Thursday, April 7, 2011

Vintage Napkins and Removing Stains

I love vintage napkins.  I love new cotton napkins.  I hardly ever set the table in a pretty tablescape, but I love admiring them.  I really enjoy looking at blogs with pretty tablescapes.  However, if I have a get together, it's usually a buffet thing.  I'm not a formal, sit-down-at-the-table, kind of gal.  Am I totally odd?  Don't answer that.

I do satisfy my love of tablescapes somewhat by buying dishes and tablecloths and napkins and so forth for my booth.  Lately, I've been coming across lots of napkin sets.  Some are quite old, some are probably from the last decade.  As long as they are cotton and pretty, I don't care.

And the good thing is, even if I serve buffet-style, everyone will still need a napkin.

I love these vintage turquoise and white ones.  Very vintage.  Very good condition.  I had to keep them, right?  Do you blame me? 

These pink ones were really pretty.  I soaked them overnight in Biz and then washed them, and carefully ironed them. The photo is how they looked when I bought them.  Not bad, but they had a couple of stains that I wanted to work on.  They look even better now. 

I'm putting them in my booth with the pink Texas Ware dishes that are left.  We have a whole pink thing going in one section of our booth.  It's pretty nice, actually.
This was taken a month or so ago.  There are even more pink items there now.

These red napkins are Ok and they'll look good with some patriotic things I have.  They had sticky tags on them that were a real pain to remove.  I had to soak and scrub like crazy to get the tags off.  The napkins had obviously never been used.  The original tags must have melted in place.    On the other hand, the blue and white check tablecloth is fabulous.  It's fairly small, but mmmm, nice and definitely vintage.

I've come across a number of napkin rings, too.  I grabbed these because I thought they'd look good in our pink section, but was in such a hurry that I didn't notice the chips.  Luckily they were cheap, but I still wish I'd passed on them.

These white ones, on the other hand, are nice and will be very versatile.  There are 7 which is odd, but that's OK.

And then there's this vintage tablecloth.  It is stained.  I have had some luck removing stains in the past and I was hoping my luck would continue. 

What in the heck IS this?  Biz didn't touch it.  I soaked it for days.  What can be done with a badly stained tablecloth?  Is this going to become a really fancy rag?

 Removing Stains

I did a bit of research on removing stains from table linens.  I think the Whink product may be my best hope with the weird stains on the red and white tablecloth. I have nothing to lose.  Here are the tips I found:
  • I have found that nature is the best bleacher. Hanging tablecloths from a clothesline or laying it outside on a sheet in the grass after washing will do a beautiful job of lightening yellow stains. Vintage Tablecloth Club
  • On more robust linens I use Oxy Clean, my new best friend, followed by a normal laundry soap or Ivory.  Em's Heart
  • For rust stains, try Whink Rust Stain Remover but don't leave it on too long.  This is strong stuff. Just a drop or two will make most rust spots vanish before your eyes.  Read the label carefully before using it.  It works great!  It also helps remove blood stains and anything else with a high iron content.  Em's Heart
  • Lemon Juice and Salt - Usually if nothing else works, this will do it for me when cleaning white fabric. I first dampen the fabric and then wet the stain with fresh lemon juice, cover the area with table salt. Lay your fabric in the sun. You have to keep the lemon juice wet. The material will dry fast so be attentive. Sometimes you will see the salt take up the stain. This can be a long process, but it usually does the trick. Sometimes you will see yellow spots left from the lemon juice. Hand washing in your normal detergent will take care of that. Catherine's Vintage Style
  • Linens Cleaning Formula.- Mix equal parts 20 Mule Team Borax, Biz and liquid detergent with color safe bleach. Use hot water and soak the fabric for five or six hours. Rinse well and repeat the soaking if necessary with fresh water. When the spots are gone, rinse well till the water is clear. Do not wring or twist. Lay flat or hang to dry. Use plastic clothes pins as wooden pins can stain your fabric. Catherine's Vintage Style
  • 1 Quart Buttermilk, 1 Gallon Water, and 1 TBS Fresh Lemon Juice -  Soak linens in the buttermilk recipe for up to 24 hours, rinse twice, then launder as usual.   TipNut
  • 1 Scoop* Biz, 1 Scoop* Oxyclean, and 1 Gallon Hot Water - Soak in the hot water for up to 48 hours, then rinse and launder as usual. Use the oxyclean scoop. After washing linens, give it a good vinegar rinse to remove as much of the soap as possible. Use one cup of white vinegar per gallon of water. After the vinegar rinse, rinse again with plain water a time or two.  TipNut


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