safely cleaning vintage white

Discussion in 'Cleaning and Organizing' started by wyld thang, Sep 7, 2012.

  1. wyld thang

    wyld thang God Smacked Jesus Freak Supporter

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    I have several white cotton pillowcases--the old embroidered stuff, a lot of which is good grief 60-70 years old--that I stupidly washed a few times in my rusty well water(not there anymore, on city water now). There is that dingyness I can't get out yet--don't want to bleach the heck out of them. SO any tipes to get them nice and white again? Or just use dim lightbuls in the bedroom ha!???
     
  2. Helena

    Helena Well-Known Member

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    I would use a small amount of bleach unless it would take the color out of the colors. Also, isn't there dry cholorx powder for colored clothes that you can buy?? I would use that on the whites..if it is safe for colors it should be OK..Good Luck !! Don't put them in the dryer either..
     

  3. laurafergie

    laurafergie Well-Known Member

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    I just went through this with my aunt's linens, some older than yours. I used oxyclean, tide mixture and let soak and soak. Some took up to a week. I did change the water every other day. Then I washed on the handwash cycle and hung to dry. White as could be.
     
  4. wyld thang

    wyld thang God Smacked Jesus Freak Supporter

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    thank you! I was wondering if sunlight would help bleach(turn inside out?) thank you very much!
     
  5. laurafergie

    laurafergie Well-Known Member

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    Sunlight will help bleach, but I never depend on it...as it can take awhile.
     
  6. OverYonder

    OverYonder Member

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    Have you tried Bluing? I think the brand is Mrs. Stewart's. Haven't used it in years, but I remember using it on some vintage lace years ago.
     
  7. Wildfire_Jewel

    Wildfire_Jewel Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Biz all fabric bleach - If the fabric can handle hot, I dissolve the Biz and add the fabric. If it needs to be cold, I just dissolve it in the hot and let it cool before adding the fabric. I leave it to soak for 24-48 hours and then rinse and wash by hand (or machine if you have a hand wash cycle). I then hang on the line for however long it takes to get them white again. It took a week and a half this summer for one of my vintage pieces of fabric I managed to save :)
     
  8. RedDirt Cowgirl

    RedDirt Cowgirl Well-Known Member Supporter

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    If it really is rust, and in your case, treat for that first before going on to other stain remedies.

    Here's a link that talks about using lemon juice or amonia. How to Remove Rust Stains

    From my experience with rusty-red soil stains on fabric though, there's not much besides gradual fading with repeated regular washing to look forward to.
     
  9. TenBusyBees

    TenBusyBees Well-Known Member

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    I was just sitting here wondering if they still made Mrs. Stewart's. My great-grandmother swore by it. She always had pristine whites.

    I would be concerned using bleach as it might fade the needlework. I would probably try soaking in a vinegar/water mixture, launder as usual, and then a bit of natural bleaching from the sun.
     
  10. OverYonder

    OverYonder Member

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    Oh, yeah. They still make it. You can get it at Kroger here in Tennessee. I'm pretty sure I've seen it in WalMart as well.
     
  11. ELOCN

    ELOCN Well-Known Member

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    Chlorine bleach gets stuff really white BUT it is so harsh it eats up the fibers. I would soak these things in a bucket of hot water and BIZ. Soak for a week or so, change the water and add new BIZ and soak some more. Good luck.
     
  12. DarleneJ

    DarleneJ Well-Known Member

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    Like Bee suggested, I would try the white vinegar. Fill the washer with warm water, add a cup or two to your load and let it soak before washing. If there are really bad rust stains apply vinegar full strength or place a sliced lemon on it. Allow them to break down the rust then put a little dawn dishwashing liquid on the stain and brush with an old toothbrush to try to lift the rust out. It may take more than one treatment.

    Bluing does add whiteness and won't be hard to find, however, you need to get rid of the rust first.
     
  13. Woodpecker

    Woodpecker In Remembrance

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    If you can't find it near you Lehman's sells it too.

    Wyld Thang please let us know how it turns out as I have the same problem.
     
  14. backwoods

    backwoods Well-Known Member

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    I saw on a tv show where during the Victorian era, they saved urine to soak clothes in, as the ammonia kept their whites very white and removed stains. I'm not suggesting you do this, however it seems an ammonia soak might work as well? Has anyone tried this?
     
  15. amylou62

    amylou62 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    My mom used to wash and then lay the item outside on the green grass to dry. She always said it was the grass and sunshine that whitened it.
     
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  16. Bret

    Bret Well-Known Member Supporter

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    When you have tried everything else, you can always install black light bulbs. We have some of those pillowcases. If they could pillow talk...
     
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