Monday, August 31, 2020

Washing a Vintage Wool Coat

 Washing vintage can be so intimidating, well at least to me anyways. So, when the time came to launder my most worn true vintage wool 40s coat I was not sure how to proceed. One thing was for sure, it needed to be done . . . I have had this coat for years. . . For awhile it was my only good cold weather coat. Over time this coat has seen a lot action from food stains, mystery stains, and general wear and tear. The lining has been repaired many times and I have spot cleaned this baby many, many, many times. Honesty, this coat has seen a lot from ketchup stains to salad dressing disasters. This coat has also been my absolute go to coat for almost every occasion which brings its own wear and tear. Yikes! 

My trusty wool coat in 2018. It just goes with anything and everything so can 
you blame me for wearing it as often as I do? 

I did consider for a brief minute taking it to a dry cleaners but there are no dry cleaners in my area that can be trusted with vintage. Next, I took to the web to find my answers where I was met with really limited information! I was kind of surprised to be blunt about the lack of content for laundering a wool coat but I did find lots of stuff on laundering wool at home. For the most part that was all the same:

use cool water, use a mild soap, do not wring or wrinkle the garment but lay it flat at all times, and rinse, rinse, rinse. Once all done roll in the towel to get the excess moisture and then lay flat to dry. 

For the most part I felt like I was kind of flying solo but at the same time I figured I was over thinking the whole thing so I decided to just dive right in. . .

For washing my coat I made sure my bath tub was nice and clean. Next I filled the tub with cool water and Tide washing liquid. I did not measure the detergent but just winged it . . .I was winging washing this coat to start with . . . I filled the tub with enough water to submerge the coat and then I agitated the water with my hands to get bubbles. I did massage some areas of coat that needed some extra TLC and stain lifting power. Then I left the coat to soak for 1/2 hour. When I came back I drained the tub and watched the darkened water flow away from my coat.

My sweet and trusty coat soaking in a bubble bath . . . .

 I did not get a lot of the darker stains out to be honest but based on the darkened water I did accomplish something. Once all the water was drained I filled the tub again with clear water and rinsed. I did that a few times until the bubbles were all gone. After the last rinse I left the coat in the tub to rain out some more. After another 1/2 hour I spread out a large towel and lifted the coat out of the water carefully. To get the coat out I rolled it up and then unrolled it on the towel. I took care to make sure the lapels were smooth and laying flat (as possible). I rolled up the coat and towel together and then moved the whole thing (which was HEAVY) to the outside to air dry FLAT. 

While it was air drying I made sure the collar and lapel was smooth and not wrinkled, I made sure the sleeves were as straight as I could get them. I wanted as few wrinkles as possible basically. The drying time took a few days . . . Not kidding . . .So if you are planning on washing your coat plan ahead and make lots of time for drying. . .This is not a night before kind of project. . . My coat took 3 days to dry out. When my coat was dried out it was a little wrinkled but I took my coat and hung it back up to let gravity do the work for me in releasing the wrinkles. The end result was a coat that looked and smelled a lot better than when it started. 

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