Antique French lace monogram napkin

 

 

Freshen up for your decor with Linens.  Antique and Vintage Linens can bring that clean, fresh look to your home.  Though a staple in country kitchens long ago, linen towels and napkins are finding new life lately as curtains, slipcovers and pillow covers in every room of our homes.  Many of the antique tablecloths we sell are being used as bedcovers, duvet covers, shams and dust ruffles, as their beauty is unsurpassed. {some, of course, still grace the table at Sunday dinners}  Here are a few of my best tips to restore your antique linens to their former glorious condition and color, the Secrets of Snow-white Linens

 

 

 

 

 

Of all the emails I get about Linens, most have a question or two about how to care for antique linens, and how to get stains out.  While antique linens are sturdy, some care does need to be taken to preserve their sturdiness for the next decades.

 

 

 

antique French monogrammed linens

 

 

 

1.  To Remove Stains.

Pour Lemon Juice through wet Linen and sprinkle with salt all over, then place in the sun for several hours.  I suggest you lay your linen on the grass, being careful that there is nothing underneath that will stain the linen.  This was common practice long ago, housewives laid out their washing in a field to dry and “bleach” in the sun.  Rinse, and rinse again. Be sure to remove all traces of the lemon and salt.  Hang to dry on a clothesline, or if the weather is warm, simply lay your linen back on your grass to dry as the chlorophyll in the grass will act as a natural brightner

 

2.  Remove stubborn set in stains by soaking.

If there are stubborn stains, you can soak them out in a bucket of tepid water and a non-chlorine whitener or stain remover.  I use a mixture of water and Dreft. In cases where I feel the fibers can withstand it, I use Oxy Clean or Biz. This is not really recommended by antique textile experts, but sometimes it’s what I use to save a piece for my own use. Do not use bleach. The antique fibers just aren’t able to withstand bleach, you will do more harm than help. Often bleach makes holes where spots used to be. No matter how you soak, be sure to rinse, rinse, and rinse again. Better to rinse too much than not enough!  For sturdy fabrics you can pre-soak in your washing machine, then wash with mild laundry soap.  I use two rinse cycles then, but this is truly only for sturdier linens, not laces or the finer fabrics.

 

3.  Iron your Linens.

To see how to iron your antique and vintage linens see this post.  And please be sure that you have rinsed enough!

 

4.  Store Linens with great care. 

Store you linens in a well ventilated closet.  Fresh Lavender Sachets add a wonderful scent, as well as keeping moths at bay. Rather than folding, which weakens fabrics at the folds, it’s preferable to “roll” your linens on cardboard tubes {left over from wrapping paper, or better yet, slightly larger mailing tubes} , cover these with acid free tissue, then tie with a ribbon.  When you unroll the linen, there will be no creases to iron, and you can use your tablecloth or towels right away!

 

 

 

 

With some care, these beautiful antique linens will grace your home for many more years.  Not all linens have to be perfect, I find a certain charm in a carefully patched tablecloth or pillow cover too.  That will be something to discuss in a future post.  I hope this will help you rescue some of your antique pieces, so that you can use them with joy!  Have any other great tips for linens?  Please share, I’m always anxious to learn something I don’t know!

If you want to romance your Home and Garden with antique and vintage treasures to make you smile each time you come home, visit our shop FrenchGardenHouse.