Saturday, April 6, 2013

Stains-Don't be afraid!!

When I first started collecting linens, I NEVER, EVER bought anything with a stain-just ask my friend Auntie-she'll tell you all the great stuff I passed up! That all changed when I bought my first Christmas tablecloth on Ebay. I got it, and it had a penny sized, tan colored stain on it-ugh! It wasn't disclosed in the listing, and I almost sent it back for a refund. The only thing that stopped me was the fact that I was in love with the design!

So, I got busy searching the web for ways to safely remove stains in vintage linens without lightening the colorful designs. I've tried all kinds of concoctions, potions, and recipes and the best thing I've found is also the easiest--plain old powder BIZ.

Warm water, with the BIZ dissolved, lots of time to soak, a quick rinse, and a good while to hang in the sun to finish the job! Now I never walk away from linens with stains...I only walk away from holes...and that is getting to be less and less too, because I am getting ideas for "projects" with the good parts.

Most of the time it takes more than one (or even a few soakings) to get the stains out, so I guess patience is part of the "recipe" too. Once the water turns yellow or brown, empty it out and start again. You will be amazed at the smells that come out of linens when you put them into the water, as well as the grime. Sometimes things look pretty clean, but I decide to soak them anyway, and those are the ones that usually are the dirtiest!

It works on hankies, tablecloths, napkins, runners, placemats, pillow cases, blankets-anything linen. You need to pay special attention to embroidered items, so embroidery floss will run, so that water needs to be lukewarm to cool. If the stain doesn't come out after it has dried on the line, repeat the process until it does. I have soaked a bunch of tablecloths and hankies at the same time, I just make sure they are all the same color-not that any of them have run---just in case!

You may want to wear gloves because it is harsh on your hands, and if you drip on your floor-watch out-it is slippery!

I found that oxy was too harsh and ended up damaging the fibers, and all of the other concoctions required too much effort, expense, items, etc. I have one tablecloth that is my pride an joy as far as stain-removal goes. I got it for $1.67 and it had a big black sharpie stain on it. After about 3 or 4 times of working seriously on it, I've gotten it about 90% out!

Try it, and let me know what you think. I tell everyone about it, and so far everyone has had good success!  It even works on baby clothes.


  1. I bought a crocheted baby blanket and soaked it in Biz. The stains did come out, but the color of the blanket changed from a pretty off white to a grayer off white. Has this happened to any of your linens?

    1. Hi PJ!
      Thanks for stopping by! I've never had that happen...every time I've used it, I've had things come out brighter. Did you hang it in the sun? Hope it didn't ruin it for you!!! Maybe try to soak it again to see if you can lighten it back up again...?

  2. Thank you for sharing your cleaning tip! I have many linens that need cleaning, so BIZ it is!