Friday, March 23, 2012

Vintage Science Friday...Episode 2

 (To preface this post, yes, this is science! There are chemicals involved, and chemicals = science, right?)

One of my favorite things to do is find some beautiful piece of vintage something-or-other that needs major TLC and fix it all up so it looks shiny and new.
Here are a few things I use to bring vintage pieces back to their former glory. But first, one note of caution! Use all these things with care. They're all strong stuff!

I mostly use the above items for textiles. I use the "Cold Water Wash" (it's like Woolite) for delicate things like scarves, sweaters, etc. I use *very* cold water and a capful of this stuff in a clean bucket...submerge your items gently, and then very gently swish them around a bit. Let soak for just a few minutes (10 max) and then rinse & rinse & rinse, with cold water. Lift the item out with great care...some fabrics are super-fragile when they're wet and you don't want to tear the fabric! Then lay it out flat to dry, on a towel or on a rack.
**********One quick note: you probably already know this, but you can't wash anything with a lining that's made of a different material! For instance, a beaded cashmere or wool sweater with a chiffon or satin-type lining. Usually the lining will shrink. Sometimes the outer part shrinks and not the lining. Either way = very bad. Take these items to a dry cleaner. You say your dry cleaner won't clean beaded things? Find a "theatrical" dry cleaner.**************

The Biz is remarkable stuff! I use that only on cottons and polyester-type, man-made materials. You can soak things for hours, even days...Biz is an enzyme wash and it works incredibly well on the type of yellowing you get on fabrics that have been stored away for decades. The Soft Scrub I use with the toothbrush only on tough, white fabrics that have resistant a vintage tablecloth. Scrub it on the spot, wait a few minutes, then rinse thoroughly.

The "Miracle Cleaning Eraser" (generic Magic Eraser) is great to take little scuffs off of glasswear, ceramics, and it takes magic marker/sharpie off of things, just be careful to use an extra-light's abrasive & it'll take the shine off, too!
The Rust Stain Remover here is an absolute miracle worker! Once I washed a sweater with metal buttons and then left it wadded up, damp, overnight (I know! Bad Vintage Owner! Bad!) this, of course, left huge horrible rust stains where the buttons were resting against the wet fabric. A little bit of this stuff and *Poof* the stains were gone! It was like a magic trick. Seriously.

Baby wipes are for things that can't be washed, like a fabric-covered handbag or belt, or a hat. They gently remove surface stains and don't seem to leave a residue.

Hot glue gun...I use this to stick down shoe insoles that are lifting at the heels. Also for lots of other things where you need instant adhesion. Watch your little fingers, though! that stuff's like napalm!

I have lots more tricks up my vintage sleeve, but I'll save some for another post...
I hope these things help :-)
Does anyone out there have tricks for cleaning & fixing up vintage items? Feel free to share!


  1. Thanks for the great tips! I am super duper lazy and never handwash anything - the best I do is to put my delicates into lingerie bags and wash them on the gentle cycle. Terrible, I know, but I have only ever ruined one item in a million years!

    Sarah xxx

    PS Dina - did you know that blogger has put Word Verification on your comments? It's easy to remove - I'll send you my first born if you take it off! Don't accept anonymous comments and you won't get spam - I promise!

  2. OK, Sarah, I took off the word verification!! So is that "first born" going to come Fedex or ??? Hehe ;-)

    Also~ I have a friend who puts all her cashmere sweaters in the washing machine! She's never had a casualty, but I'm too chicken for that!

  3. Thanks for all the fabulous tips! Xxxx

  4. what great tips.I am known for leaving wet clothes.lucky I haven't done it to my vintage things.I am afraid of shrinking