I have had several emails and comments wanting instructions on cleaning vintage linens and quilts. Because if that, I am going to repost and update my original post on cleaning vintage linens here today.
I have cleaned hundreds of linens using this method and I'd say 90% of the time, they turn out good as new. There have unfortunately been a few times when I have damaged some of the original cloth in old dresser scarves due to the fact that the piece had been folded for so many years that the fabrics were just too fragile at the fold lines and I did not realize that in time.
I did not trash these, as the work is still wonderful, I use these "accidental" pieces to maybe re-purpose them in the future. I'd say that this type of thing has happened maybe less than 5% of the time. So please, take what I have to share with you here and just be aware nothing is ever 100%.....but this is darn near!
You will need: White Vinegar, Biz and Oxi-clean. (sometimes, I have a hard time finding the Biz, and have to check several stores to find it. My local grocer will order this if I ask, so keep that in mind if you have a hard time finding it near you.)
You will use:
Per gallon of water
1 scoop of Oxi-clean
1 scoop of Biz (Use the Oxi-clean scoop, not the scoop in the Biz) If you are mixing up 4 gallons of water, like I did here, you will need to use this recipe times 4 for it to be the correct mixture:
4 gallons of water
4 scoops of Oxi-Clean
4 scoops of Biz - using the Oxi-Clean scoop
In my original post, I was heating the water on the stove so it was very warm. I still do that if I am cleaning mostly WHITE linens. I do not boil the water, I just heat it till it is hotter than from the tap. If I have several colored pieces, I just use the hot tap water. You can do this in the sink as well. Here I have them in a bucket.
For quilts......I run almost luke warm...NOT HOT water in the bathtub. Due to the colors in the quilts, I never use hot water. I add the soaps and usually mix it up times 5 for a half tub of water. (Pay no attention to the dirty tub....it was going to be cleaned, but decided to soak this quilt first...then clean) Yes, I sometimes have a dirty tub, with a son who works in a messy job some weeks, I don't get to it too quick.....just keepin it truthful!
And as always, I love to hang all my vintage quilts and linens out in the sun to dry. HERE is another quilt once it was cleaned. See the pretty white blocks? They were as yellow as yellow could be, it looked like the blocks were a sand color. Now, back to the original bright colors. This particular quilt once it was washed pulled a bit where the binding was sewn onto the quilt. I just restitched it by hand and it was as good as new. I have never had that happen with any other quilt, just this one and it was easily repaired. Once your quilt is dry, you can toss it in the dryer for a quick fluffing.
I hope that answers any questions you may have. If a piece has rust spots, this solution does not take the rust spots out...only the discolored yellow and most stains other than rust. There are rust removers you can purchase and I have been told that works well, but I have not tried it. For me, if I can get the piece back to the original white and bright colors, that is enough for me.
Good luck with this, and if you are as nervous and I was when I started using this solution, just start out with a small piece and work your way up to something larger, that is what I did. After I discovered I was not going to ruin my treasures, I tackled a quilt and it worked wonderfully.
I guess you could say, I have a great love for vintage linens, but have a hard time bringing them home without cleaning them up right away. And when the process is as easy as this one....that makes it all the better!
I am linking in today with Smiling Sally, for Blue Monday...as I think it qualifies...lots of BLUE in this post!