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How to Clean Vintage Crochet Items

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By Kathie

My Laundry Question

I received crocheted white and colored doilies that are very old and many many have stains.....How do I go about removing stains from vintage crochet. Most look like they are from white and off white cotton. They also have an old musty smell. Also received linen tea towels and old aprons.

Share a Little Background Info

Have had 50-60 year old crocheted items handed down through the family. Some of the stains look like they are probably from being a headrest doily on a chair. Some look like a mild rusty colored stain. Some are stained on fold lines..... I would really like some help. Also received some linen tea towels and would like to know if I can launder them or need to dry clean.

Lessons Learned

  • Once I get them clean need to keep them protected

Fabric Content of Item (if appropriate)


Mary Marlowe Leverette, About.com Laundry & Laundry Rooms, says:

I love vintage linens and it sounds like you have a wonderful selection. All of your pieces - crochet, tea towels and aprons can be hand washed. For the stained items, mix a solution of oxygen-based bleach (OxiClean, Clorox 2, Country Save Bleach, Purex 2 Color Safe Bleach) and cool water. Follow the package directions as to how much product per gallon of water. Completely submerge the pieces and allow them to soak for at least eight hours. Check the stain. If it is gone, wash as usual. If it remains, mix a fresh solution and repeat. It may take several soakings to remove the stain but it should come out.

I also have an article on how to care for and reshape crochet once it is clean. And, you can learn how to store vintage linens here.

Good luck!

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