When I sat down to plan blog posts for the new website I knew that I had to have my mam as a guest writer on the first post. She has built up quite a fan following on my Instagram account and despite her protestations to the contrary, I think she secretly loves her cameo appearances on my stories and all the lovely messages I get about her. There was a great response a couple of weeks ago when I shared her working her magic on a stained garment on my stories so I asked her to jot down all her tips for you. Hope this helps!
When I retired a few years back I looked forward to a quiet relaxing time when I might take up pastimes that would interest me, maybe learn another language – always fancied speaking French or perhaps perfect my knowledge of Bridge playing. Isn’t that what older people do?
Hasn’t turned out that way. The grandkids have come along and I find half my week taken up looking after them and the other half spent as laundress and seamstress in my daughter’s burgeoning vintage clothing business.
It seems that I have discovered talents that I wasn’t aware I possessed during my working life as a Finance Manager. My mother, god rest her soul, would balk at my newly found skills. I remember when I was starting grammar school girls had to choose between the sciences and Home Economics. My mammy stated clearly that I should go for the sciences as she could teach me all that I needed to know about domestic “science” Well, it looks as though she taught me well and I’m not too bad at this kind of household task.
And now my daughter is asking me to share my knowledge of laundry techniques with her followers. Please let me say that the following is more a testament to the years that my mother toiled working in a large laundry business, not to mention the time spent restoring clothes for her large family. Hope this helps with any problems with persistent stains or marks on clothes.
Oil/ grease - If the garment cannot be washed, I find that placing paper towels underneath, brown paper on top and then a hot iron on top of that will help draw the stain out. When you see the oil/grease transfer onto the brown paper rotate the paper towels underneath and the brown paper on top so there are clean sections above and below the stain. Repeat until the brown paper is no longer stained by the grease/ oil after pressing. If it is washable, simply apply washing up liquid, agitate and then launder as directed.
Rust marks - Apply white vinegar to area, leave in direct light until you see the stain lift. Launder as usual.
Sweat/ discolouration - Work concentrated liquid biological detergent in to the area and leave to soak for 1 hour before laundering.
Lipstick stains - Apply washing up liquid directly to area. Work it in, trying not to spread the stain any further. Launder as directed.
Mud - Always let this dry and brush/ rub off excess before laundering as directed.
Blood/ red wine - Rinse in cold running water as soon as possible until the water runs clear. Leave to soak in cold water until most of the stain has lifted and then wash with biological detergent.
Ballpoint pen - You’re never too old to learn and I’ve recently discovered an amazing method to remove pen stains. Just spray with hairspray and work into material. It’s magic!
These are my main tips but I find that if one thing doesn’t work, just persevere. Bicarbonate of soda mixed into a paste with water can help with stubborn blood stains. I try to use natural remedies and I find that one of the best treatments can be just hanging the damp garment in direct sunlight. Sometimes the stains just fall out.
Hope some of this is useful to you vintage garment lovers. It’s always worth trying to restore the beautiful pieces that are valuable. They don’t make clothes the way they used to!