Laces & Linens
Have you ever wondered how to clean those delicate antique laces and linens without damaging them? And
what are those strange rust-looking spots they sometimes develop? How do you safely store them to prevent
further aging and damage? We have put together a list of helpful cleaning and storing suggestions from
a few resources to answer these questions.
Those strange rust-looking spots that sometimes develop are mineral deposits left behind from
previous hardwater cleanings. If the article is particularly delicate, damaged, or very dirty,
professional dry cleaning is recommended. Most cotton linen and lace antique articles can be safely
cleaned by doing the following:
- Always wash articles in a stainless steele or plastic tub. Never use metal pots; they may leave
unwanted mineral deposits in the water.
- Fill the tub with softened or distilled room-temperature water as well as a mild detergent (a
baby detergent such as Dreft or Ivory works well). Gently stir the water with your hand to create
- Submerge the article in the detergent water, letting it rest for several minutes. Never scrub,
wring, or stretch the article. Always wash each article individually, changing the detergent water
between each wash.
- Rinse the article with clean softened water and lay flat on a white cotton cloth or terry cloth
- Dried articles can be wrapped in acid-free paper and/or stored in acid-free boxes. Never store the
articles directly on a wood surface; acids in the wood can further damage the items.
- Newer lace and linen items should be washed in the same way; doing this will prolong the lives of
- If there's ever any doubt about doing the cleaning yourself, consult a professional dry cleaner.
Better to ask than to destroy your antique heirlooms!
VictorianLiving.com's suggested resources
for linen and lace care and collecting:
Victorian Trading Company
- a beautiful selection of linens and laces for sale; linen wash and spray, also.
Trading Company - A Guide To
Lace and Linens, by Elizabeth M. Kurella; a book for the linen and lace collector.
Victorian Trading Company - The Linen Cupboard,
by Gloria Nicol; information on history, care, repair, and projects for linens.