This section is from the book "Clothing And Health. An Elementary Textbook Of Home Making", by Helen Kinne. Also available from Amazon: Clothing And Health.
Some of the common stains one finds on table linen are coffee, tea, fruit, rust, or grass stains. Do you know how to remove them ?
When should stains be removed? A good housekeeper always looks over the clothing and household linens before putting them to soak. Mrs. Allen says she usually does this on Monday. Do you know why?
She spends this day getting ready for wash day. She bakes and prepares certain foods for her family for two days; and so the work is easier on Tuesday and Wednesday, when she washes and irons. Fruit, coffee, or tea stains on linen should be removed as soon after the stain appears as possible. If this is not done, then certainly the stains must be removed before putting the linen into the tub. White clothes are boiled. What will this do to the stains if they are not removed ?
How can stains be removed? Let us try to remove these spots one at a time. I think we have six or seven different kinds on the articles which have been brought to school to-day. Your teacher will show you how to follow the directions.
Coffee and tea stains are the most common on table linen. To remove, wash in lukewarm water, and then dip in a solution of washing soda, and rinse very carefully until all soda is removed. (Washing soda solution is made of one pound of washing soda to one gallon of water. This can be kept in glass jars and used when occasion demands.) Tea stains are easily removed by brushing the spot with glycerine and then washing carefully in warm water to remove the grease. Rubbing the spot with the bowl of a spoon is a good way to put on the glycerine.
Fruit stains are also common. An easy way to remove them is to stretch the fabric, if it is white, over a bowl and pour boiling water from a height, through the spot. On white wool or silk, lukewarm water is sometimes all that is necessary; or lukewarm water and a little borax. If the fruit stains are on colored garments, they are difficult to remove on account of removing the color also. If the article is of much value, consult a professional dyer if possible. It is wise to experiment on the material on another part of the garment, as the inside of a hem or facing. Make a similar spot and try to remove with different methods. Often one can discover a way, through experimenting.
Rust stains often appear on table linen or white clothing. To remove, wet the spot and apply a few drops of oxalic acid or salts of lemon or cream of tartar solution, and wash thoroughly. On colored or wool goods of good quality, one must decide whether one prefers the stain or the color removed. Water and lemon juice will generally remove the spot, but may take the color too. Care is necessary for colors.
Grass stains are also common. If the stains are fresh, cold water will usually remove them. When on white goods or material which cannot be washed, alcohol may be used. When color will stand it, dyed fabrics which are grass-stained can be washed with water and a little ammonia, followed by warm soap solution and careful rinsing.
Here is a garment which has both ink and blood stains on it. Majorie must have cut her finger. Blood stains when fresh are easily removed with lukewarm, not hot water, and a little ammonia. When on colored silk, wash carefully with lukewarm water only. The ink stains are more difficult, because the composition of inks varies. Wash at once in cold water; this often removes some spots. Sour milk or several rinsings in sweet milk may cause the spot to disappear. Then wash in warm water and soap to remove the grease. If this does not remove it, try a paste made of starch, salt, and lemon juice except for colors. If this will not, try Javelle water. This can be obtained at a drug store. Wash the spot in the Javelle water, but rinse very quickly and carefully. Repeat until the spot disappears. These directions are for white materials only.
How many would like to try to remove some spots at home, before next lesson? You may report your successes or failures, and we shall try to learn the reasons for them. Next lesson we shall learn to wash and iron this table linen. It will be well to keep it at school until next lesson.
1. How many spots have you been able to remove? Tell of your successes or failures.
2. See if mother or grandmother has any better recipes than you have learned for spots.