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Earlier this summer I purchased a bunch of mid-century linens from a local online auction. They consisted of mainly tablecloths, napkins, furniture scarves/runners and handkerchiefs.
Many of the handkerchiefs and napkins were new and had never been used. So those went directly in our booth at the Port City Co-op and are priced between $2 – $5 each depending on how colorful and detailed they are. Most of them are $3.00 & $4.00.
The cutwork tablecloths and napkins are gorgeous! I would have kept them except for the fact that they are too large for our table. We just recently sold our Amish made formal dining room set so that we could have room for a McDougall Hoosier style cabinet and matching porcelain top table and four wooden chairs. I will do a post on that refinishing project soon.
Cleaning your linens
The linens I purchased were in good shape and not too old, so I was able to wash most of them in the washing machine. If you have a front loader, that is great, as an agitator might damage older linens. I washed the tablecloths and furniture scarves in a mixture of Arm & Hammer Washing Soda, Borax and Baking Soda. I used distilled white vinegar as the softener. I soaked them for several hours then completed the load on the delicate cycle. I line dried when possible and used the dryer as needed. Most of the linens I washed were 100% cotton, so they held up well. I ironed everything after it was dry to make them look nice.
If you have very delicate linens or linens with lace, you will want to hand wash them to avoid damage. I would also suggest doing some more research online that is specific to the type of linens you have. You don’t want to throw something valuable in the washing machine only to find it ruined when you take it out.
For white or off-white linens, I love OxiClean to help remove stains. Be careful using OxiClean on brightly colored vintage linens as it can fade the colors if the concentration of OxiClean to water is too high.
You can also use hydrogen peroxide to help remove stains on white linens. Sometimes just a day in the sun is all you need to remove the stains. As I experiment with more stain removal techniques, I will be sure to update this post.