Washing Linens Embroidered with Colored Thread

A recent question:

We [have] a white tablecloth that … was done with blue cotton floss. Parts of the fabric are “yellowed” probably from storage? How do we clean this without having the blue thread bleed into the fabric?

ANSWER: This is tricky because thread is either colorfast… or it’s NOT! And, by the time you have immersed it in water and discovered that it is not, then it is too late.

Perhaps dry cleaning would be the best way to proceed in this case.

However, I am usually “up” for a challenge and I am not fond of the entire idea of dry cleaning chemicals… so I would probably decide to launder it myself.
My approach would be to dissolve salt in cold water, then add some plain white vinegar and soak the cloth in that. Both those substances are supposed to keep color from bleeding. I have used this technique with some success but if a thread is not colorfast, there isn’t much you can do. You would be surprised how much yellowing would come out in plain water alone.
BUT… the most important part is after it has been soaked and rinsed, and that is to get it as dry as possible as soon as possible. Many times I have pulled items out of a nice soak and there has been no bleeding, only to discover hours later that the thread has run during my dripping period. So, squash it by hand and perhaps roll it between towels before hanging.

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2 Responses to “Washing Linens Embroidered with Colored Thread”

  1. zaliha Says:

    washing white linen embroidered with colored thread, I like to share how to wash it without spoiling it.
    Use “Vanish” brand detergent,it cleans all the ugly color on the linen and your linen looked so clean. After rinsing put to dry in the sun on the grass (green) the chemistry of the sun, grass to the linen brightens the linen and the embroidery. The next day I will make a light dilute starch from sago flour or tapioca flour and starch the linen. When linen dry sprinkle water on the linen and roll the linen to dampen it. After leaving it for an hour than iron the linen with hot iron. The results of this is first class. Why not try my way. I am very sorry for any grammatical mistakes in sharing with you this.

  2. linenmaven Says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your techniques!

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