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How do you clean handkerchiefs with delicate embroidery?

I bought some hankies in Mexico at Chichen Itza. They were only a dollar each, but they have the prettiest embroidery. Some of them fell on the ground and got muddy. How can I safely clean them without damaging the embroidery? I believe all the materials are cotton.

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5 Responses to “How do you clean handkerchiefs with delicate embroidery?”

  1. Bunny said :

    The following is step by step instructions, on how to clean antique linens: Fortunately the cheapest and easiet to find is also the best in terms of cleaning and least damaging to fragile fibers.
    Since the fibers are of unknown age and the past storage conditions are also unknown, treat each piece as though it would dissolve: Photograph it first. Then if it dissappears, you know what it looked like. A hundred passed years of ill treatment is not your fault. Sometimes the only thing holding the fibers together is memory and tradition…all you are seeing is the shadow of the fabric made of the dirt that is layered over the disintegrated fiber. If bits of the fiber rub off on your fingers, it is too late to clean it. Lay the remains on acid free paper in an acid free box so it is never touched again but can be viewd for its historic value. However, if you can confidently hold the item in your hand without shredding past your fingers, you can likely clean it and remove the accumulated acids and dirt that time has put on them.

    Mix up a solution of 1 gallon water (distilled if you have rust), 1/4 cup Lemon Joy Dishwashing Liquid, 1/4 Cup Snowy nonchlorine bleach, liquid or powder. Other solutions invented since the testing may also do the job very well, but I have been very happy with this one for cleaning even the wispiest of antique laces. I usually keep a quart canning jar on my kitchen counter with solution and lace in it so I can watch it while it soaks.

    If you suspect fragility, lay the item between two sheets of washed cotton fabric, make a row of stitches (to form a sandwich of the three layers) around the outside of, but not touching the specimen. If it is so strong you could pull an ox with it, must lay the unsandwiched specimen in the solution. The next step is important! GO AWAY! Go shopping, take a nap, read a book. Do not fuss with the wet specimen. Do not swish it arround. Just let it lay there and let the solution do its job. Fiber is at its most fragile while wet.

    After a while or even a couple of days, the solution will discolor wit hthe floating dirt. Pour off the solution into the sink. Save the specimen by catching it with a cloth laid in a colander over the sink. Roll it gently out rather than imitate a smashing fall from a cliff. Do not pick it up by itself yet. Gently pour fresh water through it. Make another batch of solution and roll the specimen into it. Again, leave it along.

    The procedure may take several tries till the solution remains clear. The amount of fabric and dirt in the soulution will also determine the number of fresh soaks required to clean the specimen. It it is lightly soiled, one may be enough. If it si dark brown/orange with dirt and grease, it will take more repeats. Nearly everything I have cleaned in this manner, regardless of dirt level, has cleaned very well without damage. Rinse for the last ime by leaving the specimen in a fresh batch of water, using the roll into and out of solution method. If you can see discoloration of the solution, rinse again, and again, and again if necessary. The idea is to remove all trace of everthing except clean fiber. How rinsed is rinsed? If you wouldn’t drink the rinse water, do it again

  2. Genny said :

    Put the handkerchiefs into a small laundry bag and wash in cold water with Tide. If you can hang them out to dry and iron them .

  3. dimpelmum said :

    Soak them in cold water and wash with natural soap. Then hang them outside in the sun, This way any remaining stains will be bleach out the natural way by the sun

  4. roxyroilly said :

    you dont blow into them because you cant really clean them

  5. sen said :

    handwash with water and soap or little bit of detergent. don’t leave it soaking for long or the colors will bleed a bit,


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