Friday, September 24, 2010
NO Wire Hangers..How to Care for Vintage Lingerie and Delicates
A recent Estate purchase of a most beautiful vintage nightgown prompted me to write this. A stunning white nylon gown loaded with the most beautiful lace, just destroyed.
How? from being on a wire hanger. And no.. I'm not going to go all Mommie Dearest on you.. but wire hangers are NOT vintage clothing's friends.. or anyone's for that matter.
The lace on this gown is entirely ruined. The weight of the gown combined with years on a wire hanger have worn the lace completely thin and actually broke the lace along the shoulders.
NEVER never ever put your delicate vintage nightgown on a hanger. If you must, please use the padded hangers aptly called 'lingerie hangers".. these are great for blouses as well or anything delicate. Never put nightgowns that have lace or spandex straps, like an Olga on a hanger. The weight of the gown, the stretch of the fabric will result in extra long straps and a gown a few inches longer. Not to mention most likely unwearable. you will not be able to "un stretch" the straps.
Store vintage delicates folded in a drawer, using acid free tissue between each piece. Never store in plastic, the fabric needs to breathe.
Every single item I purchase, no matter how "immaculate" the estate stays outside until I can wash it. The exception being items new with tags. If you don't know the home, how the item was stored, re washing is always the best option.
When washing vintage, if it was made after 1972, will have required fabric care labels and washing instructions.
If you do use the washing machine with a delicate cycle, some items can go into a lingerie laundry bag and into the machine. Laundry bags are little mesh bags with zippers. They allow suds to penetrate as well as rinse water through the mesh while protecting the item from agitation and possible tearing. They are a VERY inexpensive investment for the protection they provide, and are usually only a few dollars at Walmart. I include one in every purchase from me as a small gift to my customers. they are wonderful.
Preferring the "old fashioned" method of hand washing, and I just use my kitchen sink with the following method.. Common sense dictates to NOT mix colors, wash only like colors together. Color does run, most particularly in vintage with older dyes used.
1. Fill sink with LUKEWARM water (never hot!)
2. Pre-treat all stains. You can use the Woolite or product you are washing it with, applying a dot of detergent to the area and gently rub it. An extra soft baby tooth brush works well on some fabrics, but be careful as it can break the fabric fiber.
3. Add very mild soap, you can use Woolite or any brand of baby laundry detergent like Ivory Snow or Dreft. if an item is very soiled, I love my Wisk.. just a teeny tiny bit as it is a strong detergent but it does the job gently.
4. Mix detergent in water to create suds, add your items. Do no more than two at a time to soak. Allow them to soak about an hour usually, if bad, overnight.
5. Swish item in the water gently to make sure its clean. Do not rub, do not wring.
6. Rinse well, and rinse at least twice to make sure all the detergent is removed. Let the water run over the item until it is clear. Again, do not wring or twist. On the second rinse you can add a drop of fabric softener and let the item soak a few minutes in the softened water, then rinse that out thoroughly.
7. Lay flat to dry. I usually put towels on my kitchen table, roll the item in the towel to remove excess, then lay it flat on the towel. Some items can be hung to dry on a padded hanger. I also hang many items outside to dry under my covered porch.
*DO NOT hang lingerie in direct sunlight. Whites will yellow, colors will fade.
* If an item has a strong moth ball, cigarette or other offensive odor I add a tiny bit of ammonia to the wash water. This removes all odors, and is also good for "brightening" colors.
* Never use Bleach..even on white nylon it will cause it to yellow.
* Blood stains can often be removed with Hydrogen Peroxide (not the hair peroxide!) on a Q-tip to the area, and rinse immediately as often the peroxide will cause the blood to run. You can do it directly under the running water, applying peroxide, rinsing as you go until the blood is removed.
* If you have a peignoir set, make sure you wash both items at the same time. We wear the gowns more often than the robes, so often neglect the robes. The result will be a gown that is faded from wash, and a nice bright color robe.. washing together will keep them the same color.
* Although washable, Rayon and silks will often shatter. They also wrinkle terribly when washed. I would recommend dry cleaning on those items. Remember, if they are from 1940's they are SIXTY years old.. please handle with care.
* Never put Chiffon in the dryer. Never iron Chiffon. it does steam nicely if you have a steamer.
These are just a few basic "common sense" tips.. I'm sure there are a million other tips, but these are the basics. Your vintage items have held up for decades. Treasure them, and treat them accordingly ~ With proper care and attention, they will last decades more.
(C)2010 VonVintagePretties ~ reprints allowed WITH permisson and credit only please.