Vintage linens, even well cared for or newly washed linens, sometimes have yellow spots or stains that are often caused by a poor rinse. To get rid of the majority of these stains mix:
1 Gallon warm water (warm enough to melt the soap)
2 TBS of GRATED Ivory Soap (buy it by the bar and use an old food grater to shave off 2 Tablespoons)
1 TBS Bleach Mix
Stir and melt the soap then let cool until liquid has gelled a bit. Apply the gel to the stain. Make sure to test a small area first before using. As with all vintage pieces, rinse very well, over and over, to remove every trace of the soap.
Recently, I had purchased some nice table linens from an estate sale. I was very pleased with my purchases even though you could tell they had been stored a long time. They had that “stuffed and tucked away” smell to them. I wash and iron all linens anyway, but imagine my dismay when I opened up the white tablecloth and found a rather large, light coffee colored stain along one whole border
I had once read where you could use a baby wipe to blot up coffee spills from your rug or carpet; it absorbs both the liquid and the stain. I thought that a great idea so I grabbed some from the car that I carry there for when my husband makes a mess. I am regularly attacking coffee spills he gets on himself from his old drippy coffee cup he never washes. Trouble was, they were too dried out from having sat there in the hot car after someone (him) had left them open.
So when the baby wipes didn’t work, I turned to my dog-eared copy of Heloise where she advised using baking soda. I quickly figured out that baking soda would work if the stain was brand new, but for coffee stains that had been washed and set in – baking soda didn’t seem seem to be the solution.
Beer was the next suggestion and much to my husbands dismay I figured the better the beer, the better the results. I suppose I should have asked him first before I snatched the beer from his hands. Seems you can soak the stain in beer and it should remove the stain quite well. Three beers later, two of which I drank while waiting, the stain was fainter but still there. I, on the other hand, was fading quickly.
By this time, I was desperate, frustrated and, I must admit – a little light-headed. (That’s my description and I am sticking with it.) I was also frustrated. Grabbing a bowl, I poured the rest of the beer in it and dumped about – let’s say – a quarter of a box of baking soda into it – just for good measure. The mixtures foamed all over the place and gradually settled down to this mush like mixture, which I put a lid on as I went to bed.
By the time I woke up the next morning, slowly walked into the kitchen and then remembered what I did, I half expected to take the lid off and find a large hole where the spot had once been. I didn’t – thank goodness. Instead, I found a clean white space where the stain had once been. Excitedly, I told my husband while holding up the table linen He nodded once, grabbed his tool chest and then spent the morning putting a lock on his beer cooler.
Later I read that had I brushed the mushy mess into the fabric using a soft hand brush, it would have done the same thing – but quicker. If you don’t drink the beer, it also helps get the stain out faster, because then – you would have read that last part of the instruction. However, what fun would there be in that?
Use these suggestions only on white linens and it’s OK to use cheap beer.
Until next time, repurposed, recycle and stay green.