31AUG17
Forget everything your Grandmother told you. Don't boil them, don't lay them on the grass to dry, don't use milk, Fels Naptha, ammonia- forget all those mad scientist concoctions.
Here's the MODERN way to deal with old icky linens. (Disclaimer- silk, wool and severely damaged linens need specialized care- don't do this, call a pro)
If they're really stinky and stained, soak them in hot water for up to an hour and rinse, rinse, rinse. The water will be discolored and smelly. Better to rinse out as much of the old smell and stain before going on to the next step...
Fill a plastic bucket or laundry tub- whatever large vessel you can muster- with HOT water, right out of the water heater. While it's filling, add OXI CLEAN according to instructions on the container. Leave enough head space to add the piece you wish to soak. Put the linens in the soak solution.
3. Stir occasionally, maybe every few hours. Let soak for minimum 6 hours. All day or overnight is perfect.
4. Dump the whole bucket or drain the water and marvel at how beautiful your linens are!!
5. Rinse, rinse, rinse.
6. Wash it in the washing machine (yes that's what I said, the washing machine). Use the delicate or hand wash cycle.
7. Dry in the dryer OR on the clothesline, your choice. Dryer may be abrasive to embroidery or linens in poor condition. DON'T OVER DRY- take out when slightly damp and press from the back is the best case scenario. NO DRYER SHEETS- they leave an oily finish.
8. Yes, you have to iron- either now or later, pick one. Linen fabric presses best when damp so, if your fabric is linen and it has dried to a mass of wrinkles, spritz it with water and press while damp or wet. Linen is stronger when wet, cotton is not so, be careful. Test the temperature of your iron and be careful not to fry or scorch the fabric.
So, that's the Readers Digest version. There are LOTS of variations on this theme but, you get the basic idea. I Do this for every single item that goes into my store, on the website and listed on Ebay, Etsy or Facebook. There's more to this story, though. Even though you love old linens and save/ use/ collect them, this process may not appeal to you.
Here I come to save the day!
Linen Cottage (that's me) repairs, cleans and restores antique and vintage linens, some apparel and occasionally old quilts. If you would like me to do this for you, just send me a picture and tell me what you have in mind, I'll reply with my best advice and a quote. Also- don't answer yet- I manufacture and sell ARCHIVAL QUALITY linen and quilt storage sleeves for the best possible way to preserve your precious heirlooms. You can find them here: https://www.linencottage.com/care-conservation
So there you have it- my deepest, darkest secrets revealed. Hope to see you soon.
Stay Vintage My Friend,