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Restoring Vintage Linens

Welcome to the 77th Metamorphosis Monday!

I’m excited to share an awesome metamorphosis with you this week. Susan, whose blogs at, My Place to Yours, loves finding old linens that appear ruined and ready for the trash heap…and saving them…restoring them to their original state. Have you ever wondered if and how this could be done with stained vintage linens? Susan is going to show us today, then you’ll be able to do this right at home the next time you come across a lovely old piece that’s in need of some TLC to be beautiful again. Here’s Susan to tell us how:

Susan shared:

I love auctions because I just never know what I’ll find! Recently, I came across an old Bates bedspread box. My heart stopped… could it be? Would I be so lucky as to find a beautiful old matelasse spread inside? And if I did, what would its condition be? The box looked REALLY bad. I held my breath as I opened it.

Oooooh, there was the spread I hoped to find! But it was dirty.

It was REALLY dirty … Those aren’t shadows you see in the pics; they are yellow stains.

OK, I’ll admit … it was FILTHY! But except for those “minor” stains, it was in perfect condition. In fact, it looked like it had never been used!

So I bought it! Everyone thought I was crazy, but they don’t know that I love the challenge of returning vintage linens to pristine condition. Still there was the question … Could this once-beautiful vintage bedspread be pristine again?

Let’s find out … Because I knew this project would require several soaks — and quite a bit of cleaning product — I decided to forego my all-time favorite linen cleaner, RESTORATION, and entrust this vintage beauty to OxiClean powder instead. The antique tub in my guest bathroom comes in handy for large items like a bedspread! I filled the tub with several scoops of OxiClean and lots of HOT water. (Notice the water temp… That’s a hint when laundering vintage linens.)

After thoroughly dissolving the OxiClean, I added the bedspread. Almost immediately, the water turned golden as the stains began to soak out of the fabric. I let it soak for about 15-20 minutes then drained the water — and started all over again. Another hint … When laundering vintage linens (or any fabric, for that matter), remember that the fabric is heavier than usual when it’s wet, and the extra weight puts pressure on the fibers. Lift the item gently to avoid damage. Also, never wring out the water; PRESS it out or carefully squeeze it out instead.

By now it’s Day Two, and I’ve soaked this spread several times. At first, I soaked and rinsed within the hour because the water was so dirty. Once the water stayed mostly clear, however, I let it soak 6-8 hours at a time, occasionally adding more hot water.

You can see from this pic that it’s looking much better! But the question remains … Will ALL of the stains come out? Let’s see …

AFTER:

Do you see any stains? Look closely …

Nope … I don’t see any either!

Not a single one!

Aaaaaah, success! Two days of part-time work — and another vintage treasure restored!

Susan, thanks so much for sharing this wonderful transformation! I had my doubts in the beginning, but look at this matelasse spread now! I don’t think I’ll look at those old stained linens in antique/thrift stores quite the same way anymore now that I know how to bring them back to life.

Be sure and check out Susan’s blog My Place To Yours!

I’m so looking forward to seeing your, Before and Afters!

If you are participating in Metamorphosis Monday: Please be sure to add your permalink below, and not your general blog address. To get your permalink, click on your post name, then just copy and paste the address that shows up in the address bar at the top, into the “url” box for the picture linky. You’ll also need to put your e-mail address in, but don’t worry, it will not be visible to anyone.

I’d love it if you would include the MM button in your post, to make it easy for others to find you MM post. To do that, just copy and paste the Met Monday button to your computer or grab the html code from underneath the MM logo on my sidebar.

Please include a link in your MM post back to the host blog, Between Naps on the Porch. Why is this important? When you include a link back to BNOTP, it ensures your regular readers/visitors will find the other awesome “Before and Afters” linked for this Metamorphosis Monday. If everyone links back, this maximizes the opportunity for visits for all who participate.

Please do not add your link below, until your MM post is actually published to your blog. Please DO NOT type in all caps…it spreads the links waaaay out. Thanks! :-)

Let’s try something fun today! Please visit the person who linked before you and after you…that way everyone will get some visits. Hope you’ll visit more, of course. :-)

 




Comments

  1. Robin@DecoratingTennisGirl says:

    Susan,
    The bedspread looks great! Very pretty.

  2. Confessions of a Plate Addict says:

    Hi Susan! Thanks for the info! The end result is just lovely! I hope you are having a wonderful 4th!…hugs…Debbie

  3. I wouldn't have given that piece a second glance. It's amazing how pristine it now looks, not to mention totally beautiful.

  4. I love it! Wow, it's so great to see that stains from who knows how long ago can be removed.

  5. Tracy Suzanne says:

    Hey Susan. Happy Independence Day! Hope you're out there having fun! Oh' this bedspread makes my heart skip a beat. It's so gorgeous and turned out wonderful. Thanks for sharing another wonderful Monday collection with us.

    Hugs…Tracy :)

    P.S. Hope you'll stop by and enter the first of my blogiversaries giveaways.

  6. LAnderson (Southern Stitches) says:

    WOW! What a treasure – it's beautiful!!!

  7. Oh yes Oxiclean is my friend too. I looove your matlesse! What a beauty!

  8. Happier Than a Pig in Mud says:

    Wow, what a beautiful bed spread! How nice that it could be restored and enjoyed!

  9. GrannySue says:

    I must admit I have no idea what "Bates" is, or what "matelasse" is but the spread turned out beautifully. I used to use a product called "perk" but it tends to be expensive for larger jobs. I have used Oxiclean on many vintage linens, and I usually use my washing machine on its most delicate setting. Of course it depends on the item. At any rate, this spread is just incredible.

  10. One Cheap B*tch says:

    Happy July 4th! Oxiclean works wonders in my household! It looks fabulous now!

    Jeanine

  11. Stephanie Lynn @Under the Table and Dreaming says:

    Thanks for hosting – Hope you had a wonderful holiday weekend! Beautiful spread. ~ Stephanie Lynn

  12. Cottage Rose says:

    I love using that for cleaning,,, and now after I have seen this wow I will be using it more,,, and yes I too will be looking at stained vintage lines differently…. have a wonderful 4th..

    Hugs;
    Alaura

  13. DesignTies says:

    Susan's vintage spread looks wonderful! I have some old linens in the attic… maybe it's time to pull them out and restore them!!
    Victoria @ DesignTies

  14. Shugee @ Blue Heron Cottage says:

    I am so impressed! It's so wonderful when something as lovely as this can be restored and brought back to it's original beauty and not go in the land fill when it's still a perfectly good item.
    Bravo for the restoration. What a beautiful pattern and it looks gorgeous. What a rewarding feeling it must be to restore something as nice as this.

  15. Thank you for sharing the hints for cleaning such a scary looking bedspread!

    It turned out truly beautiful!

  16. Blue Creek Home says:

    I can't believe she got all of those stains out! I have had some luck with Oxi Clean…I think I don't let them sit long enough.
    The bedspread and the bedroom are so pretty!

    Thanks
    Rhonda

  17. Cabin and Cottage says:

    Hi Susan! This is such a great post! I specialize in vintage linen in my shop and people often comment on how pristine the linen is. The long soak in Oxyclean works miracles! Thanks for hosting today! Jacqueline

  18. Rona's Home Page says:

    What an amazing product.

  19. Annesphamily says:

    That is quite a miracle removing those ancient stains. But what beautiful results she got! I love that bedspread! Thanks for sharing today. Anne

  20. Hi Susan! I hope you and your family have had a wonderful 4th of July weekend! Oh, thank you for sharing this. I've heard about the wonders of OxiClean and this certainly proves it!
    Be a sweetie,
    Shelia ;)

  21. I love that bedspread. Thanks for hosting again. I hope you had a happy 4th!

  22. High Heeled Life says:

    What a great post!! and that bedspread looks amazing!!! HHL

  23. Ann @ makethebestofthings says:

    The bedspread is beautiful, what a wonderful restoration! And thanks for hosting the linky party each week. You're the best.

  24. What an amazing difference for this beautiful textile. Thanks for sharing the process. ~ Sarah

  25. a little bit of everything says:

    You should be doing a commercial for Oxy Clean! I'm definitely picking some up. The bedspread looks fabulous.
    Do you think Oxy Clean would be safe to use on a 100 year old christening dress?

  26. Housewife Bliss says:

    I am a clean freak and had not know about this product…I am off to make sure I have it in my store room. Thanks for sharing.

  27. Deb @ Confessions of an Ugly Mom says:

    Thanks for posting about that gorgeous matelasse — it reminds me of my grandmother's, which I regret not keeping and saving. These treasures just need a little love. Thanks for hosting!

    ~Deb

  28. myplacetoyours says:

    I'm glad everyone is enjoying my bedspread restoration! Thanks for your nice comments. Between Naps on the Porch has such lovely followers!

    To "a little bit of everything"… How wonderful to have a 100-year-old christening gown in the family! Usually when I launder vintage linens — and certainly when I launder items with that much significant history or age — I prefer to use a product called RESTORATION. It is also a powder and works similarly to OxiClean, but it's gentler and often works faster than OxiClean. I've also found that over time the linens cleaned using RESTORATION don't yellow as quickly when stored. (The only reason I didn't use it on the bedspread is that it gets pricey in really large quantities, and I knew I would need LOTS of cleaner to get out those stains!) RESTORATION is available in my Etsy store, and Susan was kind to provide a link on the blog. I hope you'll check it out! In fact, if you want to send me pics or have specific questions about the gown before cleaning, just contact me through my store. I'll be glad to help! –Susan (My Place to Yours)

  29. Wow! That was quite a transformation. It is gorgeous! I will have more faith in Oxiclean from now on…Christine

  30. Lori@ Paisley Passions says:

    The bedspread turned out great! Thanks for hosting the linky party.

    ~Lori S.

  31. BJ_Mama says:

    WOW! Mr. Clean would be PROUD!!!!

  32. Wowsers!! That bedspread looks great!! Thanks for hosting! :)

  33. Kathy @ Creative Home Expressions says:

    What a difference! I didn't think it would get all the stains out, but I guess you can't give up easily on vintage linens like this piece.

  34. A Hopeful Heart says:

    The bedspread is beautiful!! Thank you for sharing how to clean those old linens. This is such wonderful info.

    Blessings,
    Patti

  35. Happy holiday ladies. I am a user of oxiclean and it has cleaned a very badly stained doily that I found while thrifting.
    I thought I would take this opportunity to ask for help with a laundry problem I am having right now. In my regular laundry, I had a new pair of capris bleed onto items in the whole load. Right now, everything (except the naughty capris) are in cold water with oxiclean…any ideas how to get the stains out? I would be REALLY grateful for any help you all can offer.

  36. Susan (Between Naps on the Porch) says:

    Suzie,
    I just posted your question on Facebook…we'll see what folks suggest. :-) That's a tough one because the capris sort of dyed your other items. Soaking in Oxyclean are washing the other items in one of those color safe, all fabric bleaches may work. Check BNOTP Facebook page soon and see what folks say! :-)
    Susan

  37. Its So Very Cheri says:

    Thanks for a great party. I would love to have you come by and take a look at my KNOCK OFF White Flower Farmhouse –FAUX Driftwood Sailboat. entry #101
    Cheri

  38. myplacetoyours says:

    Suzie, sorry to hear about your laundry problem! I suggest you go to this link and read about the Carbona Stain Devils Color Run Remover. It's a great product and has saved me a few times! http://www.carbona.com/colorrunremover.aspx The one "disclaimer" I'll mention is that sometimes when an attempt is made to clean a stain (as you're doing right now with the OxiClean), it works AGAINST the "correct" stain removal product and keeps the stain from being removed… but it's worth a try. Besides the RESTORATION mentioned in Susan's blog and available in my Etsy store, Carbona Stain Devils is another line of "must have" products that I keep on hand when laundering vintage linens. I find them at JoAnn Fabrics, but you can use the store locator at the above link to find one near you.

    IF you don't have easy access to that product, I suggest you try to re-wash the stained clothes in the hottest water safe for the fabric and put in a Shout Color Catcher sheet (or 2); that product should be available in your local grocery store. It MIGHT work… Good luck! –Susan (My Place to Yours)

  39. Cindy (Applestone Cottage) says:

    Holy Cow!
    That bedspread turned out amazing looking! What a great metamorphisis to share!
    Cindy

  40. Wowee! Who knew Oxiclean could do that??? No wonder Billy Mays screamed so loud!
    xoxo,
    Kim

  41. Hi Susan…thank you for the info on cleaning items with old stains. I have a spread I'm going to try this with.
    Debbie@houseatthelake

  42. tales from an oc cottage says:

    LOVE this! Every inch of my living room and many door frames have a gazillion vintage napkins and table clothes drying…after some quality time spent with Oxy! It is a bit of cool!!!
    That bead spread is gorgeous!!!

    m ^..^

  43. Heaven's Walk says:

    Wow….I never would'ave thought that those stains would come out! Incredible. I, too, have used OxiClean, but was never really impressed with it in my regular laundry. Now I will certainly take another try at it on linens that are stained! Thanks for all the tips today! I just love all the info and sharing that's done here in blogland. What a true sisterhood we all share! :)

    xoxo laurie@heavenswalk

  44. Beverly @ My Sew Sweet Studio says:

    I use Biz, but that quilt transformation inspires me to try the Oxy Clean method. Unbelievable. It is so beautiful now. I love to see old linens "saved"

  45. Christi @ A Southern Life says:

    Wow, what a beautiful transformation. I hope that lovely spread finds a loving home :)

    Christi @ A Southern Life

  46. Fifi Flowers says:

    LOVELY spread!
    Hope you had a FAB holiday weekend!

  47. myplacetoyours says:

    Beverly, there's a quilt wash product made by the same company that makes the RESTORATION for sale in my Etsy store. I recommend it over OxiClean for quilts — vintage or new. I don't currently have any stocked in my store, but if you (or anyone else) is interested, I can get some. It also comes in a 2 lb. jar and is just a few dollars higher than RESTORATION. You can email me through my store if you want more info or need product. –Susan (My Place to Yours)

  48. Ashley @ Little Miss Momma says:

    Will you please head over to my house and work your magic on all my stained items? *wink*

    ashley
    http://littlemissmomma.blogspot.com

  49. Hi Susan,
    Thanks for hosting, and for sharing this interesting site with us! I can't believe the transformation of that beautiful bedspread – amazing!
    I hope you had a great 4th – have a good week!
    XO
    Heidi – Heart and Home

  50. How amazing! I never would have thought that would come clean, and I probably would have given up after the second soak – beautiful!

  51. That's a great job on the bedspread !

    Now I'll make a guilty confession – the idea of touching or using something someone else stained just SKEEVES me – lol ! I keep thinking body fluids and gross stuff and ewwwwww… couldn't do it. Wish I could, because there are some very cool things out there like this spread. I keep seeing folks going to thrift shops and such in blogland, but double ewwwww on bringing it home !

    I'll have to live vicariously through all your gorgeous homes ! Thank you for continuing to host Met Monday – it's just awesome !!!!

    gena
    http://www.thehouseonlavenderhill.blogspot.com

  52. Linda (Nina's Nest) says:

    Susan, what a gorgeous spread. Thanks for sharing how Susan restored it. It would have been a real shame if that had been thrown out. It is one of the prettiest matelasse spreads I have seen. Linda

  53. what a great job. need to remember how to do this. thanks

  54. Suzanne says:

    Thanks so much for hosting this party and also the fabulous tips on cleaning fabric. What an incredible transformation!

  55. myplacetoyours says:

    LOL! Gena, you aren't alone! Believe it or not, I'm very picky about what I bring home. Most of the time, the yellow-brown stains on old linens are just oxidation stains — the result of poor storage. (That was true for this unused bedspread.) Linens stored in cardboard boxes turn a nasty brown over time; those stored in plastic bags or containers are at risk for mildew… Maybe sometime Susan will need a break and we can do a feature on proper linen storage. :-) –Susan (My Place to Yours)

  56. Sherry @ No Minimalist Here says:

    I would have passed right by this piece thinking it would never come clean. I will try this process on a couple of napkins that belonged to my grandmother. Thanks
    xo, Sherry

  57. Marydon says:

    We used to use Oxiclean …I never pass by anything with stains as we have a special professional fabric stain remover that works in a snap & being in the feedsack fabric business, we can find some pretty soiled pieces.

    How lovely your spread … it came out beautifully … it looks fab on your bed, Susan.

    Have a lovely summer's eve ~
    TTFN ~ Hugs, Marydon

  58. Debra@Common Ground says:

    Absolutely gorgeous, so nice to know it could be saved and loved again!
    xo,
    Debra

  59. Brambleberry Cottage says:

    Beautiful spread! OxiClean is fabulous. I just did a post recently on how to use it to clean vintage bottles:
    http://thebrambleberrycottage.blogspot.com/2010/06/tips-and-tricks-tuesday-5-shake-shake.html

    Liz @ the Brambleberry Cottage
    http://thebrambleberrycottage.blogspot.com/

  60. craftyles says:

    I 'm not in this party, but had to comment. I always wondered how you soak and clean old linens-I'm definitely going to try this on some of my stained stuff.Thank you!

  61. Rosanne Wiatrolik says:

    glad I found your site today as I am a sacristan at my church; part of job is to take care of the altar linens & ecclesial vestments, some very old all very expensive. Need less to say I have much to learn since many of the persons who know ‘how to’ and ‘what to’ have passed away. So poor on the tips, book lists and how to s from cleaning, storing, ironing, everything to do with various linen as well as silk and other fine fabrics used.

    I also found that my mother didn’t have my wedding dress cleaned nor did she store it properly so now that I have it back well it thought it should be thrown away but this gives me hope I could learn to save it.

  62. Rosanne Wiatrolik says:

    P.S. I need to get lipstick (some of the newer one are rather difficult without wearing a hole in the fabric) out of the linens. Think twice about the lipstick you wear to church and receive the blood of Christ. Thanks

  63. Your bedspread is just beautiful! It inspires me! 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. 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? I’ve never dyed anything, before. Any tips, for that? The fabric doesn’t have any damage, 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. :)

    • Hi Penny, I’m a little afraid to advise you since I don’t have a tremendous amount of experience with old linens. Susan who blogs at “My Place to Yours” shared the information in this post and she really knows how to handle stains in older linens. I just checked her blog and here’s her contact page where you can leave her a question: http://myplacetoyours.com/contact-me and here’s her blog: http://myplacetoyours.com/ Hopefully she can give you some good advice on the pink stain. I once had a carpet cleaning company tell me that red stains are the hardest to get out of carpet so I know they can be tough. Hopefully Susan will have some ideas for you.

    • This bedspread does look beautiful after having the Oxyclean treatment, but notice that it was made of very sturdy, thickly woven cotton. For more delicate items be very careful because most commercial products, even oxygen-based ones, are way too strong. Yes, they get the spots out but in the process they often damage the delicate threads. You won’t even see the damage, but when the threads eventually break you’ll have a hole. My product, Mama’s Miracle Linen Soak is a very gentle soak made especially for vintage and antique linens. It can rescue even the dirtiest, most stained tablecloths, doilies, napkins, and other old fabrics without harming them. I hope you’ll check out http://www.mamasmiracle.com.

  64. Thanks so much for replying. I will ask Susan for her thoughts. Again, thanks!

    Penny

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