I have white dinner and cocktail cotton napkins which I love to use. They were hand embroidered by my mom which makes them even more special to me. The challenge is getting them clean after a party. I am afraid to bleach because am afraid it will ruin the colors in the embroidery but sometimes even when I scrub and scrub I just can't get the stains out. I tried the shout liquid stain remover - so so. Also tried Oxyclean - with that I soaked it for hours and helped some but fell below expectations based on their commercials.
Sherrywood, Just like you, I have had problems with getting whites to come out as clean as I would like - no many what product or technique I use! And I understand the value and sentiment these napkins hold for you, so I suggest that you use a professional dry cleaners service to clean them.
Yes, it will be more expensive but the money isn't nearly as important as the napkins themselves are to you. To keep costs down, perhaps you could buy other napkins which will stand up to washing and use them for most occasions. Save the ones your mother embroidered for the really special times....
BTW, how did your catered party turn out? What was the final head-count re the RSVPs? You never posted back ~ think a lot of posters would be interested!
There have been very few stains I haven't been able to soak away in a solution of powdered Tide detergent and a color-safe powdered bleach. I was able to remove 25-year old formula stains from stored baby undershirts with this method.
For food stains, dissolve about 1/3 of a scoop of Tide and half a scoop of the dry bleach [I use Clorox II.] into a gallon or so of hot water in a 5-gallon bucket or basin. Once dissolved, add very warm water to fill the bucket about 2/3 of the way. (Use similar proportions to mix more or less solution according to need.) Add the fabric, swish, and let soak for 48 hours. Most stains will be gone then; if not, mix new solution and repeat the process. Spin and rinse, then launder using slightly less detergent than usual, as there will be some remaining from the soaking solution.
Most "modern" embroidery threads (since the '60s at least) are colorfast, but you will want to make sure to test yours just in case. You could use a cold water soak to prevent running colors, but it might take longer for the stains to disappear.
Some stains require cold water for removal. In those cases, dissolve the powders in hot water and add cold water for the remainder.
I personally have had too many nice things ruined by incompetent dry cleaners, and so would never take any prized possessions to one. It would hurt less if I ruined them myself than if I had to pay money for them to do it!This message has been edited. Last edited by: nettiejay,
I also have similar napkins that my mother embroidered for me, but mine are light blue. I never use bleach. I soak them immediately after a dinner and have been able to get stains out--someone once put a napkin on cranberries at the Thanksgiving table--but the deep red stain came out. If I didn't get the stains out I would find a dry cleaner who specializes in old or vintage clothes. In my area the local theatres use such a dry cleaner for their costumes, etc. It may cost more but they do know what they are doing. If you have stains on more than one napkin, I would have them clean one and see what happens. I would hate to ruin them on my own and not even try to find someone who can help me. I have seen programs on vintage clothes such as christening dresses that were once easily washed but now are more fragile and need tender care. Just because the fabric is cotton or linen doesn't mean that it may not need extra care.
I have a huge collection of linens and used to deal in them. Embroidery threads have for a very long time been color fast.
I used a formula similar to Nettiejays in soaking a large lot of soiled linens I wanted to sell. 1/3 C clorox (liquid) 1/3 C tide, 1/3 c powdered dish detergent. Soak and then rinse and launder as usual. Now of course these items as much as I liked and admired them were not personal to me. But this did work.
Also what might be more appropriate for your use, Sherrywood is to boil your linens. Just get a big pot and put it on the stove and immerse the napkins (you could use some baking soda) and boil for about 15 minutes. This method will not hurt the linens! I used to do this even with delicate Christening gowns. You will be amazed at how black the water gets, but it does not fade the linens.
Immediately - and I do mean IMMEDIATELY! - pretreat/soak/wash any stained napkin. Most people use paper napkins now-a-days and "proper napkin etiquette" is not widely known.
Lipstick wearers (of which I am one)
1. The cloth dinner napkin is not for blotting your lipstick. MOF you should remove it with a tissue before using your napkin...I'm serious!
2. Do not wipe your mouth with a cloth dinner napkin.
3. Use the cloth dinner napkin to dab at the corner of your mouth.
4. A napkin is NOT a handkerchief!!!!!!!!!
The only exception to the above rules...if you're eating barbeque at my house, I use bandanas for napkins...wipe away!
Does this hat make my butt look big?
Isn't it amazing how many people use lovely napkins to mop up their plates or blot their lipstick? I guess a lot of people do not know how to eat properly. Too much fast food and too little emphasis on manners. I did google stains and vintage linens, etc. There is a surprising amount of info about the topic. I guess the main idea is to take small steps at first and then move on to more drastic treatments.
I'm surprised that Oxiclean didn't work for you. I've gotten dried red wine stains out by soaking them overnight in Oxiclean. I can't imagine anything harder than that.
Mom embroidered the napkins about a year ago. We got the thread from either hobby lobby or hanock fabrics. They are cor fast to come degree but i still saw some runing o the colors on a few napkins ater soaking. There were faint red and green blotches on a few of the napkins that were a fainter version of the red and green thread colors. In a few cases the food stain was gone only to be replaced by the color stain. Thankfully it only happened on a few.
Thanks for the suggestions. I've written down those combos and will try one of them next time.
I posted back about the party under te original post re RSVPs
I wonder if one of those color catcher sheets that you use in your washer would work to keep the dye from running. Those sheets get mixed reviews, but they might be worth a try.
Graciepj -- the color catchers don't keep the dye from running, they just "catch" any excess dye that is released from the fabrics. They are wonderful for their intended purpose. There are other products to set the dyes in fabrics. Here's a link to an informative site.
Retayne and Synthropol
Life isn't about how to survive the storm, but how to dance in the rain.
Thanks for the info.
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