I got these stain removal hints from three different Martha Pullen (Sew Beautiful Magazine) email newsletters. I found that I personally like this formula:
HOT WATER (enough to fill a big, clear plastic tub) , equal parts(about a cup of each) BIZ and the blue DAWN LIQUID DISH DETERGENT. I use a wooden spoon to mix the clothes around.
I throw all the stained clothes into the tub of hot water ( make sure the clothes are all the same color, don’t mix colors and whites) and let it sit for a couple days. if the stains are still there, I leave them in the water up to a week. then I dump the entire tub of clothes and soapy water into the washer. If there’s still stains, I repeat the process. (THIS FORMULA IS VERY SLIMY SO WEAR GLOVES)
I have used this method on yellowed heirloom pieces, and the heirloom clothes that I make. the only difference is that after I soak the item, I rinse it well and then I lay the item on a big towel, roll it up like a long snake, and then wring the excess water out. I hang it to dry.
Oh! and I just want to add that I accidentally washed an off-white piece of fabric with some red which turned it pink (ugh) and after soaking it in biz and hot water for a couple of days, it’s as good as new! The fabric was still wet from the washer when I started soaking it, and I agitated it and rinsed it out a couple of times and changed the water at least 2 or 3 times. To any of you who aren’t sure about it, all I can say is it’s worth a try, the fabric/clothes are ruined anyway so why not try it out!
I’d love to get some comments on this subject, so let me know what you think! (success? bad experience? I want to know!)
TIP FOR REMOVING BABY SPIT UP FROM SUE , SAN JOSE, CA
To remove set in stains – especially from old baby clothes – I use a plastic bucket or dishpan, the hottest water the fabric will stand (enough to submerge garment completely), and equal parts Dawn liquid (original blue Dawn) and Clorox 2 powdered bleach (usually 1/4 cup of each). Put hot water in pan/bucket, put in Dawn and Clorox 2, add garment(s) with stains, weight down with plate or bowl to keep fabric submerged and leave for 24 hours. Next day dump all into washer with regular detergent and wash/dry as usual. I’ve removed spit up and formula stains that were over 10 yrs old from baby clothes, including heavy knits, with no loss of color. Only once did I have to repeat the process. I did not come up with this. I saw it on TV many years ago. Don’t even know the show but remember the lady used it on old wedding gowns and baby clothes and antique linens.
A second hint – Since it is apparent I am unable to eat without wearing part of my meal on my front I now keep a bottle of Dawn at my washer and liberally douse grease spots on my own knit tops with it as I put them in the machine. Sometimes I have to repeat once or twice again (this after I’ve removed them from the dryer and see that there is still a spot) but have removed even the worst stains from all but two tops over the past 12 yrs. I think of all the clothes I’ve had to toss because I couldn’t get spots out over the years and know this is a winner!
LETTER ABOUT ANTIQUE CHRISTENING DRESS WHICH IS STAINED BUT VERY FRAGILE FROM BETTY BUSH
I enjoy reading your weekly newsletter especially the helpful hints. When I was attending one of your licensing classes, you told us how you wash, clean and renew your antique christening gowns. I have just mended a friend’s gown that was first used in the 1890’s and has been used by the family many times since. She wants to use it again but is has yellowed especially around the bodice. The dress is very fragile and she wants to know the best way to clean it. Although I know that I wrote down what you told us, I can’t find it anywhere. Could you please send it to me again? Thank you very much for you assistance. I’m hoping to see you in June. I want to take the beginning licensing sewing class.
(Answer from Martha: Betty, if the dress is fragile I would simply wash it and use it stained. I only use the Biz bucket on things which are in good to very good condition. This family treasure might be copied into a new dress and the antique one framed in a shadow box. Then the new dress could be worn for many years. The historic information might be stitched into the slip of the new dress that it was a copy, etc. etc. In the shadow box a picture of the new baby who wore the reproduction might be included. On the back of the frame family history could be slipped into an envelope which is pasted to the back. Lots of ideas but I would not try to get stains out of a very fragile family treasure. Thanks for writing.)
QUESTION ABOUT CLEANING OLD LINENS AND QUILTS FROM PHYLLIS FROM ALABAMA
What is the formula for the Biz bucket? My daughter has some old linens and quilts that were found in her husband’s old home place that are stained and she needs to know how to treat them.
(Note from Martha:Phyllis I soak dirty “old things” which are in very good condition, I might add, in a plastic mop bucket of water and one cup of BIZ. Soak as long as you want to soak. For things in very good condition, I also fill my washing machine with water and put 2 cups BIZ and put the garments in mesh zip up bags and soak for as long as necessary. I have a hand wash setting on my machine and then I wash, still in the mesh zip up bags on HAND WASH. If you have something of museum quality I suggest getting a museum curator to advise about cleaning. None of my things are “top museum quality” and I don’t like dirty antique anything. I like mine to be clean. I have used the BIZ bucket for over 30 years and nothing has been ruined yet. Once I left suitcases of our gorgeous heirloom clothes for several weeks after taking them on a trip. I had not known that they had been left out in the rain at one airport (hard sided s uitcases) and that the contents were wet. When I opened the suitcases to prepare for the next trip everything in both suitcases were black with mold. I filled our bathtub up with water and put a whole box of Biz in and soaked for a day. I filled it up with another box of Biz for soaking overnight. For about 3 days and nights I soaked and truly, truly all of that black mold came off of our heirlooms. Only one of my pale blue silk dresses turned a beautiful shade of gray. That is the only change that was made after these days of soaking the “totally ruined and black molded clothing.” They all came perfectly clean.)