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Advice washing / cleaning 30s -40s non crepe rayon

Discussion in 'PUBLIC Vintage Fashion - Ask Questions Get Answers' started by cloudsofviolet, Sep 15, 2020.

  1. cloudsofviolet

    cloudsofviolet Registered Guest


    So I know the predominate advice is to not wash / dry clean unless it looks in need or smells with an airing. However I feel bad selling without washing. I personally would wash or dry clean my own garments. Anyways,, I have a 40s dress - lavender rayon weave. Tested using burn method and smelt like burning paper

    I won't be handwashing or washing in general it as I just hand soaked and washed a early 40s dress with Retrowash with the same fiber and weave and it faded in spots!! Almost cried at that one. It seems however to respond well to spot cleaning ... got a strange stain out

    My dilemma:
    Anyways, anybody have experience with dry cleaning such rayons and care to share? In general, Does dry cleaning "set" stains? I plan on removing the bows and shoulder pads.
  2. denisebrain

    denisebrain VFG Acting President Staff Member

    It sounds like you're firm on the rayon part, and I believe you are saying it's a smooth weave, not crepe.

    You can hand wash non-crepe rayon in cool water with detergent. You're right to remove shoulder pads for washing. In my experience, a good dry cleaner will make sure the padding doesn't wad up by pinning it in place, but for washing it's best to remove the pads. For washing you would also want to remove metal or covered buttons to prevent rusting. To check for the possibility of dye bleed, you need to test the fabric in an inconspicuous spot on the dress. Moisten this spot with a little of the detergent and cool water you'd use for washing, let it sit a moment, then dab with a white towel to see if the dye comes out. Embroidery and other details should also be checked this way.

    In my experience, you certainly can dry clean rayon from the 1940s, but there is no guarantee that stains will come out. If you know what kind of stain you are working with, that helps.
    yumyumvintage likes this.
  3. cloudsofviolet

    cloudsofviolet Registered Guest

    Update: I might do a quick handwash ... i read a post by Jonathon that said that this type of rayon, provided its good quality probably washes well. Any thoughts? Would I do better to dry clean it after spot treating it myself?

    The spot treatment is working quite well on this strange unknown stain and I've put on quite alot (not all at once) and no water stains, fingers crossed.

    Now I am also going to try to fix the underarm stains (I think they are perspiration, but I am not sure. ) they are a faint brownish/ beige patches right in the underarm area. Any ideas or recs?

    I will upload pics at some point.
  4. denisebrain

    denisebrain VFG Acting President Staff Member

    Oh, I'm glad to see you've made progress on the stains!

    Underarms are always hard. My best way is soaking a washable, sturdy-enough vintage item with an oxygen bleach product (Biz, dissolved Oxiclean, Etc.). Your dress may be too old for this working, and it may be a bit too delicate as well. If you are going to try this, definitely test for dye bleed with the product, and leave the test spot for awhile to see if it does any damage to the fabric. For me, this works best on cotton and on things newer than 1950 or so.

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