Vintage Clothes. ooh that smell

I had to jazz up a bit of a boring topic, didn’t I?Anyone who buys vintage clothes or comes in contact with old fabrics of any kind, knows they can be a little or more than a little musty. The smell is often difficult to remove with regular washing methods. Allowing the item to sit in sunlight for days is a great help as we all know. I’ve found that using a homemade detergent seems to work better at sweetening than store bought.  There are many recipes on the net for making your own detergent most a combination of pure soap, borax and washing soda, to make liquid water is added. This makes a pure, fragrance fee, laundry soap that’s safe, effective and economical.  I make and use it for fine washables. But I have a family and I’ve found that absolutely nothing cleans better than Tide.  Being the thrifty gal I am, I always have coupons and stock up on sales.  I tried the basic homemade detergent/ sunlight on vintage finds and I found it lacking in removing all the odor. So I played around with things and I came up with a formula that works great. It’s especially effective if soaked overnight  providing you’re pretty sure the garment can handle it.Also it doesn’t require the investment  borax if you don’t normally buy it.

Recipe as follows

1/2  bar laundry soap(Zote, Fels-Naptha, Octagone) OR  1/3 cup liquid castile soap. I use Zote because it’s sold locally for .79 and it smells of citronella which I associate with clean(that’s just me).

1 cup BAKING soda

1 cup Washing Soda (arm and hammer in the laundry isle)

1 cup Vinegar

A few drops essential oil(lavender, tea tree, orange, lemon any you think of as clean)

Grate the soap if using bar, as fine as you can. Mix in the sodas. Then add the vinegar  a little at a time. Last the oil.  You will think this is going to be a paste but with a bit of mixing out the lumps, will become a powder. This will keep in a covered container for a few months at least. I’ve always used it up before.

I boil a big ass stockpot of water then pour into paint bucket. I add in a bit of this(honestly I don’t measure, I just shake it in, probably equals about a tablespoon). I swish it around with a rubber glove on. I will swish it around  again occasionally. Soak overnight.

Rinse well, wring gently and lay in the sun.

Note the remaining 1/2 bar that’s still solid is a great stain pre treat. It’s also used for dish washing.

To further remove smells, use a store bought or homemade linen spray and iron thoroughly. The heat from the iron sort of sears the spray into the fabric.

Use Mrs Stuarts Bluing to brighten light colors instead of bleach.

Published in: on October 7, 2010 at 11:31 am  Leave a Comment  
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