Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Cleaning Vintage Linens

I know a lot of people get especially nervous when you talk about cleaning vintage linens and yes, sometimes you do have to be cautious.  However, if you know what your fabric is, it makes it a lot simpler.  So, I wanted to impart a tip on cleaning vintage cotton since most of us are handed down pillowcases, quilts, and towels and we actually want to make use of these treasures and incorporate them in our daily lives.

The fantastic thing about old cottons is that they were made to last; most items, like large quilts, can take a quick tumble in the washing machine on delicate.  It's preferable to line dry these items, but if you must place in the dryer I would leave out the fabric softener and then use a hot iron.   For small pieces, you may want to opt for hand-washing.  I use a 1/4 cup sea salt or kosher salt to every hot gallon of water.  Soak up to 48 hours, occasionally swishing the fabric about and then line dry and iron on hot  for best results.  Not all stains will come out, especially rust, but you will see a marked improvement over yellowing and linens will be soft...ready for you to enjoy for years to come!

***This vintage pillowcase set pictured, is available in my Etsy shop and was cleaned in the "salt" method.  A great find for the collector or anyone with an interest to begin collecting vintage linens.

--Lisa LeBlanc

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