Ever since 1878, when merchant John Wanamaker declared January to be a great time for a “white sale,” retail establishments have followed his lead. But now—in 2015—I’m going to change it up a bit … because vintage linens have been on my mind a lot lately—and because I know some of you (still) have old pretties stuck in drawers and attics.
Just for you… through the end of the month, it’s a January WHITE AGAIN Sale at My Place to Yours.
RESTORATION—my all-time favorite linen cleaner for vintage linens—is on sale in my Etsy shop through January 31.
Just click HERE to purchase — then enter coupon code WHITEAGAIN15 to receive 15% off of each 2 lb. jar. I can often ship at least 2 jars (sometimes 3) for the same low shipping, so now’s a great time to purchase!
If the thought of laundering Grandma’s linens leaves you with sweaty palms, fear no more!
I’m here to help. Seriously. Just email me and start the conversation. I’ll take it from there. Let me show you how it works…
On November 14, 2014 I received this email from Penny in Texas (who, by the way, has given permission to share this with you!):
I read a post of yours, from 2010, on “Between Naps on the Porch.” It was about a beautiful white bedspread that you restored. I asked Susan a question about a tablecloth. She, very kindly, directed me to your site. Here is my question:
I have an old, round, linen (it was my grandmother’s, probably from the 70’s) tablecloth that is stained with something pink – I’m not sure what. It is beige and the stains are all over it, in little sprinkles. It was packed away and could have gotten wet or soiled by mice or it could be rust stains, I don’t know. I know it’s been washed and dried in the dryer, several times.
Is it possible to get the stains out? I know once something goes through the dryer, stains are much harder (impossible?) to get out. Maybe I could dye it brown and cover up the spots? I’ve never dyed anything, before. Any tips, for that?
The fabric doesn’t have any damage (holes), it’s just got those ugly spots. It’s got a sweet little scalloped edge. I would love to use it, somehow. Any thoughts would be appreciated. Thanks for your time.
See? Just start the conversation. Not too painful, is it?
When I get emails like this, my heart rate picks up, and my mind starts envisioning the situation. And then I write back. Over the course of the day, we emailed back and forth…
Susan at “Naps” knows how I love vintage linens—and a good challenge!—so I’m glad she sent you over. Welcome to My Place to Yours! I hope you’ll stop by often.
Is there any chance you can send me pictures of the stained tablecloth? One showing the scalloped edge as well as one with a clear close-up of some of the stains might provide a better clue for how to advise you. Even a phone pic is okay if it’s not too blurry. Also, do you know if the fabric is cotton/linen or polyester? (If pictures aren’t possible, I have some ideas, but they would likely let me confirm/rule out a few things, so that’s why I’m asking first.)
And Penny responded:
Uh, huh. Just as I thought.
Thanks for the pictures. They are very helpful!
Your stains look similar to some I came across awhile back. Here’s a post I wrote about it.
Our mystery stains may not be the same, but the post outlines my thought process and products I tried. The Restoration mentioned is available HERE in my Etsy shop, but since you aren’t likely to have any already, it’s fine in this case to use OxiClean instead. If you want to send pics after each attempt, I’m happy to see what I think. It’ll be almost as fun as playing detective with you!
Good luck — and have a wonderful weekend.
Your post was fascinating! Your stain really looked like mine. Thank you for the advice. I will get some Oxi Clean and see what happens. If that doesn’t work, I guess I will try something tougher. I will send you pictures.
Thanks again and have a lovely weekend!
I highly doubt the OxiClean will remove the stain, but it should remove any “overall” discoloration from storage/oxidation. Just soak to remove those stains — then wash as usual and let air dry. After that, feel free to send me another picture and we’ll go from there.
Early the next week, I received this from Penny:
I tried the OxiClean. Wow! It really made a big difference! A few spots are left, but the biggest part of the stains are gone. I will attach a couple of pictures.
We are going out of town, for the remainder of the week. When I get back, I will have to order some of that #8 stain remover. I think that just might get rid of them! Very exciting!
The #8 stain remover Penny mentioned is Carbona Stain Devils #8 which is a wonderful rust remover. But I really wasn’t sure we should jump to the conclusion of “rust” just yet, so I responded…
I’m glad to see you’re making progress! I can’t tell from pics, but if the OxiClean lightened the remaining spots, it’s possible that another long soak might bring more improvement. The key is to start with HOT water. If it were me, I think I’d go w/ the OxiClean again and let soak for several hours—even overnight—and then see what it looks like.
And then there was Thanksgiving … and Christmas … and New Years. 🙂
This week, I heard from Penny again:
How are you doing? I hope you are well. I just wanted to let know that I took your advice and let the tablecloth soak overnight, in the OxiClean. I had sort of put off the whole thing, because I was afraid it wouldn’t work. Silly, I know. But, I have to tell you, the results are amazing! There are a couple of very tiny specks, but I can live with those. I am excited to be able to use my grandmother’s tablecloth. Thank you for your good advice.
I have enjoyed getting to know you through your blog. I wish you much joy throughout this coming year!
See? Painless—and a new friend, too!
But I had one more thought…
Happy New Year!
What great news about your grandmother’s tablecloth! As for the tiny specks… they may come out with future soaks although that’s doubtful since you’ve already had such success. If they still look dark like rust, you may want to try the Carbona Stain Devils #8 and see if it helps. Either way, I’m glad they’re tiny and ones you can “live with.”
I’m so glad you took the initiative to get your family treasure back into circulation! I hope you and your family will enjoy it for many generations to come.
So happy I was able to help!
Penny is happy—and her grandmother’s tablecloth is being enjoyed once again—so all is well!
BUT, let me add that while I, too, occasionally use OxiClean with sturdy fabrics (like Penny’s 1970s tablecloth), it is NOT my product of choice for vintage linens. It is harsher than Restoration and, in my experience, it doesn’t work as well. I absolutely do not use OxiClean on finer—or older—linens. Period.
Here’s an email I received yesterday from Jana in Tennessee—a very satisfied first-time Restoration customer:
I was absolutely thrilled with this product…. I’d like to show you how wonderfully the Restoration worked for me. I used it on some curtains that I bought that were in the original box with a receipt dated 1958! They were very yellowed and had crease marks. The Restoration restored them to new condition!
So what are you waiting for? These snowy-cold (or rainy-cold) January days are the perfect time to pull out those too-long-neglected linens and start getting them ready for Easter tablescapes … and Spring bridal showers … and Summer weddings. I’ll be right here to help if you need it.
And remember… My all-time favorite linen cleaner RESTORATION is available at 15% off through the end of January right HERE. Just enter coupon code WHITEAGAIN15.