To Take Spottes of Blacke Ynke or Other Things, Out of Wollen or Linnen Clothe. (Lemon Juice) – 2014

There were a few recipes using the juice of lemons for stain removal.  The recipe I decided use is from the 1578 text The Third and Last Part of the The Secretes of the Reuerend Maister Alexis of Piemont.

To take spottes of blacke ynke or other things out of wollen or linnen cloth (lemon juice)

To take spots of black ink or other things out of woolen or linen cloth.

Take green lemons or green oranges with their peels, which the Italians call ‘Pomi de Adam’ or which of the two you will: take only the liquid moisture which you take out by pressing it, wherewith you shall rub well the spots and then let them dry.  This done, take lukewarm water and wash the said spots and let them dry again.  And if you see that at the first time the spots are not well enough removed, do it once again, and the cloth will return to its color again.


  • 1-2 Lemons
  • Water

Squeeze the juice out of a lemon.  Rub the spots with the lemon juice and allow to dry.  Wash cloth with luke-warm water and allow to dry again.  If the spots remain, repeat with the lemon juice.  pH ~2


This was one of the ‘surprise’ results.  Lemon juice didn’t fare well on most of the stains; however, it was the only treatment method (including the modern detergents) to remove the ink stain.  Given that this recipe was specifically for removing ink stains, I think this recipe worked as advertised.

A. Olive Oil – Gone

B. Red Wine – OK

C. Mustard Sauce – OK

D. Green Sauce – OK

E. Blood – OK

F. Mud – OK

G. Beeswax – Not Good

H. Iron Gall Ink – Gone!


Gone No noticeable trace of stain remaining
Mostly gone The stain has mostly been removed but there is a slight discoloration
OK The stain has been lightened but there is still a noticeable discoloration.
Not Good No change or the stain is still very noticeable.
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