Sea water stains… does it?

One of the delights and things of, I guess, historical interest in old cookery books, are the tips and advice on household affairs, and in particular remedies for all sorts of stains from different sources on a whole variety of surfaces and fabrics – some of which I have no idea even what they are. However, living not far from the Bristol Channel – about a quarter of a mile, I have a lot of experience of the sea – even though it is reluctant to appear except at high tide. We have the second largest tidal range in the world, only the Bay of Fundy in Canada has greater. For us this means when the tide goes out you can barely see the sea, so distant is it, and when it comes in, it’s dangerously fast, causing the sand and mud to turn to jelly.

Back to household stains, and in Modern Practical Cookery there are eight pages of how to get rid of them, and among the long list of what you might expect, ink, paint, grass, there’s seawater.  Just in case you have a problem with seawater stains, here are some helpful hints:

  • sea water stains on leather can be removed by by cleaning a small part at a time with cool water containing a little powdered soap. Rinse and wipe ff the soap and, when dry, clean with a good wax shoe polish.
    A black leather handbag can be renovated by rubbing it with a dry cloth to remove any lose dust, then dip  piece of flannel in ammonia and rub all over. Next put on a coat of American ink with a paint brush, and when dry, polish with a wax furniture polish.
  • sea water stains can generally be removed with brushing. If they do not come out in this way washing may be needed. Often sea water destroys the colour, and if this has happened, the only remedy is re-dying.
  • sea water on coloured stockinette material will sometimes change the colour, and this can be remedied by soaking the marks in acetic acid and water, or vinegar with water. This should restore the colour, but if it does not do so, re-dyeing is the only remedy.

I hope this is of help to you 😉



    1. Lois

      Haha – but only reading about it… I’m not seeking out items with made of obscure materials with unusual marks cause by unexpected other items… some of the treatments are actually poisonous, no wonder murder by poisoning was so easy in the olden days!


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