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Cleaning old doilies


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13 replies to this topic

#1 ballpienhammer

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Posted 25 September 2007 - 04:11 PM

Picked up a boxfull of old crocheted thread doilies and table squares at auction.
Most are off-white in color; some ecru. Several have stains which Appear to be coffee stains.
These are not yarn but regular chrochet thread(the kind your Mom had on the table under the lamp, fruitbowl or centerpiece).
I want to clean them but have no idea the proper way.
Launder? Hand wash? Soak in tide?
Helllllllllllllp!

#2 The Shrone

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Posted 25 September 2007 - 04:43 PM

My suggestion is, if they are white, you can hand-wash them in a good brand of hand-washable liquid detergent, like Woolite, and you can use a touch of bleach to get those stains out. If the doilies are ecru, then use the detergent and try using one of those "oxy" or color-safe bleaches. Let the doilies soak for awhile in the suds and slosh them around.

If the stain is resistant, I would try using a soft-bristle toothbrush on it, but don't go crazy with scrubbing. You'll make the thread fuzz, especially if the thread is of the "cheap" variety.

Once the doilies are clean, you'll need to re-block them. To do this you lay it out on a board, stretch it back into place, and then pin it with rust-proof pins to make sure it stays in place. To set the shape you spray some regular fabric starch on it and let it dry.

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#3 Knit Happens

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Posted 25 September 2007 - 05:33 PM

A soak in a mixture of warm water with baking soda and hydrogen peroxide might help.
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#4 sfgwife

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Posted 25 September 2007 - 08:44 PM

I would just tea stain them and the stains wouldn't show. They will vary in darkness with the length of time you leave them in the tea.
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#5 Real Deal

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Posted 25 September 2007 - 09:53 PM

Borax. Lukewarm water, detergent and borax. Soak and soak. Swish it around once in a while. The items will eventually come clean. You might have to do them a couple times.

It seems like nobody knows what this is anymore. In the detergent section, look for 20 Mule Team Borax in a box. Borax has been used forever on clothes that have been packed away in attics, and get that musty smell. Or you unpack the clothes and they now have strange stains on them, even though you know they were packed away clean.

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#6 ballpienhammer

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Posted 26 September 2007 - 05:45 AM

Thanks all, for the advice(s). On another forum I also posted the same query. Number one reply was Lemon Juice, salt and tepid H20. What do you knitters think about that?
I don't want to damage them. There are about twenty in all and very well done and intricate(you gotta remember, I am a fisherman and car mechanic; transmission linkage is intricate to me, as well! LOL).
Thanks for all the replies. I will most likely try 3 pie plates: one with the borax solution, one with salt/lemon juice/H20 and one with baking soda/warm water. None are white. All are various colors of ecru-off white.

#7 oldbonboys

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Posted 26 September 2007 - 06:22 AM

My answer would be a solution of Napisan. But I'm not sure if this is only an Australian thing.

I used it on all of my baby woollens and crocheted items.

Good Luck with whichever method you use.

Dianne

#8 Real Deal

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Posted 26 September 2007 - 07:35 AM

By the way, don't use those aluminum foil pie plates. I think the lemon juice will react with the metal. I don't know about the others. When in doubt, you can use glass, ceramic, enamel and most plastic bowls, basins, and tubs. I have a couple large enamelware pans that are great for soaking.

Just think of this as a project like soaking gunk out of a carburetor. You'll do fine.

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#9 ballpienhammer

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Posted 26 September 2007 - 11:42 AM

Thanks, RD. Where in the Finger Lakes? I live in Ithaca for a while.

#10 NanaM3

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Posted 26 September 2007 - 12:03 PM

take a look at this thread I had back in the summer ... several excellent ideas and pictures

http://www.crochetvi...ead.php?t=56445
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#11 Real Deal

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Posted 26 September 2007 - 06:26 PM

Small world. I'm in Waterloo, one town over from Seneca Falls, which is at the other end of the lake from Ithaca.
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#12 ballpienhammer

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Posted 01 October 2007 - 04:01 AM

OK, thanks. My uncle retired in Seneca Falls. I worked for Jamesway stores in Ithaca 3 yrs-late 60's.

#13 craftslady1

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Posted 13 June 2014 - 10:59 AM

Mama's Miracle Linen Soak is a new product made especially to remove stains from old doilies, and really, all sorts of vintage or antique linens. It's the best way I've ever found to remove yellow and brown stains from crochet, without harming it. You just mix up the solution and soak the items for however long it takes (anywhere from an hour to a couple of days). Then rinse them and those stains are gone!

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#14 Ellie 13

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Posted 14 June 2014 - 10:03 AM

Will any of these ideas work on doilies with colored flowers/leaves on them :think ? I've hand washed white/ecru doilies, but not multi colored ones. I usually just shake out the dust, washing/blocking is a hassle, but mine need more than a shaking now.

Ellie 13


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