Here is a great article from this site... http://www.sewtiqueonline.com/vintage_lace.htm
A vintage lace often is brittle, tired looking and sometimes very soiled. It is possible to wet clean old lace, with care in handling, and allow plenty of time. The process cannot be hurried. The lace may be years old, and the pollution will not be removed instantaneously. Patience is a prime ingredient.
Read and review the “tips” provided in the “LACES” article for wet cleaning. The soaking process will include addition of borax (l to 3 tbs.) to the soak water. It is suggested that a mild liquid soap be used for the cleaning method.
If necessary to use bleach, it can be done after all soil is removed. Bleach is available in liquid, flake, or powder form. Chlorine Bleach must never be used with vintage fiber or fabric. Sodium perborate is the only safe bleach and will not damage lace. Sodium peroxide can be used, safely, and is slower acting, and best used with silk fiber.
The rinsing of lace is delicate and again, lace should be squeezed by hand, to remove any suds. If a scum shows on the water, add 3 tbs. white vinegar to the rinse water to remove any detergent on soap from the washing. Always do a final rinse.
Lace used as an accessory of fashion or furniture can be starched for additional firmness. However, starch should never be applied to lace is to be preserved, as starch can attract insects.
To repair lace, use tiny stitches with thread of same color and fiber as original. Repairs should be made after the lace is cleaned for a good match.
When lace is purchased, or a lace trimmed article, cotton is the preferred fiber as it is most durable for easy care and maintenance. Nylon, as a fiber, is a scavenger and will pick up dye when washed with colored articles. Therefore, nylon lace should be cleaned only with white or light articles, or washed separately by hand.
Lace bonded to another fabric, such as a blouse, may not wash well, as the adhesive when wet may separate and layers come apart. Always hand launder.
For assistance in lace repair, restoration, or preservation contact Evelyn S. Kennedy at 860 464 2001 or by e-mail Textileappraisal@aol.com
391 Long Hill Road
Groton, CT 06340
Does anyone know if we have this product in the US?? I have some linens with stains that I would like to try it on.
Faded Grandeur said:I find a wonderfully easy and gentle way to clean antique handmade lace is to soak it in OXY (sometimes called Vanish-OXY). I use the powder form but liquid form is available too. Add hand-hot water from the tap (faucet), dissolve the OXY, then add the lace (works equally well with linens) and soak for about 2 days or longer if really soiled. Rinse really well. I then line dry outside in fresh French mountain air, and they come up like new! OXY is not harmful to the environment either, so my conscience as well as my lace and linens are clean!!
Even if the linen has color in it??
LinensandThings said:Oxiclean, as found at all the local grocery stores, is my standard cleaning agent in combination with Tide without any additives. I use the two together on all linens and laces usually with boiling water. I do not use bleach or starch, and do not recommend them.
I'm reading alot on using oxy in this discussion! Oxyclean products are extremely strong! The rule with antique / vintage linens is to use least harmful first... first thing is a gentle soak in plain water, which will remove alot of dirt and storage staining. Antique / vintage lace is delicate, so use a gentle baby detergent, such as Ivory Snow, first. Soak your lace in a clear plastic tub, or basin, that you can see through. When soaking tea stained, or colored lace, it is good to watch in case the color starts to bleed. If it bleeds, or runs, you can remove it and immediately put it in cold water.
I will post my notes on The Care And Storage Of Vintage Linens as a blog here.