Thursday, July 28, 2011

More Vintage Laundry

In the time passed since I did my first experiments last year on vintage laundry, I have continued testing on vintage dresses, and so far I have found that with regards to odours there are two major categories. Smells caused by bacteria (such as sweat), and smell caused by mildew and moulds. Of these two the former is by far the easiest to get rid of. In most cases all that is needed is to spray the garment with rubbing alcohol, let it dry, and repeat. Once dry again, wash the garment, and the smell is gone.

Mildew and mould, on the other hand, is more tricky. I first tried to spray the garments in vinegar water (half and half of white vinegar and water), and then launder, but that didn't help. I finally resorted to leaving the garment overnight in vinegar water. I rinsed the garment, and washed it with woolite. I then hung it out in the sun to dry, and now it's fine. But next time I see a smelly dress I really like I'll only get it if the price is right. At the moment I still have 2 more dresses in this category, one of them the dress you see in the below picture. It's made of silk taffeta and covered in hand painted net. This one will have to go to the dry cleaners, I think.


  1. Note to self: remove any metal buttons before soaking a garment in vinegar water...

  2. Hi Suna,

    Do you have any suggestions for removing underarm odour from non-washable dresses? I have had things drycleaned but it didn't seem to help. Unfortunately I don't have a specialist drycleaner nearby either.

    Thanks for a great blog,

    1. Hi Sarah,

      The only suggestion I have with dry clean only is to discuss the matter with the dry cleaners, and ask them if it's safe to treat the area with alcohol before dry cleaning.

      Another option is to check whether it can be hand washed. I do a water test on the fabric, basically applying water to the seam allowance in an inconspicuous spot, and see if it changes the fabric. If it doesn't I usually wash it by hand. Of course, the downside is that there are no guarantees. You might end up ruining the dress.

      I still choose to do wash most things as the dry cleaners here have no experience with vintage garments, and he's rather unwilling to give any guarantees as to whether they will survive the dry cleaning process.

      Thanks for the compliment on the blog, nice to get feedback :)

      Hope this helps,