Summertime in the High Plains is brain fryin’ hot with zero humidity. The consulation to living in such heat is conditions are perfect for sun bleaching. Today’s candidates for a good sun bleach are two of my favorite vintage cloths, both bearing grease stains that are likely fifty years old or more.
The steps to bleaching cloths are 2: layer the cloths on grass and wait. Why this works, I had no idea, until I mentioned sun bleaching in an email to my friend Grace. An encyclopedia of organic knowledge, she educated me that it’s the combination of sun and chlorophyll from the grass that bleaches stains from linen. Seems women of the Victorian era utilized sun bleaching to remove stains from their white tablecloths.
White cloths, I’d learned from research for my new book, because the staid times did not encourage the use of color. Which in a round about way brings up the point of whether sun bleaching also fades a cloth’s colors. My experience has been that the old dyes were so intense, it takes more than a day in the sun to wreak fabric havoc.
The bonus to cloth spread out on a sunny day is the smell of natural heat, and how it lingers in the fabric. Better still is this decidedly un-Victorian but heavenly tip from Grace: Drape a blouse or under girliewear over a lavender bush to dry.
An outdoor sachet for a drying rack!