When it comes to vintage linens made of SILK, every linen collector I’ve ever known has taken the same approach:
Love ’em “as is”—or leave ’em behind
We all know cleaning vintage silk is best left to the professionals… and we know the likelihood of getting out all of those vintage stains is slim.
So when I recently discovered Mama’s Miracle Linen Soak, I was intrigued to read that it was okay to use with silk. Really? I’ve been looking for years for a product that would clean vintage silk—and it didn’t exist—and so in my downsizing I got rid of almost every little piece of silk I owned.
But I did still have one little silk treasure I could try to clean…
Although I’m not a fan of faux greenery, there’s a shadowy, dark corner on our stair landing that needs a little visual something… and so I went faux— but tucked in a classy silk scarf.
Bunched up like that, you can’t see this stain…
As those of you who’ve been around My Place awhile probably suspect, this beauty was discovered in an auction box of linens, so I have no idea what the stain is—or how long it’s been there. But I can tell from experience that it’s not a typical oxidation/storage stain. Let me show you how I know…
I’ve darkened the picture of the stain so you can see the silk fibers more closely. Notice along the edges how the stain follows the lines of the fibers? (Think of a drop of liquid being absorbed by a paper towel or—a better illustration for those of you who’ve ever stained furniture—what your staining cloth looks like along the edges of the stain.) This tells me some sort of liquid was spilled on the silk. Otherwise, if this were an oxidation stain, you wouldn’t see the “running lines” at the edges.
Unfortunately, this little silk scarf also has a couple of small rust spots—and my tried-and-true rust removers are a no-no with silk.
In this picture, you can also see a bit of that “golden glow” some pieces get from overall oxidation. If Mama’s Miracle works like it did the first time I used it, this entire silk piece will be lighter once it’s cleaned because the oxidation stains should be gone. We’ll see…
Perhaps the biggest concern when cleaning vintage silk (especially silk garments) is whether or not the cleaning process will cause shrinkage. In preparation for trying Mama’s Miracle, I took a quick measurement.
And then—after reaching waaaaaay back to elementary conversions (1 Tbsp. Mama’s Miracle per 2 quarts water)—it was time to give Mama her SECOND cleaning challenge.
- Mix 2 cups boiling water with 3/4 tsp. Mama’s Miracle Linen Soak.
- LET MIXTURE COOL COMPLETELY.
- Add the silk scarf and let soak for 6 hours.
- Rinse (rinse, and rinse again!) in cold water.
- There was NO shrinkage of the silk. That’s a really big deal!
- The scarf was lighter overall meaning that the oxidation/storage staining was removed. Excellent!
- The rust stains appeared to have no change. No surprise there.
- The primary stain was still very visible although perhaps it was very slightly lighter—or perhaps my lighting was different. That’s as I expected since 1) it’s an old liquid and 2) any previous attempt to remove the stain or ironing the scarf could easily have “set” the stain making it impossible to remove.
Out of curiosity—and in case the stain was actually getting lighter—I decided to repeat the entire process, this time soaking for 12 hours.
Here’s the final result…
The stain does in fact appear to be slightly lighter, but I believe that’s simply because the overall oxidation staining was removed by the first soak. The second soak had no effect.
After letting the scarf air dry, I ironed it (avoiding the stain out of habit!) and returned it to its very visible location in my home. Once again, whether I’m going upstairs—or down—I enjoy this little beauty.
Only this time—although not stain-free—my vintage silk treasure is now CLEAN, thanks to Mama’s Miracle Linen Soak!
… And that’s something my all-time favorite linen cleaner couldn’t do.
I plan to keep challenging Mama with as many stained old beauties as I can find.
If you’re willing to help me by cleaning some of your dirty vintage linens, I’ll send you a small sample of Mama’s Miracle. (It goes a long way!) All I ask in return is that you send me before/after pics, results, and your pros and cons—so I can share them here. Email me with your U.S. address and—while my supply lasts—I’ll send some your way.
Happy Valentine’s weekend to all of you.
I hope you know you are loved!
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. (Jeremiah 29:11)