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How to Clean Vintage Pillowcases

We’re sharing How to Clean Vintage Pillowcases today as part of the Lifestyle of Love Blog Hop hosted by the always amazing Cindy of County Road 407!

The Lifestyle of Love Blog Hop is a series where we share our love of vintage, antique, farmhouse, and repurposed finds and ideas every other month.

If you’ve missed any of our other installments, you can catch up here:

If you’re coming over from Laura’s blog, Decor to Adore, welcome, we’re happy to have you here! DIdn’t you just love all of her vintage linens? They were all so pretty!

Treasure Hunting and Thrifted Finds…

Several years ago, I was out shopping with my Mom and found the prettiest pink embroidered pillowcases. We love to treasure hunt together and vintage linens always top our list.

Truthfully, my Mom adores vintage linens so much I don’t think there is a single bed at Bliss Barracks or Loblolly Manor that doesn’t have at least a vintage pillowcase, sheet set, quilt, or duvet cover on it.

She’s kind of obsessed with vintage linens in the best possible way.

But it’s also her attention to beautiful details that make her home such a special one.

Two of my biggest goals for this year are to find small ways to bring simple pleasures and little luxuries to each day.

I’d also love to do a deep declutter for our entire house.

I know those goals seem like they might be in competition with each other. I’m on a mission to only live with what we love most and let all the fillers and the extras go though.

Cleaning-Vintage-Pillowcases-with-Embroidery-The-Crowned-Goat

Topping the list of things to keep is a small collection of vintage linens. And since I adore pink, the embroidered vintage pillowcases I found while treasure hunting with my Mom was an obvious choice.

The only downside was finding several stains on the pillowcases.

I wouldn’t say they were horrible. But they were definitely something I knew needed to address as soon as possible.

Folex is probably my go-go stain remover, so I tried it first. While it lessened the appearance of some of the stains, it did not remove them completely.

I looked online to see if OxiClean could be used as a stain remover for vintage linens and discovered they made a product called White Revive.

Here’s a look at how to clean vintage pillowcases and a few tips and tricks if you’re a first-time user of OxiClean Revive as well…

*(this post is not sponsored, I’m just sharing my experience)

How to Clean Vintage Pillowcase Supplies:

  • Large Stock Pot (we strictly use this stockpot for craft and DIY projects)
  • Electric Kettle to Boil Water
  • OxiClean White Revive
  • Large Sheet Pan (to help protect your work surface from spills)
  • Wooden Spoon or Tongs (again, we strictly use this set for craft and DIY projects)
  • Towels (to protect your work surfaces)
  • Gloves

How to Clean Vintage Pillowcase Steps:

Gather all your supplies and prep your workspace.

Make sure you have read all labels and instructions on the OxiClean White Revive container and take the necessary safety precautions.

Using an electric kettle, boil water.

Then using caution and care as the water will be hot, add the boiling water to your large stockpot.

I usually add enough boiling water to fill up half the pot.

Next, add OxiClean White Revive. Make sure you’ve read the container label in advance, so you’ll know how much powder to use.  

The OxiClean White Revive will start to bubble up inside the stockpot. Be sure to take extra care it doesn’t bubble over into your work surface.

Again, using caution and care slowly add more hot water until it fills ¾ of your stockpot.

 Then carefully, add your vintage pillowcase to the mixture.

I usually ease the pillowcase down into the water using a wooden spoon or a set of tongs I use strictly for crafting and other projects like these.

Again, be sure to use caution and care.

Allow the linens to soak for 1-2 hours, depending on how stained your vintage pillowcases are. If they are really stained, you might have to soak your vintage pillowcases for up to 6 hours or even overnight.

After you’ve completed the soaking process, empty the dirty water, and rinse the vintage pillowcases with clean water.

At this time, check to see if all the stains are removed. If not, you’ll need to repeat this cleaning process over again.

Once your pillowcases have been cleaned and well rinsed, allow them to dry in the sun.

How to Clean and Store Vintage Pillowcases-The Crowned Goat

Things to Keep in Mind…

I’m not an expert on cleaning vintage linens by any stretch but these vintage pillowcases were a great price. So, to me, they were worth taking the chance on.

That said, I would probably get my vintage and antique family heirloom pieces professionally cleaned.

Just be mindful to weigh the value and the condition of the pieces you’re trying to brighten prior to doing any at-home cleaning method.

How-to-Clean-Vintage-and-Antique-Pillowcases-The-Crowned-Goat

This project was also a bit messier than I anticipated so be sure to have extra towels on hand and use gloves as well.

Just for kicks and giggles, I added a cup of OxiClean White Revive to our washing machine to help boost our everyday white sheets.

While they’re definitely a little brighter than they were before, they weren’t quite as white as I expected them to be.

Just something to keep in mind, if you’re thinking about skipping the soaking step.  

I’m sure we’ve all come across beautifully embroidered vintage linens and napkins that were dingy or yellowed and wondered if they could be saved or not. 

While I can’t vouch for all thrifted finds or vintage linens, I’m thankful I took the chance on this set of vintage pillowcases.

Have you ever used OxiClean White Revive or cleaned vintage pillowcases? If so, I’d love to hear about your experience!

How-to-Clean-Vintage-Pillowcases-and-our-Favorite-Morning-Routine-Resources-The-Crowned-Goat

Up next on the Lifestyle of Love Blog Hop, is my sweet friend Lora of Lora Bloomquist Create and Ponder! She’s also super creative and I can’t wait to check out all the way she upcycles vintage linens!

Once you’re finished there, be sure to check out what the rest of these fabulous ladies are sharing.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Until next time, I’ll see you on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest.

Many blessings,

CoCo

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24 Comments

  1. CoCo,
    Thanks so much for posting this!! I have a small collection of beautiful pillowcases with tatted edgings but the pillow cases themselves are stained…I was thinking of cutting off the beautiful trimmed edges and sewing them onto new pillow cases….I will try this first!! Thanks for the inspiration!!
    Hugs,
    Debbie

    1. I’m so excited this might help you, Debbie! It make a huge difference when I spent time soaking them in a large stockpot as opposed to using the powder as a stain booster in the laundry wash. So, if you have extra time definitely soak them. In the meantime, send any extra tips or tricks you have our way. Several people said Dawn dish detergent helps as well but I’ve never tried it so that will be next on my list to try. Big hugs, CoCo

  2. Thanks so much for sharing this post! I NEED IT! I have a few pieces with stains and each time I pull them out I try and just cover them up. Sometimes it’s not that easy. Adore those pink pillowcases. They would go perfectly with mine! Please add those to your will so I get them if you happen to die. Along with the long list of things I know you’ll bequeath to me. LOL! Thanks for joining us. And wow, I can’t believe we’ve had so many Lifestyle of Love hops. So fun to see that! pinned

    1. You are so funny! I swear if you lived closer I would be hauling all sorts of treasures to your house because you know what happens when I get on a serious declutter kick – everyone in this house wants to take a vaycay 🤣 I’m so excited to have found this product because I didn’t know if some of the pillowcases we found could be saved or not. Sometimes they come clean in an hour and other times it takes 4-6 but it’s definitely worth a try. Big hugs and thank you for putting this hop together. It’s so much fun, CoCo

  3. I had a dear friend who shared how to whiten linens using borax and dawn dish detergent. It sounds like the same process but with one product. Thanks so much for sharing. I just picked up a white linen table cloth with matching napkins. I’m going to try your method.

    1. Someone else just told me about using the original Dawn for any grime and grease/gravy stains and it was such an “Oh my word – why didn’t I think of that moment” Rachel 🤦‍♀️ I had never even considered it but I am so excited to try it out. I rarely come across vintage linens without stains so it’s nice to know there are other tools for our toolbox. Thanks so much for passing along your method too. Every bit of extra knowledge helps! Big hugs, CoCo

  4. You have many lovely linens. My mom and hunted for vintage pieces together also, warm memories. I’ve had a lot of spotted vintage linens over the years. My best tip is pre spot w/sodium percarbonate then wash in washer with regular laundry soap. Lie the garment on the grass or a green hedge to dry in the sun. A process occurs between the chlorophyll of the plant and the sun that will remove most spots including foxing.

    1. These are such great tips and advice, Pamela, thank you so much! I will definitely bookmark them and try them. It’s really special you have such fond memories treasure hunting with your Mom. I swear there is no better gift than being with those you love. Hope your week is filled with all good things and thank you for your tips, CoCo

  5. I had NO Idea about this product. I can’t wait to order it. I buy vintage linens in need of love at estate sales all the time.

    1. That is so exciting, Laura! I can’t wait to hear how it works out for you. Send us any tips or tricks you think will help! Hugs, CoCo

  6. I haven’t heard of this product; will have to give it a try. It sounds like it works similarly to my nurse’s white magic formula by how it bubbles. Your sweet pink embroidered pillow cases are so sweet. I love to pull mine out in the Spring and enjoy them on my bed, too. So fun touring with you!

    1. I hadn’t heard of it either, Lora! It worked a lot better when I soaked the pillowcases for a few hours than it did by using it as a booster for our sheets. We have a ton of rust and limestone in our water because we’re on a well so I’m hoping to try this formula with them again in our new washing machine to see if soaking them in there helps. Fingers crossed! Big hugs, CoCo

  7. Your pink pillowcases are lovely! My mom is also a collector of vintage linens and inspired my love for them. Thanks so much for the tip for cleaning them. Many of them have spots and I never know exactly how to get them out.

    1. That’s so exciting you and your Mom treasure hunt together too! I swear she finds things I would never even think to pick up which makes it even more fun. Hope you and your Mom find lots of fabulous things this season. Hug and happy Easter weekend, CoCo

  8. Coco- this is such a HELPFUL post. As an antiques dealer, I do sell antique and vintage textiles and am always looking for ways to clean them. Thank you. Oh and I love the color pink too. Wishing you and your family a happy Easter.

    1. So happy you’ll be able to use this product, Anna! I was kind of surprised at how easy the stains came out. I just found another pillowcase set that is a little more yellowed than I remembered so I’m going to try it on them soon too. There’s definitely something to soaking them for a few hours so don’t skip that step! Sending you lots of hugs for a joy-filled holiday weekend, CoCo

  9. You have inspired me to look for some vintage pillowcases now that I’ve seen that you can actually clean them like this. And they add so much to a room. Great information CoCo.

    1. I was so excited to find this product too, Kim! Definitely take the time to soak them if you can for a few hours. It makes a huge difference! Hugs and happy hunting, CoCo

  10. How do I get the linen white with out ruining the embroidery color.

    1. That is a great question, Amy. I would definitely research the product’s website first. For example, if you are using Oxi Clean White Revive as we did, I would check the Oxi Clean website to make sure the formula is considered color-safe. Then I would spot treat the stains or discoloration if at all possible, just to be on the safe side. These linens were very inexpensive so to me was worth taking the chance. But if you’re working with heirloom pieces you should seek the help and advice of a professional. Hope this helps, CoCo

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