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Industry Reviews

Product Review

Every collector of vintage textiles would love to have them in pristine condition. Unfortunately, old textiles often show the stains and marks of age. Happily, RETRO CLEAN can reverse the damage. To test RETRO CLEAN, I chose a cross section of small items, including an early 20th century quilt block and a pair of 19th century children's underwear. Manufacturer's instructions are to dissolve 3-4 tablespoons in a gallon of warm water. Items may be soaked up to two days = now here's the important part - IN THE SUN. This is what makes RETRO CLEAN different. In a small basin, I mixed 4 tablespoons of product to 1 1/4 gallon of water and let the items soak in the sun for eight hours. I was extremely happy with the results. There was no running or loss of colors. Dingy whites became snowy. Colors brightened. Best of all, the brown stains on my 100-year-old undies disappeared! This is a safe, effective product and one that belongs on the laundry shelf of every textile collector. RETRO Clean is available at or ask for it at your local quilt shop.

(Editor's Note - See Lenna's article on the care of vintage quilts on page 28)

  1. Retro Clean soaking powder is gentle enough on vintage quilts and textiles but is tough enough on stains and odors. One wash can renew fabrics and remove stains. From $15 per pound;

Retro Clean

Retro clean is a gentle soaking agent that will safely remove yellowing caused by age, stains, water damage and/or mildew from vintage fabrics, quilts and delicate pieces. Refresh and renew your treasured heirlooms to their original color and vitality. It's companion product, Retro Wash, will then keep your quilts pristine for years to come. Both products are a must-have for the laundry room. They come in several sizes to meet your personal needs.

Retro Clean, suggested retail ranges: $5-$15

retro clean

Retro Clean is an eco-friendly soaking agent that safely restores age-stained textiles. It removes yellow and brown discolorations related to water damage, mildew, wood, coffee/tea, tobacco, baby formula, and perspiration. Just one soak will renew quilts and other delicate washables (like linens, vintage clothing, lace, and silk) to their original colors and vitality. Retro Clean is non-toxic, hyp-allergenic, and biodegradable. For more information, to watch a tutorial and to learn about the companion product, Retro Wash laundry powder, see

Quilting with vintage fabrics and trims can be a passion, but how do you handle the stains and discoloration on your treasured finds? Retro Clean is a gently soaking agent that removes yellowing, mildew and other stains in a manner that is safe for both the fabric and the environment. To use, wash the items in a mild detergent, then soak in Retro Clean for 24 to 48 hours. It works on all washable fabrics, including finished quilts, trims and yardage.

Retro Clean and Retro Wash

I'll admit it - I love vintage embroidered pillowcases and sheets. The cotton that was used is different than anything I can find in stores today. Many of the pillowcases I have exhibit signs of neglect - perspiration, brown stains, or simply yellowed with age. Retro Clean was able to remove discoloring without compromising the color of the embroidery threats or crocheted edging.

Retro Wash is an everyday laundry powder perfect for sensitive skin that reacts to the harsh chemicals found in other detergents. One tablespoon cleans a large load of laundry in a high-efficiency washing machine!

Retro Clean Textile Wash

Brightens stained and yellowed vintage textiles to look like new! Retro Clean is formulated to work slowly as fabric soaks, and will not fade colors. Safely clean and restore quilts, clothing, lace, linens, or any other washable textiles. Retail prices: 1 lb. bag $15.00, 3.5 oz. sample size $5.00.