The advice on this page is given in good faith but I have to say that these old family remedies cannot be guaranteed indeed there have been times when the results have been most unforeseen but fortunately the marks haven't shown when in public so please be aware that no responsibility can be taken as regards the results or any consequences relating to the use of these hints and tips thank you very much.

Paint Emulsion


Ezekiel's father was a painter and decorator by trade and he never used to get any sort of stains on the fabrics when he was painting oh no but just in case he always had a bottle of gin handy to rub on the affected area.

Paint Oil base


Ezekiel's father used to say that these sort of stains should be treated immediately with diluted horse urine though that isn't as common as it used to be so I use bleach not that it's very kind to the hands so I wear thick rubber gloves and use a sponge.



I think that any woman who wears perfume is a real Jezebel and I have never used it a little dab of carbolic behind the ears is enough for any man and if your husband comes home smelling of I don't know what then you know that he's been putting it about a bit.



Oh dear me this can be a problem on albs and cassocks especially in the hot weather and clergy and choir can smell real awful and my auntie Magda used to treat fresh stains with a solution of white wine (1 part to 3 parts tonic), then rinse or dab with a light Chardonnay and leave for 5 minutes before washing in a detergent in the normal manner but she always said that stains such as these can be difficult to remove completely and my auntie Florence used to treat non-washable items by dabbing at them gently with prune eau-de-vie mixed with a little orange flower water to freshen the area but it was my uncle Harold who attacked old and stubborn underarm perspiration stains on surplices with a dissolved antacid tablet in a little warm cognac and then he would rub over the marks with a wet piece of corduroy twill.

Red Wine


If the stain has been made with consecrated wine then the whole affected area should be removed with a sharp knife and burnt immediately because we can't have the real presence inhabiting a bit of interior decoration dearie me no but if the staining happened before the prayer of consecration or thanksgiving as some would call it though I don't agree with them on that then you can attempt to remove the stain by rubbing it with a tea-towel soaked in a nice chilled white wine though I think that it's a waste of a good Chablis and some would say that a handful of salt thrown onto the wet mark and trodden in by a choirboy works just as well and my niece Lobelia says that baby wipes can be used to remove such stains though I think that they might leave a stain of their own if you get my meaning dear me yes.

  Cotton For red wine spills on cottas and albs I always soak the garment in cold water overnight and then run it through the mangle just like my mother taught me bless her. 



Now how have you got rust marks on your fabric I ask but then maybe it's the mould rather than marks left by wet metal and we can readily treat that with an old recipe I found in the back cover of Ezekiel's 1928 Verger's Manual which says to rub salt into the stain and then squeeze lemon juice onto the salt and leave for about an hour then rinse well and repeat if necessary if you have enough lemons that is although we always keep a good supply as the Bishop likes a slice in his gin and tonic when he calls round and then wash the garment in the normal manner alternatively my mother-in-law used to pour lemon juice directly onto the rust stain and lay it out in the direct sunlight and the stain would disappear within 10 to 15 minutes.

Scorch marks


Oh dear what sort of marks are we dealing with here are they scorch marks caused by the iron or is it a colloquial term for other more personal accidents I really don't know well for the first so long as they are faint marks and haven't damaged the fabric I have always used a solution of borax (15ml/1 tablespoon to 500ml/1 pint of warm water) rubbed gently into the cloth under cold running water and for the other a very strong detergent and a personal reprimand.



These are usually caused by a clumsy server knocking into the altar with the chalice or maybe the crucifer failing to lower the cross as the choir process through the chancel screen and if the scratches are small they can be disguised with iodine or shoe polish and dents may lift out if a warm iron is applied through a damp cloth but for this I usually call in the Dean who as a member of the Holy Ironing Group is very familiar with his instrument.

Candle Grease Fabrics I find the only way to remove spilt wax from our altar cloths is to use a hot iron and brown paper and press at it for a couple of hours and then to give the server responsible a good clip around the ear the careless little so-and-so unless of course it happens to be one of the clergy and then I get Ezekiel to remonstrate with him in private.

Shoe polish


Occasionally Ezekiel is in a rush and says to me oh dear look I have got some of my boot polish on my verger's cloak what am I to do and I sit him down and dab the stain with white spirit though I always tell him to be careful about standing near any naked flames for the next hour or so until the spirit has evaporated otherwise I might have to be dealing with fairly large scorch marks of both varieties you see.

Soiled underwear


I have dealt with this under scorch marks oh dear not again.



As we live in one of the old Almshouses we have large chimneys and every year we have to have a brush inserted to remove all the old soot and this occasionally spills over onto the carpet or curtains and I'm not very pleased about it I can tell you and I have to vacuum or shake off the excess before I wash the area with water as hot as my old chapped hands will withstand.



This stain only happens after a particularly tumultuous night with the Chapter and I have to sponge the arms of the sofa in clear warm water and then dab at it with a sponge dipped into a detergent solution in very hot water which is what my husband is in when I get hold of him.

Sticky marks


Oh dear me these sort of marks really shouldn't be mentioned here at all but I suppose they are all part of life and I use a cloth in a solution of vinegar and warm water to rub over them and then suggest to my husband that he exercises a little more self-control oh yes well I never.

Return to Grindle Search