Wednesday, July 27, 2016

folk science....plain and simple










It's still blazing hot out there. My dragonflies cling to the yucca tree, watching me as I lay wet vintage linens to dry in the blinding sun. Lucky contemplates life.

The best linen cleaning recipe I've found is the simplest one. Lemon juice and salt directly on the stain. Lay in sun till dry. Soak linens in a big pot of boiling HOT water with 1/4 cup of kosher salt and 1/2 cup of baking soda. (Be very careful as the combination of salt and baking soda foams everywhere. I found out the hard way.)
Rinse, rinse, rinse. Dry them in the sun and let the neighbors wonder what the heck you're doing.

And it works! The neighbors are confused and the linens are snow white.

Just look how grungy the blue and sort-of white potholders were before I soaked them in the pot and how incredibly CLEAN they were after soaking a few hours! And the tablecloth stain? It was older than I am. Now, it's gone!

I know, yes, I know now, why pioneer women were always boiling things.

22 comments:

  1. Wow....you aren't kidding. The stains are gone, the yellowish is gone and the white is brilliant! What a great labor of love. You are a brave soul tending to these pieces in the blazing heat.
    Lucky will soon find out there is a cool light at the end of the tunnel known as summer. We are half-way there! I am counting the days...

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    1. Might as well put that blazing sun to good use, right? ;)

      I really enjoyed this project and I have a whole new appreciation for the days before washing machines. I don't know how they did it!

      Meanwhile, I'm braving the heat and hanging in there. Hope you're doing the same.
      x

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  2. I just love that title!
    The table cloth with the red border...the little flowered fabric, it's sooo quaint.
    I'm sorry about the heat...I know you need Autumn.
    Hang in there Sagey. You've still got dragonflies to admire on these scorching days and pups who are awesome company come rain or shine! It won't last forever.
    I know....put that clock away...would that help? Hahaha.
    Thinking about you. ;)

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    1. We neeeeed Autumn like you wouldn't believe. But today....I counted seven dragonflies in the butterfly bush!
      How's the heat up that way? Hope you're faring better than we are.
      xx

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  3. Julie, hot is hot. What an interesting activity, something that has never crossed my world! I don't even own things like this. I learn a lot from your posts, and reading your blog. I'm hoping for some cooler weather for you. I can't even imagine. Come to NY, it's only 94 here. But we just had some rain finally. So perhaps tomorrow will not be an air alert day. Hugs, Amy

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    1. Amy! So good to see you here! I do love old things and I go off on tangents from time to time with the old/antique things I surround myself with. The linen experiment was the latest tangent. ;)

      They say we'll have a *chance* of rain some time next week. Time to start doing that rain dance in the back yard!

      Hugs right back to you!
      x

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  4. Oh my goodness!! That tablecloth looks gorgeous!! Now I'm not going to be afraid to pick up vintage linens at estate sales if I see a stain on them!! : ) Our heat has let up here a bit. We've even seen some rain in the last couple of days thankfully. There's been a water restriction alert posted for the county we moved from but not here yet. I hope it cools off for you soon. I know it must be hard for you all to stay indoors but it's probably just too darn hot to do anything else. Please give that little Lucky girl a smooch from her auntie Wendy!!! : ) xoxo

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    1. With all the vintage linens I cleaned/restored, there was only ONE tablecloth that I could not get clean. It had two stubborn spots and I finally decided to let it go and live with it.
      All in all, it was absolutely amazing to see how clean this stuff got! With baking soda and salt! Who would have thought?

      And.....it rained last evening! It thundered. It poured from the sky. And it gave me hope.

      Lucky sends a big, wet puppy kiss right back at you!
      xx

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  5. I have some old hankies too. I have always loved them. I recently found a mint condition antique table runner in an earth ecru tone! Bobbles hanging on the ends and all. I could not pass it up. Anyway, I will note your tried and true, pioneer-ed method of cleaning linens. I'm so glad you shared this. Your pieces are gorgeous! xo!!

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    1. Old handkerchiefs are so sweet. I cannot resist them! And the table runner sounds awesome! Mint condition!
      And now that I've conquered the vintage linen pile, I wonder what experiment I can dream up next?
      xx

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  6. good lord. tell me it ain't so, that temperature. holy coyote.

    so glad you shared these little *homesteader wife hints....

    [and there's that lucky....so precious....!]

    xx

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    1. Yes, it's so. LL Bean never lies. ;)
      But....yesterday we had RAIN! RAIN! RAIN! and the temp was 63 degrees! Hasn't been that cool since......March?
      xx

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  7. thanks so much for the recipe - I'll have to give it a try!

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    1. It was so easy and the results amazed me!

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  8. love all natural cleaning recipes like this ... hubby used something similar to scrub our outside (cloth) swing and it now looks brand new :-) Love all your gorgeous images ... Happy August!

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    1. I so think these natural recipes work the best....and do the least amount of damage to the fibers.
      Happy August to you too! (I am so glad July and the heat it brought are in the past!)

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  9. oh perfect - i love this and will be trying the recipe!

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    1. Highly recommended recipe....it worked wonders on the vintage linens!
      And thanks for stopping by!

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  10. I love your collection of vintage linens. I'm writing down your recipe and giving it a whirl.
    Your photos, as always, are beautiful!

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    1. I have such a soft spot for vintage linens. It was such a fulfilling project to see them come back to life.
      And yes, give the "recipe" a try. It worked like magic!

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  11. Your linens are beautiful! Quite a nice collection, and the enamel tub for boiling is just spot on! I'll be trying this recipe. I love using simple kitchen ingredients for cleaning just about anything. So much nicer than some horrible smelling goop from a technicolor plastic bottle. Pioneer women for the win!

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    1. Love that old enamel pot! I've had it forever. Putting the recipe together from kitchen basics was a great learning experience. Sometimes the pioneer ways are the best!

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