I have some very precious doilies that need washing and very likely, blocking. These doilies are from my grandmother and my great grandmother. They are both crochet. The plan is to wash, block, and frame them so that my Mom can give them away to her brothers and sisters as presents. So, how would you go about it?
As you will, they are quite dirty. Unfortunately, we had a house fire in 2004, so, the dirt that is on them is probably soot.
Of course, I would like to get this done before we move in August, but I don't want to rush them either.
They are gorgeous, aren't they?
YOu might try a mild solution of Ivory Snow.ReplyDelete
Mostly you want to SOAK, RINSE, REPEAT until the water is clear after soaking.
What a fun thing for your mom to do for her siblings - they are beautiful!ReplyDelete
I would wash them in a mild handwashing type soap (like Woolite), using the soak/rinse/repeat method. When I crochet doilies, I then put them in a solution of 1/2 liquid starch-1/2 water and squeeze them out a bit, then lay them nice and flat (shaping them the way I want them) to dry. The liquid starch seems to give them just enough shaping stabilizer without making them stiff. I don't think that would hurt the older threads, but someone can correct me if I'm mistaken?
My favorite thing to treat stains and such is Liquid Clorox 2 because it doesn't ruin colors. But I think there are others who know more than me. Just a suggestion. :)ReplyDelete
You can also go to your local farm store and get some Orvus (it's also sold online). It's used to shampoo sheep for competition, but it's extremely mild and widely used for washing textiles (many museums recommend it). Same steps as above - wash, rinse, repeat until your rinse water is clear and clean.ReplyDelete
Those are amazing doilies. I can see where you get your crafting talents from.ReplyDelete
Please do not use Woolite. It is meant for animal fibers (wool, alpaca,etc), not plant fibers (cotton, rayon, linen, etc).ReplyDelete
I washed a cotton dress once in woolite, the color hadn't run before I did but after, the color runs every time I wash it, no matter what soap I use.
Woolite will unlock dyes on plant fibers.
I would suggest either Orvus or Ivory snow or another very mild soap or detergent. Do not use hand soap or shampoo as they can contain lotions that will leave oily residue.
If the stains are soot, and they don't seem to be coming out with repeated soaking, try using the original blue Dawn dish washing liquid on just one and see if that works.
I'm so glad to know about Woolite! I've used it on many doilies with no problem, but Orvus or Ivory Snow sound much milder.Delete
They are beautiful and worth saving, I would use washing up liquid, a mild one and leave then to soak in warm water for a while. It may take several washes, but do them by hand don't put them in a washing machine. I have tatted mats and doily which we think were done by my grand mother and are around a hundred years old. They had a few stains and it worked perfectly on them.
They certainly are gorgeous, and worth washing carefully. I'm also interested in Ladytat's comment. I know that different dyes are used for animal and vegetable fibres, so it makes sense that different soaps are used too.ReplyDelete
Yes they are goegeous. I ruined a white table cloth my mom made. I soaked it with a little bleach in the water. It fell apart.ReplyDelete
Oh no! That scares me! Did you ever figure out what went wrong?Delete
Oxiclean might be a possibility but only on whitesDelete
Actually Oxiclean works on colors too. I use it to soak old colored cotton doll clothes and they came out just beautifully. It took off some soiled spots that had been there for I don't know how long. I wouldn't use any hair conditioners as someone suggested as the chemicals in it might react with the fibers or soap you have used. To set the color you can use a bit of vinegar in the rinse water. Also to whiten them up you can do as our g-grandmothers did and lay the items out in the grass in the sun (not on freshly cut grass though).Delete
Thank you for all the tips! I think I will try the soaps that were mentioned, particularly the Orvus or the Ivory Snow.ReplyDelete
Then I will completely wash one before I even attempt to do the others.
Because of the soot, I'd try soaking (just one, as a test) in oxyclean dissolved in water. When I've acquired antique linens, including doilies and pillow cases, I've put them in this solution in a rubbermaid container and put the lid on. Sometimes I've had to leave them up to a week. But they were then restored.ReplyDelete
I recommend avoiding washing machines. Washing by hand is much safer. When gentled detergents such as Synthrapol haven't worked, I've found success with original blue Dawn, and sometimes with the dishwashing soap I get from Costco.
After all that work to get them clean, I sometimes put a few drops of a high quality hair conditioner into the final rinse.
Because some of those are three dimensional, the 50/50 starch water solution is a good idea. I've used silk pins to pin them to a board padded with old toweling.
The loops that need to stand up can be stuffed with bits of plastic wrap (from the roll in the kitchen).
Maybe you can find a good buy on some shadow boxes at a yard or craft sale for the three dimensional ones.