All lace should be carefully mended before washing if any repair is necessary. Soak it for an hour or so in a lather of melted soap and warm water, and, if the water is hard, add a teaspoonful of powdered borax as well. Then prepare another basin of warm water and melted soap to make a lather as before. Squeeze the lace gently out of the soaking water, and wash it very carefully in the clean soapy water. The washing must consist of careful squeezing between the hands and not rubbing. If this simple washing does not make the lace clean, it may be boiled, but this must be done either in a jar or lined saucepan, and not along with heavy clothes. When clean, rinse in tepid water, and then in cold, until quite clear of soap.
For most laces a little starch or gum-water is an improvement. For the thicker and plainer laces use thin hot-water starch. Thin it down to the consistency of slightly thickened water (for heavy lace it may be a little thicker), and allow the lace to soak in this for some little time. Then squeeze the lace out gently, spread it between the folds of a towel, and either clap it between the hands, or pass it through the wringer. After this pull out the lace very carefully with the fingers, and roll it up with the wrong side out. Wrap it in a towel, and let it lie for a little while before ironing. Lace should be ironed on the wrong side over a piece of thick flannel or felt, and with a moderately hot iron. Press well, but not roughly, and use the points of the iron to raise the pattern.
Very fine lace should be stiffened with gum-water instead of starch. Soak the lace for some little time in the gum-water, and then proceed in the same way as if starch had been used. It will, however, be safer to iron it through a thin piece of muslin.
Silks should not be washed when the ordinary washing is going on. A collection of silks and fancy things may be made, and then a convenient time chosen for doing them up when they can have every care.
Silk should be washed in very much the same way as flannel-i.e., with a lather of melted soap and water, only for silk the water must be much cooler than for flannel.
Begin with the white silks and wash them one at a time, squeezing them gently in the soapy water. If not clean after the first water, give them a second soapy water, but on no account must silk be rubbed or twisted. Rinse in tepid water, and then in cold, adding a little blue to the last water in which white silks are rinsed. Then, to give a gloss to the silk, put it through cold water to which methylated spirit has been added in the proportion of one teaspoonful to half a pint of water. Do not prepare more of this than is necessary. Squeeze the silk out of this, shake it out, and place it between the folds of a towel. Then either beat it between the hands or pass it through the wringer. To be continued.
The following is a good firm for supplying materials, etc., mentioned in this Section: Thomas Keating (Keating's Powder).