Cleaning and care for our precious vintage garments can be a tricky business. Rewarding when a truly outstanding piece can be restored, and distressing when not. I love the challenge!
Frequently my co-workers will hear me muttering "What was she doing?”, "dirty girl!" or "out damn spot!" It’s so much easier when the stain can be identified, which of course is rare.
I've used a variety of stain removers, home remedies, such as spit for blood spots and baking soda for armpit stains, and various commercial products as well.
My favorite commercial product is Eucalan's No-Rinse Delicate Wash. I use it on almost everything we clean (many times it's the only thing we need to use). It restores the luster to satins, rayon, and wools, and is especially good for spot cleaning natural fibers, as it leaves no water mark.
Whatever the issue might be, of course I'll always first test for color fastness, and frequently I'll need to remove buttons or shoulder pads because they can cause problems during the wash (which then need to be replaced when dry).
When the garment is cleaned and looking perky again, it's with a sense of pride that I can send it back out into the world, hoping that it'll find a happy new owner soon.