Good morning and happy Monday to you! We have a busy week coming up as wedding plans continue. So what does a wedding and vintage linens have in common? How to clean vintage linens….
My son and his fiancé are getting married later this year. They are planning a small Southern style wedding at a historical plantation in Virginia. We are going later this month to see the venue in person. Of course they have seen it but my husband and I haven’t. I can’t wait to get a visual! In keeping with a Southern wedding they decided to have vintage handkerchiefs on hand for their guest’s happy tears. I found several lots of them on eBay but some are not in good shape. So how do you clean vintage linens? Let’s find out!
First of all I had a few vintage handkerchiefs already. I like to send them in condolence letters to friends and family when they have lost a loved one. (My Aunt started this when we lost our niece last year. You can read more about it on my blog below under Vintage Handkerchiefs-A lost Art.) I think it is such a sweet touch. But for the wedding we wanted to give them away for happy tears.
I searched eBay for “vintage handkerchiefs lot” and bid on a few but then turned my search to buy it now. One seller said they were selling their mother’s and grandmother’s handkerchiefs. It made me a little sad they were selling family heirlooms, but I was happy to buy them for such a sweet occasion as my son’s wedding.
Most of the hankies are in pristine condition and have obviously never been used. But a few have visible stains. One in particular that I love says “Mother” so naturally I wanted to have that one. Of course it has the worst stains. It makes sense though if you think about how many tears mothers shed. If I can’t get it perfectly clean, I’ll keep that one.
I researched how best to clean vintage linens. They are very delicate and some have embroidery and lace so I didn’t want to use bleach or harsh cleaners. I found a product on Amazon called Retro Clean. It claims to “safely bring age-stained textiles back to life.” It comes in a one pound package for $14.49 and free shipping with Amazon Prime.
The directions say to soak the delicate linens in a one gallon container with 3-4 tablespoons of the cleaner in warm water for 48 hours. It also suggests putting it out in the sun to further enhance the cleaning process. It claims to remove stains related to mildew, water stains, coffee, blood, oil, tobacco and I’m assuming tears & mascara. So here we go! I’ve mixed 4 tablespoons of the Retro Clean detergent with one gallon of warm water and submerged the stained hankies. I’ll put them outside on the table for 48 hours as suggested. Luckily it is sunny for the next few days!
I’m only testing the cleaner on a few handkerchiefs first then I will clean the others if it works well. My son and his fiancé want the hankies all to be white or cream colored so I need to find a few more. I bid on some yesterday with the letter B on them. My maiden and married name starts with a B so both of our families can use them! I’ll keep you posted and let you know how well it works. I’m hoping I’m onto something! I have some baby clothes that belonged to my husband and me and I’d like to clean them with this same detergent. It sounds like it is safe for all delicates.
I hope you have a terrific day! Please feel free to comment or share your stories or how-to’s with me! Thank you for stopping by! xoxo Dell