My mother was a true Southern lady. She loved to entertain friends, and her delightful table settings were as important to her as the food. Some of my earliest memories are of her standing at the sink with one of her damask or lace tablecloths in hand. She would hold it up to look for stains and then put it into a large pot to soak. My own head barely came up to the pot.
Mama had an enormous collection of linens, some of them from her family and others collected along the way. She often talked about how much love and how many hours someone had put into making each piece. It was up to us, she said, to return that love by taking care of the beautiful things they had made.
So we did, but we also used them daily. I think my love of vintage and antique linens comes from Mama's influence: To her, they were the symbol of a gracious lifestyle. Even as a single mother, she wouldn't give in to reduced circumstances. Our beds always had crisp white sheets and pillowcases with deep crocheted edgings. Guest towels were embroidered with pretty little flowers, and the table had an ever-changing wardrobe!
Stains from food, spilled wine, or simple use were inevitable, yet Mama's linens always looked fresh and pristine. No matter how how bad the stain was, she never used harsh bleach that would harm the fibers and eventually cause a hole. Instead she used her own hand-mixed ingredients—the same gentle blend I now call Mama’s Miracle Linen Soak.
Trust Mama’s Miracle Linen Soak to be safe enough for your most treasured family heirlooms. Unlike harsh bleaches, it will not damage the fibers and ruin the item while taking out the stain. It is far more gentle to fabric. Use it on delicate antique lace and crochet, vintage tablecloths, pillowcases and bed linens, handmade doilies, baby clothes, bridal veils, and other fine linens—old or new. Used as directed, it removes oxidized stains, yellowing, and discoloration to help restore original whiteness. It even works on stubborn perspiration stains and red wine stains, helping you save items that might otherwise be thrown away.
My mama, whose name was Grace
How far does one container of Mama's Miracle go?
It's hard to say, but this product goes a very long way. Using 1 tablespoon of the powder for every 2 quarts of water, you should be able to remove stains from approximately 50 small loads with the 16 oz. jar. The smaller 5 oz. bottle contains enough for about 12 loads. You'll need only enough solution to cover the items completely, so small items such as collars, gloves, or baby clothes take less than large items such as tablecloths or sheets. Also, when you remove items from the solution, you may add other items to replace them.
Why must I use boiling water?
The heat of boiling water activates Mama's Miracle Linen Soak so it can do its work. Stir the powder into boiling water until it dissolves [See Instructions in How To Use], letting the solution cool slightly before adding your fabric. If you need a large container such as a bucket or tub to hold your item, measure out enough water to cover the fabric but boil only a portion of that water; dissolving enough powder for the whole amount in it before mixing the two portions together. When removing stains from silk, you should dissolve the powder in boiling water but let the solution cool completely before adding the fabric because silk shrinks in hot water. This product is not recommended for wool or wool yarn; wool shrinks in hot water, and yarns (particularly darker colors) are not always colorfast.
Why didn't all of the stains come out?
Old stains on textiles are often a mystery. What is the stain? Is it oil-based or water-based? How long has it been there? Has someone already tried another product to remove it? Has someone set the stain by putting the item in the dryer? Who knows! If the problem is still there after soaking for a day or two, you can always repeat the process with fresh solution. Although Mama's Miracle Linen Soak does eliminate the vast majority of stains, some may never come out. When the fabric dries, the stains will usually be far less noticeable. And finally, if the linens mean a lot to you for sentimental reasons, try to accept that they are simply showing their age and love them anyway!
Is Mama's Miracle safe for heirloom baby clothes?
As long as the fabric is intact, then christening gowns, baby blankets, and other heirloom garments may be safely soaked. Mama's Miracle removes even old stains and discoloration, eliminating the dingy color and musty smell that stored clothing sometimes develops. Soaking often restores fine batiste, linen, organdy, and cotton to its original whiteness. Silk garments are especially delicate. For washable silk, it may be best to use a weaker solution and soak longer; try using 1 tablespoon of powder per gallon of water, letting the water cool before adding the silk. If that doesn't work in about 24 hours, add another tablespoon.
Will this product also work on newer fabrics?
Yes, Mama's Miracle Linen Soak is gentle enough to use on any water-washable fabric, including high thread-count sheets, table linens, lingerie, clothing, or anything else requiring special care. Simply follow the instructions in How To Use to remove stains, and then wash as directed on the product tag. Soak stubborn underarm stains in the solution to restore original white. Mama's Miracle Linen Soak also removes stains from spilled red wine on clothing, table linens, or liturgical church linens such as altar cloths.
We do not recommend using Mama's Miracle Linen Soak on wool, primarily because the hot water necessary to dissolve the product and remove the stains will shrink the wool. It is possible to cool the solution before using it, but there is still some risk that the wool will fade. Yarns used for vintage crewel and needlepoint were not always colorfast, and some colors, particularly darker ones, will run. Consider dry-cleaning wool instead. Or, if this is not an option, cool the solution completely and soak only an hour or two before rinsing the wool, blotting it well, and drying flat.
What if my fabric is torn or frayed?
Delicate-looking lace and other trims, surprisingly, hold up better than fabric. Changing temperatures, humidity, or exposure to the sun can weaken textile fibers over time. Dry rot caused by poor storage conditions even causes fabric to shred. Thin cotton batiste (left, in an Edwardian dress) and silk are especially prone to this damage. Tiny holes (right) usually won't enlarge if you leave them alone, but larger tears or holes indicate that the fibers are very weak. Do not try to remove stains from badly damaged fabric—it rarely has a good outcome. If the trim is still intact, then cut it off of the damaged item, remove stains if necessary, and use it to trim something else. "Cutter" is the term applied to linens that are already damaged, meaning that some parts are salvageable but must be cut off from the damaged portion in order to be used. We suggest some excellent ways to use these cutter linens to make lovely new items—see the Made From Damaged Linens board in Our Favorite Ideas section.
What is the difference between this product and commercial stain removers or bleaches?
Unlike commercial bleaches and strong oxygen-type stain removers, Mama's Miracle Linen Soak is gentle and much kinder to fabrics. Those stronger products may remove discoloration but they will also damage the fibers and eventually ruin the item you are trying to bleach. Soaking in Mama's Miracle does take more time, but your heirloom linens will stay in good shape—so you can enjoy them and then pass them along to another generation.
Where can I buy this locally?
Although it is a time-tested formula, Mama's Miracle Linen Soak is a new product that has only recently been offered to the public. It will take a while to develop an extensive network of stores that carry it, but we invite your suggestions. In the meantime, you can buy it on this website using our easy Shopping Cart feature.
How can I find out more about my own vintage linens?
We have added a feature called Our Favorite Ideas on the left side of our Homepage. Click on this button and it will send you to our Pinterest Boards, where you will find hundreds of ideas for using vintage and antique linens for decorating, crafts, and entertaining. You'll also see boards on The Art of Needlework (to help you identify and repair your linens), Buttons & Embellishments (to help you appreciate their infinite variety), Vintage Clothing Favorites (to help you identify period clothing) and finally, Made with Damaged Linens (to help you upcycle items too damaged to use for their original purpose). We welcome your suggestions for other topics that interest you.
You might also enjoy our Mama's Miracle Linen Soak page on Facebook, where we showcase even more great ideas and sometimes offer special pricing to those who "follow" us. Check back frequently because these deals last a very limited time.
Mama's Miracle Linen Soak
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