Recently, I bought a big mystery box at an auction. It was loaded with vintage "Redwork".
I pride myself on having VERY GOOD LUCK with laundering vintage linens -- even if they start out stained, yellowed and looking TERRIBLE. Here's a quick lesson:
1. Soak the linens overnight in warm water. The logic here is that cotton and linen are natural fibers -- and if they have been stored for years -- they are dry and brittle. SOAKING revitalizes the fiber and makes them STRONG -- you need to do this BEFORE adding detergents or soap, so they can ABSORB the cleaning agents...
2. The Second Soak is with a full measure of OxyClean. Overnight is good.
3. NOW -- wash in the machine, a regular cycle with warm water. With OxyClean again. After this wash, hang the linens and look again to see if any stains or yellowing came out. If not, now is the time to pre-treat.
4. For pre-treatment of stubborn stains, I like the spray bottle of Oxy-Clean. I've also had good luck with rubbing the stain with a bar of old fashioned Fels Napta soap. If the stain is on a pillowcase, yellowing can be caused by hair oil. In that case -- I use shampoo as a pre-treat.
In another post -- I'll show how my new vintage redwork came out, after a night of SOAKING, and then three different "washes". The linens turned out GREAT....it's the camera I'm having trouble with...ugh...