- 1). Don a pair of white gloves to make sure that you don't transfer your own dirt and oils to the garment. If you don't have gloves, wash your hands thoroughly before touching the garments.
Because water can weaken fabrics, try simply vacuuming any dirt off the clothes before resorting to hand washing. Lay the garments out flat. Use a low-suction vacuum with a clean brush attached to the hose to clean the front and back of the linens. Hold the vacuum an inch or so above the garment as you work.
- 2). Use a small tub to wash the clothes if there is still dirt on the garments. Metal tubs can cause oxidation, which can leave rust stains on clothing, so plastic tubs are preferable. Wrap the garments in nylon net to support them. Fill the tub with lukewarm water and soak the garments for two to three hours to loosen any dirt or old soap trapped in the clothes. Remove the clothes, and empty the tub.
- 3). Fill the tub with more lukewarm water, and add the gentlest detergent possible. There are several products, such as Linen Wash, designed for antique clothing, or use a more readily available product like Ivory soap. Put the garments back in the water for several hours. Every hour, gently swish the linens around in the water to make sure that each part of the garment is exposed to the soapy water.
- 4). Remove the garments from the tub and rinse thoroughly. Residual soap left in linens can be damaging, so take your time when rinsing the linens. Lay them flat in a tub with the faucet running and the drain open. Do not wring the garments. Gently manipulate them in the water until you are certain they are rinsed.
- 5). Spread towels out on a flat surface inside your home. Lay out the garments on the towels and allow them to dry thoroughly.
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