This is right up my alley, as I have a collection of linens from my
Grandmother?s house that I cleaned a year or so ago and re-stored.
I?ll give you my method and what I used, along to links where you can
get the products.
First of all, I tried sun, and it worked on a lot of the lighter stains.
I went out and laid the pieces on the grass in the sun for a day,
flipping them every few hours, and it worked like a charm. 85-90% of
the light yellowing came out.
I then took a damp rag and spot tested any colors on the fabric to
make sure it would not run. I got a while cotton towel damp and went
around pressing it onto the colored parts of the fabric for about 60
seconds each to see if they would run. I was lucky, I didn?t have any
runny dyes, but if you do, there?s extra steps involved. If you?re
worried about fading and bleeding THAT much, do not do this yourself,
but take them to a professional.
Secondly, I wanted to try the least ?harsh? methods first, so I
started out from here by soaking in Oxiclean. I used hot water and a
mix of one scoop to a gallon of water. I let them soak in my tub for
about 6 hours in this mix, gently stirring with my hand. I heard from
a good friend of my mother?s to not soak it in anything metal as it
can cause a reaction with the Oxiclean and stain fabric more. Keep
checking them every hour or so though, you want to use the least
amount of time possible to reduce fading of any colors.
**Before doing this, please do a test patch on a seam or corner to
make sure you do not have any issues with the Oxiclean harming your
Be careful with silk embroidery threads as Oxiclean says not to be
used on silk. Test patches, test patches, test patches!!!
?Never use Oxiclean on anything with gold or other metallic dyes in it.
The Oxiclean will dissolve the fabric where the gold dye is. You will
have to use didi seven to spot treat and then place the fabric in the
sun for any prints with gold metallic designs in them.?
Once this is done, pour the whole mix into the sink. Let it drain out,
DO NOT WRING OR TWIST THE MATERIAL. Then, do a vinegar (distilled
white) to neutralize any remaining Oxiclean in the fabric. After the
vinegar rinse, do a cool water rinse. If you?re happy with the stain
removal at this point, take your linens outside or on a drying rack to
dry. Let them drip all over and get the floor yet. You NEVER want to
wring or squish them out. Just let them dry flat or hanging naturally.
If you twist and ring, you?ll damage the fabric. Do this after using
any chemical mentioned, before drying and storage, and in between
Stains: While I had no other stains than the yellowing, I went and
looked up some stain removers for antique linens so that if you do
have stains, you?ll know where to start. Also, once again? TEST PATCH
TEST PATCH TEST PATCH!!!!!
Rust: Reddish, or speckled brown spots. **Note: some of those spots
are not rust but the start of cellulose degradation. If CD has started
already, there?s not much you can do. It?s the fabric breaking down
and essentially rotting away from age. It can?t really be fixed. If
you think it?s rust and it has not improved with 2 or 3 stain
treatments, it?s probably CD and will not come out.
?If the rust spots have set in for a long time, they may result in a
hole when you try to remove them. However, if you do nothing with
them, they will eventually leave a hole, so you?re better off trying
to rid the fabric of the rust stains. The good news is that the rust
removal products won?t cause any further damage if it isn?t rust.?
You can use Carbona or Didi7 and lemon juice to remove rust.
Mildew: Black spots in the fabric. Try using the Didi7 on these.
Paint: Try using Goof-Off. Oil based paints leave oil spots that can
not be removed. http://www.valspar.com/val/resident/goof-off.jsp
Ink: Use Didi7
Candy/Gum/Oil/Tar: Try using Lestiol.
?Locate the stain you want to remove and spray it with water.
Depending on the size of the stain, add enough didi seven to cover it
with a thin film on both the right and wrong sides. As you hold the
linen in one hand, use a finger of the other hand to work the didi
seven into the stain on the front side. Rub gently with the weave of
the fabric. (I usually rub up and down then back and forth in a T
pattern.) As the didi7 dries, spray a little water on the stain and
add a dab more of didi seven. Repeat until the spot has dissolved. If,
after approximately 1 minute of rubbing and the stain hasn?t faded,
the changes are good that didi7 will not remove it.
If you are working on a printed or dyed fabric or an area that is
embroidered, there are some cautions that you need to be aware of:
If the fabric turns a different color, flush out with cool water immediately.
You can continue to work on the stain, but flush often. It will work without
any damage, but it takes some care and practice.
If you are working on a dyed fabric, test on a seam or the wrong side to
see if the didi seven will have any effect on the color.
If you are working in an area where there is embroidery, do not leave the
didi seven on the area for an extended time. Work on the stain as quickly
as possible, and then thoroughly rinse the didi seven out. ?
About Carbona: Do spotting with a Q-tip gently. ?Place a pad of clean
soft, white cloth under the stained area. Rub the stain gently with a
white cotton cloth dampened with the remover. Use light strokes and
work with the weave of the fabric.?
Dye spots/runs: First, try running them immediately under cold water
to flush it out. (hot water will set the dye). If that does not work,
use a bleach and water mix with the spotting method use for Carbona.
If that does not work?consult a professional.
Storing.: Find a place that?s cool, dry, dark, and with a stable
temperature. It?s not recommended to use a basement or attic. Do not
store your linens in plastic or wood. Plastic can trap gasses inside
it causing yellowing. The wood can also cause yellowing. It?s
recommended you roll them in Acid free paper to minimize creases and
yellowing, and to keep them from touching any surfaces that could
cause more discoloration. I used paper towel and wrapping paper tubes,
rolled them around that, and then covered it with the acid free paper.
I never tried Restoration Cleaner, but it seems to be highly
I hope this helps and they?re white/clean and beautiful when you?re
done like mine were!
If this answer requires further explanation, please request
clarification before rating it, and I'll be happy to look into this
Google Answers Researcher
Google Searches used:
Storing antique linens