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How to Remove Stains From Vintage Linen and Lace Tablecloth

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By Louise Nickson

My Laundry Question

I have a fine white linen antique table cloth which I think is Irish linen and a hand made lace table cloth, both of which have became stained with a small amount of food as well as red wine. These are too large to hand wash but I have a program on my washing machine for 'tissue' which soaks rather than washes, I also have a 'no spin' function'. The lace is at least 100 hundred years old.

Could you please advise me regarding stain removal as well as washing.

I am not able to forward photo until next week

Many thanks and a Happy New Year,

Louise Nickson

Share a Little Background Info

Small red wine spillage, sauce drips plus what appears to be an old stain which is brown in colour and must be at least 5 years old and has soaked through the layers when the cloth was last rolled for storage in acid free black tissue paper. I have not made any attempt to remove these stains so far

Lessons Learned

  • I have made no attempt to remove these stains as I fear causing damage having already damaged a cloth from soaking in modern soap powder.

Fabric Content of Item (if appropriate)

linen table cloth possibly Irish linen, and a Hand made, antique, cotton lace

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

Your tablecloth sounds lovely. I agree that your cloth should not be subjected to spinning or wringing. So using your washer to soak the cloth should be fine. Fill your water with cool water. Add oxygen based bleach (OxiClean, Clorox 2, Country Save Bleach, Purex 2 Color Safe Bleach) - NOT CHLORINE BLEACH - following the package directions for how much product per gallon of water. Allow the cloth to soak overnight or at least 8 hours. Check the stained areas. If they are clean, drain the solution and rinse in cool water. Allow to air dry.

If the stains remain, mix a new solution of oxygen bleach and soak again for 8 hours. Depending on the type of stains, it may take two or three soaks but they should come out. I have a very good article on how to store fine linens that you may find useful.

Good luck!

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