We spent yesterday cruising the Rose Bowl Flea Market with friends and family. Some people were there for the fun of it and some had a mission (glasses and a dining room table). What we noticed was how often we questioned how cleanable something was. It often made the difference between buying and moving on to the next stall.
We ended up picking out some great vintage tablecloths and napkins for practically nothing. They need a little clean up but we've done it before so it's no problem.
Linens: Whether it's old grime, food stains or even red wine, vintage linens can clean up nicely. The trick is to pretreat a stain with dishwashing detergent and then soak it in hot, soapy water. Most of the time this will get the stain out. For food try some white vinegar or ammonia directly on the stain, for ink marks, try millk (we haven't tried this one yet, but a friend has been raving). Try some oxyclean for stubborn stains.
Wood: If it's teak, try this method, otherwise a wipe down and some feed n wax should make a huge difference.
Glass: If the vase you're eying has some hard water deposits, you should be able to get them out using a dryer sheet, white vinegar and a scrubby sponge or, if it's really bad some CLR. We've heard for crystal that a mixture of ammonia and water works miracles with little to no elbow grease.
Silver: Gregory claims that toothpaste is a good way to polish silver. Try this DIY Eco solution and remember that it's important to care for your silver once it's in a good place too!
What are your tricks for sprucing up what you find (for a steal) at the flea market?
Images: Laure Joliet