cleaning vintage cotton (pre-1950’s cotton)

18 08 2007

A lot of vintage cotton needs a little TLC cleaning/stain removing, but how do you regularly care for the vintage cotton pieces you own?

Rebecca and I recommend dry cleaning anything from before 1950. But be very careful about taking your vintage to a dry cleaners, as the chemicals they use can damage vintage fabric. If you do choose to take it somewhere, please ask them if they dry clean vintage before giving them your treasured pieces.

We use Dryell, it’s a gentle, low cost way to keep your vintage fresh and laundered. I like to air out the clothing in my laundry room for at least a day after I dryell. The Dryell smell can be strong at first.

If you have any stains or marks, make sure you spot clean before you Dryell. We use Shout for tough stains. It may take more than one application. Though it works on any color, Bright White* is my personal favorite for whites. It’s a wonderful cold-water wash designed for delicates. Before you grab that bleach pen, give Bright White a try. It also gets rust stains out like you wouldn’t believe. I have saved many treasured pieces with Bright White.

Hand washing is always a great way to clean vintage fabric. Be sure to rinse out all the soap suds, though. If left to dry, it can discolor fabric and make it stiff. I will admit that I find hand washing tedious, especially rinsing out full skirts and dresses. So, I like to hang garments in the shower and use my shower head to rinse, the higher water pressure works great. Cold-lukewarm water only!

hope this info helps! please let me know if you have any questions.


*In the Chapel Hill area, Bright White laundry soap can be found at Night Gallery in University Mall.




4 responses

9 01 2008

Thanks for the tips!! (I’m pretty ‘stuck’ with stains/yellowing on 2 vintage cotton dresses.)
Anyway….I googled ‘Bright White laundry soap’ to find out who makes it, so I can look for it around here (NEOhio) but can’t seem that info. Can you help? Thanks!

18 01 2008
roulette vintage

You can order Bright White soap from Night Gallery. Their number is (919)-929-5755.
Its worth the shipping!

8 08 2008

I use “Biz” to soak my vintage whites….it’s really safe and works like a charm!

11 11 2011
Betty Steele

I have a bed cover that my grandmother made back in the 20’s. It is made of the old time cotton lisle hose, rings cut from the stockings and sewn together in a starburst pattern, and each of these sewn together and it fits a full sized bed. It weighs a ton dry, but I would like to clean it and use it. Any suggestions?

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