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Thread: How to remove old stains from quilt blocks

  1. #1
    thedixiedragonfly's Avatar
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    Hi,

    Does anyone have a secret recipe for getting the old brown stains out of quilt blocks? I'm trying to finish up some very old projects and have a pieced top that needs some tender attention.

  2. #2
    Super Member sewsewquilter's Avatar
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    Not me...but someone here will have advice for you.

  3. #3
    Power Poster BellaBoo's Avatar
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    Here is a good site that explains all the stain removers pros and cons:

    http://www.quiltersmuse.com/straight_talk_chpt_2C.htm

  4. #4
    thedixiedragonfly's Avatar
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    Wow...
    fabulous site with great tips!

    THANK YOU!!!!

    Does anyone know where to get fels naptha soap?
    Haven't been able to find it anywhere around the Gainesville area.

  5. #5
    Super Member Moonpi's Avatar
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    I've seen Fels soap at the Ace hardware store near me. I wonder if Walmart carries it, sort of an old-timey laundry thing like borax, which I add to my wash all the time.

  6. #6
    thedixiedragonfly's Avatar
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    Well I'll be...
    the hardware store....
    never thought of checking at Ace hardware.

    Will put that on my to-do list for tomorrow.

    Thanks for the great tips.

  7. #7

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    Fels Naptha is a bar soap and used to be carried at Wal Mart. Haven't looked lately, but if you can't find it, I have a bar that has been used that I'll give up to you.

  8. #8
    thedixiedragonfly's Avatar
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    Am headed to town tomorrow and will stop at Walmart.

    THANK YOU....

    hope they have it at Walmart or Publix

  9. #9
    *QuilterWannabee*'s Avatar
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    I've seen it at hardware stores.

  10. #10
    Super Member Pam Pollock's Avatar
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    I've seen Fels Naptha in the grocery stores with laundry detergents & soaps.

  11. #11
    thedixiedragonfly's Avatar
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    Thank you for your replies.

    Am going to see what I can find when I'm out today.

    This makes me wish I was still up North near Amish Country. They ALWAYS had all the old standards (and then some).

  12. #12
    janedennis's Avatar
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    The Vermont Store carries it on line. My grandmother used that for everything. If you ever get into poison ivy wash with it and it will help to not get the rash.

  13. #13
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    If the old brown stains are from being in contact with wood or paper, I don't think there's anything that will work. Wood and paper products contain an acid that gradually discolors fabric as it eats away. Be careful if this is the case, as the fabric will already be weakened in these areas.

    What I'd probably try in order are these. (1) Z'out (Target has it in the laundry section, about $3 for a spray bottle). I'd soak it every hour for a day or so, as it can take some time to work on an old stain. It's very safe and has worked wonders on many stains for me -- especially organic stains like blood. (2) Oxy-Clean. Again, soaking for up to 24 hours. (3) color-safe powdered bleach such as Clorox 2. Again, soaking for up to 24 hours. The powders should be dissolved first in hot water, then diluted with cold water.

    Someone here posted a picture awhile back of an auction quilt that was very stained and soiled. She soaked it in detergent in her washing machine for several days, changing the soaking water every day. It came out beautifully!

  14. #14
    thedixiedragonfly's Avatar
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    THANK YOU....

    These are rust spots from pins and others I'm sure are from handling etc. No paper spots (those are awful to try to get out).

  15. #15

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    There is another website "www.quilthistory.com/cleaning.htm" that I like better and it give specific information on types of stains and specific remedies for those stains. I have always used the Fels Naptha or Orvus Soap for the older quilts. There is a specific solution on this website for your type of stain.

  16. #16
    Power Poster MadQuilter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thedixiedragonfly
    These are rust spots from pins and others I'm sure are from handling etc. No paper spots (those are awful to try to get out).
    Don't be surprised if treatment of the rust spots results in a hole. That's what happened my MIL's old quilt top. I plan to have the area around the messed up pieces scanned and printed on fabric so I can replace the bad parts.

    The quilt top was in such bad shape that I ended up washing it in the tub to get about 40 years worth of crud out. Now I have a tangled mess of threads on the back and it will take more than my current patience level to deal with it. I'm thinking of taking it to the dry cleaner to have it pressed and get it in some semblance of order.

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