Tips on Removing Stains from Delicate Vintage Clothing

I get a lot of questions about how I remove stains from my vintage clothing and I thought it's about time I wrote a post. It's pretty simple, really... but you may have never thought about it ever before. RO4za_ on Make A Gif, Animated Gifs
1. Soak your item in the bath tub with HOT water. My Mother sees me do this and she almost gets angry at me because she was brought up on the fact that you soak delicate things in cold water. I actually learned from my Costume Construction teacher that cold water sets the stains, believe it or not. She's been in the costuming business her whole life, and she knows what she's talking about. If you don't soak your old and probably sweat stained item of clothing in hot water, it won't permeate the stains as well and kill dust mites. Trust me, you will see the yellowish color of the water (or sometimes brown!) and you'll feel better about taking out the stains.
2. Use vinegar, then rinse. Many people underestimate the uses of vinegar. Vinegar can also help to remove some old stains and odors on old clothing... just make sure you rinse the item in water after you drain the tub of the 1 part vinegar and 2 parts water mixture.
3. Try Woolite. My Mother has been hand-washing clothes in Woolite for as long as I can remember. Just swish your clothing around in the tub until you feel like it permeated, then rinse with cold water.
4. Try two or three rinses. If a piece of clothing is really yellowed and stained, you will see this in your water. Don't let your piece of clothing wade in the dirty water for too long. Drain your water and start a 2nd bath. Repeat if necessary.
5. Hand Dry. Whatever you must do... DO NOT put the piece of clothing in the dryer! This will ruin it even on a delicate cycle. When you have a sopping wet piece of clothing, wring it out as best as possible, then lay it on a towel or two. If you have a drying line, drape the towel over the line, then the item. It's best to put a towel on the floor to absorb the dripping water. If you don't have a drying line, you can always lay your piece on top of a towel on the floor. Check your towel every 3 hours to replace (prevent it molding). It should dry in a day or two depending on how much bulk you have.
6. Turn it over. It's good to rotate the item on top and bottom. Allow the piece to soak thouroughly. Approximately 15-20 minutes each bath session. Swish it around but if it's hot water- use dish gloves to protect your hands.
7. Bleach. I know what you're thinking.... BLEACH?! But really, on items that are solid white or old lace.... it works wonders. Don't be afraid.... just rinse it really well with cold water. Don't let the item soak in bleach for over 5 minutes. Make sure your item is completely wet before adding the bleach into the tub of water... you will avoid uneven spots this way.
How was your Valentine's Day? I worked all day and then my Dad surprised me with these orange daisies (one of my favorite colors) and chocolate strawberries. He bought my Mom red and white carnations... just like she asked for. Haha. Naturally, I got my parents an antique Calling Card from Rebecca's Antiques... my second job. It was a good day. Not lonely at all... and it was nice :D
love, polly


Victoria Pardo said...

Amazing! Thanks a lot for the information, I'm sure it'll come really useful since I'm clumsy and I keep spilling things on my clothes all the time!

Unknown said...

hot water? No way! Mind blown. Thanks for the advice!

~ K said...

Even though I'm not a buyer of vintage clothing, I know where I will be coming for advice if I ever find something vintage and it's dirty.

Great advice!

You day sounds nice, I had a pretty simple not really celebrating day. :)

~ K

Purple said...

Thanks for the awesome advice, I've been needing to know this!

I'm glad you had a good Valentine's too <3

Gemma Roberts said...

Excellent tips, and that there sounds like a lovely Valentines : )

Gemma x
Faded Windmills

@gardengal4466 said...

I've enjoyed looking at your blog and I like your style, photography & writing voice. Thank you so much for posting these tips. I can't wait to give them a try!

Unknown said...

This is really helpful! Definitely bookmarking this for a stained vintage dress that's been hanging in my room for a year!


Unknown said...

Great tips - thanks!

Unknown said...

Thank you for providing the information. Vintage clothing are very easy to use and they are mostly used for swimming purpose. I have recently found a site underwire swimsuit which is providing this type of suits.
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