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Caring for your vintage

linens and textiles

Use and enjoy your vintage linens and textiles!  So many ways to display and appreciate vintage & antique linens.

     I hand wash all of the linens I sell, unless they retain their original paper labels or are in clean unused condition. I use Dreft or Ivory Snow on delicate pieces-and use a good old bar of Fels Napa brown soap for stains- never rubbing directly on delicate fabric- I lather it up in my hands or use shavings from the bar. .

      Less is more when you try to remove stains- if the most conservative approach does not work-- try the next type of stain removal.  Use Oxy products with caution as they can cause dye to run in older textiles- always test in a small area.  Oxy is a wonderful stain removal technique for sturdier fabrics but do use caution on dyed and delicate pieces.  NEVER use bleach- it weakens the fibers- Sun is wonderful for natural bleaching~~ lay damp pieces directly on the grass.  I also use Dawn dish washing detergent on vintage tablecloth stains-yellowing.  Chances are the stains are food stains.  Always spot test first.

     Most important is to treat a stain as soon as possible.  If something is badly stained or discolored, soaking is the key- and keep soaking. Change the water and soap frequently- ALWAYS rinse until the water runs clear.   Storage staining is easily removed with soaking- and pre-treating the stains is usually not necessary unless they are dark and set in.  When linens are stored against wood or in cedar chests they pick up the stain of the wood.

     Martha Stewart recommends using a towel under your linens in the sink, to lift them out so you don't damage the fabric from the weight of the wet linens.  I like to use a netted laundry bag which allows them to drain before hanging without wringing and damaging the fabric.  Many pieces I block laying them out on several towels- shaping them in their original form- this is best for lace and crocheted pieces.

     I rarely use the washing machine only when necessary, perhaps for bedspreads, blankets etc and many times I also hand wash many of these~If using the washing machine- Only on delicate and don't agitate a full cycle- only agitate a minute and then soak.
     Always air dry linens- and never use the dryer.  I find that racks are better to use as they do not stretch the fabric like hanging on a clothesline can.   Store vintage and antique linens using acid free tissue paper-

     I don't use starch- At times I use spray sizing to help with ironing- I LOVE my Rowenta iron.  A pleasure to iron with~ imagine that!