Aged cardboard stains on embroidery

by Diana Dwyer
(Long Island, ny)

My daughter embroidered a cross-stitched prestamped cotton piece 20 yrs ago. It was framed in a non-safe frame with cardboard that has badly discolored the cloth. I want to professionally reframe it as a heirloom. The piece has a lot of red cross-stitch on the house and through the piece.

Question 1. Should I first use a vinegar-water mix to set the red so it doesn’t bleed, or will that also set all the yellow discoloration that is on the entire piece?

Question 2. After the vinegar, I was thinking of then hand soaking in a mild Oxy clean solution. So should I use the vinegar solution first or just use the Oxyclean? And soak for how long? Need this done before frame comes in on 2/24/21.

Desperate for help!

......Diana D.

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No photo?
by: Carol

Hi Diana, I did not find any photo attached to your submission, so thank you for sending them by e-mail.

I am sorry to say I have never had much success with removing stains from cardboard. They sometimes fade, but do not disappear entirely.

With the red cotton, I would be vary of it running, so would suggest taking extra care. Perhaps try a little area on the back where the ends of thread have been left first. Then you can test whether the colour runs.

Another option would be to tea-stain the project (after testing for colour fastness of the thread). Although the marks would not be removed, they may then be disguised.

If you have time, taking it to a museum and asking for their input might be a wise move, especially if they deal with textile conservation.

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