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RE: Removing yellow and old food stains from embroidered linens (Follow-Up #6)

posted by: franksmom_2010 on 01.20.2011 at 01:55 am in Antiques & Collectibles Forum

You can buy Biz liquid, but it's harder to find and more expensive. I like it better than Oxyclean, simply because it smells better.

Yes, Ivory dish soap, or Ultra Ivory is very, very mild. The pH is around 7.4. Probably not quite as good (or as expensive) as Orvis paste, but definitely more gentle on old fragile linens than regular laundry detergent. Regular detergent contains enzymes, sudsing agents, optical brighteners, excessive fragrance, colorants, etc. etc. All well and good for your underpants and jeans, but not so great for vintage textiles.

If the linens were mine, I would first check for colorfastness, then wash with Ivory or whatever mild soap you chose. If it's still stained, give it a soak for a few days in Biz or Oxy, changing the water when it gets dirty. If the stain remained after that, I'd lay it (damp) face down in the sun. This is a very old method of stain removal called "crofting." Check it frequently to make sure that it's staying damp, that the stain is disappearing, and that any colored areas aren't fading.

Always wash gently by hand, no rubbing or twisting the fabric, rinse until the water is perfectly clear, and lay flat to dry. Never use chlorine bleach.

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clipped on: 02.09.2013 at 11:32 am    last updated on: 02.09.2013 at 11:32 am