If you venture out to your local thrift or estate sale and come across some great treasures, chances are they have some sort of terrible tagging on them. Thrift stores can be the worst with sharpie pen price tags and packing tape. These can easily ruin a beautiful vintage or antique item!
I once found the most gorgeous gold striped vintage juice glasses at the thrift, and before I knew better, I ripped off the tape, which also peeled off most of the gold, completely ruining the glasses. Not a great moment.
I have learned that when it comes to glassware, porcelain and ceramic type items, a good soak in hot water with blue Dawn dish soap usually does the trick! It dissolves the stickiness of packing tape, price tags and even helps with removing sharpie marker! I then take a Magic Eraser to help remove remaining marks being careful not to ruin any design!
For metal items I usually use a Magic Eraser to remove sharpie tags and soak them to remove stickers. If you are wanting to give them a good polishing, Bar Keepers Friend is fabulous as it works on all metals, shining them up beautifully! Also if you have any white vinegar and salt laying around that works great to! Simply fill your sink or bucket with hot water, white vinegar and handful of salt and walk away! Within 15 minutes, it has almost done the complete trick with very little scrubbing needed! You can also make it into a paste for more tarnished pieces! Birdie at Hunker.com has a great tutorial if you are looking for more of a step-by-step guide!
Whenever I find vintage linens, I ALWAYS wash them! First to get rid of the smell, kill any would be bugs, and help remove stains! Before making their way into my washer, they get a piping hot soak in a Dawn Dish soap and powder OxiClean bath for at least a couple hours! It helps get rid of stains no matter how old and kill some of the musty smell! Then they get a nice run through the washer and hung to dry depending on their vintage condition before ironing! C. Dianne also has a great tutorial on how to keep your vintage linens looking amazing!
There have been a couple times where I have found an amazing treaure that sadly reeked of cigarette smoke. I know of some collectors who would have written it off as a lost, but I was determined. Simply placing the items in a garbage bag with a handful of dyer sheets and leaving in the garage for a week or so before washing really did the trick! The smell was almost completely gone before even it’s Dawn Dish soap soak!
Also be careful of Magic Erasers….They really are magic, but can easily take the varnish, design, or cover off something if scrubbed to hard. I always start off with a light rub, testing a small area on the back of the item.
Never look at some treasure and think it’s too dirty to bring home. There is always a way to bring it back to it’s beautiful prime and if you are not sure, type it into Pinterest and you will find so many great tutorials for cleaning your beauties!
I am definitely not an expert in this area, I just know what has worked for me in the past, so if you know of any great tips or ideas please share! You may be saving a Vintage Antique treasure from being ruined!