Welcome to Throw Back Thursday! I’ve shared this product before but I used it again this week and it is a miracle worker! Ever wonder how to clean vintage linen? This is a must have!
I love to collect vintage handkerchiefs. My Aunt Dottie got me started last year when she gave my sisters and I a vintage hankie along with a note after our niece passed away. The card was hand made with a scripture about Jesus, when he wept. (From the Gospel of John, Chapter 11:35) She included in each card a beautiful vintage handkerchief to dry our tears. It was such a sweet and thoughtful gesture and I wanted to start doing this for my family and friends during their time of grief. Doesn’t it seem like people are passing away everywhere we turn? This is the original card and handkerchief.
I bought this lot of hankies on eBay. I love how most of them are hand crocheted or embroidered. It makes me wonder about the people that made them. Such skill and pride in their work even on such a small thing as a handkerchief.
Now each time I go antique shopping I look for vintage handkerchiefs. Sometimes they are in mint condition, but more often than not they have a small spot or stain. I try to look them over carefully before I buy them, but sometimes they are sold in lots so it’s hard to inspect each one. Usually they are fairly inexpensive so it’s worth a shot to try to clean them. My sweet sister bought this lot of vintage hankies for me at an auction for a few dollars. Clearly they need a little TLC.
Because the fabric on vintage handkerchiefs is old and delicate, you don’t want to use harsh chemicals like bleach. So, after some research, I found this product online called Retro-Clean. It is safe to use on lace, linens, quilts, clothing, tablecloths, napkins, etc. You simply dissolve 3-4 tablespoons of the Retro Clean in a large container with warm water. Then, set it outside in the sun in order to help keep the water warm and speed up the cleaning process.
I soaked my handkerchiefs over night then the following day I washed them in my favorite linen wash by Yves Delorme. The same company that makes Retro Clean also makes a Retro Wash, but since I already had the linen wash detergent, I used what I had. It’s made especially for delicates so it was perfect!
I tossed them in the dryer with my favorite dryer sachet so they would smell extra nice. All of the stains came completely out of all but 2 of the hankies. It looked like ink stains and those are tricky. I ended up tossing those out. Also one of them had a small hole, so I just won’t give that one away.
After the handkerchiefs were dry I ironed them on the high linen setting with steam. I also used spray starch to help smooth out the wrinkles and give them a crisp new look. My favorite starch is by Niagara. It’s non aerosol which I like. I forgot how therapeutic ironing can be. I actually enjoyed it! (Plus it didn’t take very long.)
See how pretty they turned out? I love the one with the parakeet. (I had a blue parakeet name Cleo growing up so I’m keeping this one.)
I found these men’s handkerchiefs at a consignment store. It was a pack of 3 brand new hankies for $2. And they have the letter B on them which is perfect. My maiden name and married name starts with a B so either family can use them. (At the wedding perhaps?) I washed them along with the vintage hankies and ironed them.
They turned out nicely! Right?
Isn’t it funny how seldom we see people using real handkerchiefs these days? My Dad is the only person I know that still carries one in his pocket every day. I’ll make sure he gets one with a B on it! This one is for you, Dad.
If you have some hankies sitting in a drawer somewhere, get them out, clean them up and use them! Now I carry one in my purse. It reminds me of my Dad. You never know when you or someone else will need one!
Thank you for stopping by! I hope you have a lovely, lovely day! (and hopefully no need for a hankie.) xoxo Dell