Thursday, February 12, 2009

Help Me, Please?

Remember, you can click on any of the photos to enlarge them.

About 30 years ago my mother made these wonderful pillows for my bed. (Of course, that was about 10 years before I was born. At least, that's my story.)

I've pulled the pillows out of my hope chest and decided to display them on the guest bed. Which just happened to be my bed growing up. I thought it was rather fitting that the pillows return to their original place of display.

They all show some signs of their age, particularly around the middle. And they each could use a bit of a makeover. (gee, are we still talking about pillows here?)

I actually don't mind the general discoloration of the Aida cloth. I figure it just goes with the general older than dirt vintage thing.

But the "K" has a stain that is quite pronounced. It doesn't say "vintage", it says "splat". And I really need to figure out a way to clean it.

So I'm asking for advice. If these were your sentimental childhood pillows, how would you clean them? Or would you?

No, I don't have any clue what the 30 year old stain is.

No, these are not slipcovers over pillows. These are actually sewn on, so any cleaning has to be able to involve the whole pillow getting wet.

They are in excellent physical condition. Really, as good as the day they were made. No wear on the fabric or ribbons or lace at all. Just the discoloration of the Aida cloth. That's it.

Is there a way to clean the spot, but without it looking too clean, if you know what I mean?

Do you think they'd hold up to going through the wash?

Is bleach too harsh on something so old?

What about OxyClean?

Any ideas?


Any help would be most appreciated.

Thank you!


vintagewindow said...

How wonderful you still have the sweet pillows your mom made. I wish I had an answer for you as far as cleaning them. Hopefully you will get an answer here in blogland, if not maybe you should check with your local cleaners.

Have a happy day


victoria ~ auction girl vintage said...

Hi Kim ... This might be my first visit to your blog, I arrived through a link from Jennifer's Old Painted Cottage :o)

Your pillows are a beautiful labor of love from your mom. Like you, I'd be very concerned about trying to remove that spot, as it could damage the AIDA cloth or cause the spot to spread. I certainly wouldn't try throwing them in the washing machine. If you have a quilt shop (or quilting club) nearby, someone there may be able to clean it for you, but there are never any guarantees when removing stains.

How about hiding the stain instead? You could cross stitch a pretty yellow balloon over the stain (it's the perfect shape), and then add a balloon "string" that either appears to be tied to the base of the letter K (or to the cat), or you could simply let the string disappear behind the letter.

Whaddya think?

Hugs from Victoria


Hi Kim,
Isn't that so funny about the beds and to both post about it at the same time!! I wonder how old they are? Someone asked if I know but I have no idea I just liked it so I bought it! I'm sorry I don't know how to help you with your pillows, but I do know that you shouldn't use bleach, I think it would be way to harsh for the fabrics, I wish I could have helped you. Thanks for the visit!

lavender said...

I've cleaned lots of family heirlooms like your pillows - which are ADORABLE btw ! I just fill my kitchen sink with cool water and a bit of ivory liquid and swish them. I do quilts like this, pillows, and even stuffies. Takes lots of rinsing and squishing to get the soap and then water out, but then I lay them on a towel on the kitchen table over night to dry.

Good luck !

gena in nj

Anonymous said...

I used OxyClean on some old linens and was very pleased with the results. OxyClean isn't suppose to harm cloth like bleach.

Teacup Lady (Sandy)

Joyce said...

I love your bed and pillows - and the fact that you have them now. That is wonderful!!!

Cindy ~ My Romantic Home said...

Those pillows are adorable and they are in really great shape for their age. I love the powdered OxyClean but most of the things I've used it on have been white. I usually soak my linens in a mixture of OxyClean (powder) and Dawn dish soap. Dawn is really great at getting out oils and grease. For really bad stains I usually soak them overnight. I've also heard recently that the Dawn/OxyClean combination is used by many vintage linen dealers too.

I think if that were mine I would take it to a really good dry cleaners and ask them first.

Amy said...

I use ChemDry's Spot Remover (professional strength) for emergency spots on carpet, furniture, and clothing. It's got a carbonated formula that helps lift stains to the surface so you can just blot stains off. If you have pieces of Aida fabric, I'd suggest trying your cleaner of choice and seeing how the fabric looks afterward. And, as everyone else has said, I'd just take it to a professional cleaners to get their opinion. These pillows are sentimental heirlooms and it's probably best to be safe about it. Good luck!