• Allerley Mackel: To remove stains from cloth, velvet, silk, gold stuffs and clothing
    these stains being of grease, oil or wine stains or any other kinds, and how to do this easily without damage, with waters or lyes as will be taught in this booklet.

    Thereto also how to restore clothing which has lost its color, as well as how one dyes yarn and linen, and also wood and bone, in a variety of colors.

    Modern English (post-1500)
    Published in 1532
    Renaissance Dyeing Terms
    1500 AD - 1599 AD


To restore the lost color to a garment

Take one pound of crushed weyd ashes and pour four mass of water thereon. Let it stand a night, and then pour off the lye and take two ox galls and a handful of dried birch leaves, mix them together in the lye and let it boil together a half hour or until the leaves sink to the bottom. Let it cool; then, whichever color you would restore, add wool shearings dyed that color to the lye and boil it again and let it stand fourteen days or longer. The lye will take the color from the wool. Then pour it off and wash the cloth therein that you wish to renew. In this way the color returns again to the cloth.

To remove spots from wool cloth.

Take cold lye of beech ashes, put therin a little lees of wine and also some burned clay (gebranten leimen) from a baking oven. Lay the cloth therein where it is spotted, and all stains will be removed. Thereafter wash the wool with clean water, and let it dry in the sun.

Another Way

Six ounces alum feces , four ounces crude tartar, two ounces alum, one half quintin camphor, one half quintin dragon’s blood, grind all together very small and mix it well together. Then take six ounces ox gall and six bucklin of clear water, put these things all in a kettle, let boil down a third, after which strain it through a cloth. If you cannot get the ox gall or the camphor, the water is strong enough. If you would use it, take a new woolen scrap, moisten it in the water, and rub the spot or stain with it. When the piece of cloth becomes dry, moisten it again with the water and rub until the spot has disappeared; thereupon take warm water and wash the place where the stain has been. But for white cloth take the same water and add some soap, boil it, and do as before.

Another way

Six ox galls and as much rain water, a half pound tartar, two loth alum, grind it all small. Take then a drinking glass full of vinegar, put therein another half loth of vitriol pounded fine, boil it all down a third, and use it as aforesaid.

To make a water for removing spots from white cloth

Take four ounces alum feces and two bucklin full of water, and let it boil down a quarter. Then take white soap and cut it into small pieces, take also an ounce of alum, and put it all in the water. Let it stand for two days and use it then on white cloth, as mentioned above.

How one removes grease or oil spots from white cloth

Take starch which has been boiled with flour and soak the cloth therein for a night where the grease or oil spots have set in the cloth. Then wash it in clear running water and hang it up in a place where the sun shines. However, if you wash cloth of costly colors, then you must hang it so that the sun shines a bit but not too hot, so that the color won't fade, as the hot sun soon damages costly colors.

How to remove grease or oil spots from various clothing including white ones

Take water from boiled peas, soak the spots therein, and wash thereupon with clean fresh running water; hang it then where the sun shines warmly.

Another for removing grease spots

(Take) cold lye warmed a little with wine lees and mixed well together, that it is not too hot, and use as above.

To remove wine spots from various cloths

(Take) beech-ash lye and white wine lees in equal amounts, let the cloth lie therin over night, wash it then with clear water and hang it in the sun.

To remove various stains from silken veils

(Take) juice of chanterelles, soak the stains therein for two hours, wash it then with clear water and let it dry.

To remove various stains and spots from crimson velvet

Take vine stem ashes, make with them a good lye, the which lye take two bucklin full and put therein a loth of alum feces. Let it stand a while and then strain it through. Then take a fifth of an ounce of alum, a fifth of hard soap, a half fifth of soft soap, a quarter of common salt, a quarter sal ammoniac, a half-quarter celandine juice, and a quarter calf's gall. Mix it all together and strain it through a linen cloth. To use this liquid, then take wool shearings of scarlet and add thereto a little fine ground brasilwood, boil it all in this water a little, sieve it again through a cloth, and you will have a good red water which removes all stains. And whatever colors you wish to remove spots from, take the same color of wool shearings and do with it as has been taught above.

A water that takes away all dirt and spots from cloth of gold and velvet

Take crude red arsenic, and crude Mars, of each an equal part, grind it small and pour clean running water thereon. Also put five-leaved herb therein, and let it boil down by half, then let it cool and stand in the sun for two hours. Afterwards wash the cloth of gold or velvet therewith, and let it dry in the sun.

To make pearls which look like real pearls in all respects

Take the snail shells that one finds in water and boil them in wine until their black color goes away. Let them dry and scrape the black thoroughly off. Grind the white remains in a mortar, put it through a sieve, take egg whites beaten thin like water and put the powder therein. Make a paste thereof and form pearls out of it as you will, brush them well and let them dry. Place them in a pot , place the pot over a fire, and when the pot becomes hot pour them onto dry sand. Take thereto quicksilver and warm it, pour the pearls therein and stir it well, so that the silver adheres to them; then pour egg white on them and set them again over a so they will be well prepared.

Some however do it this way: when they have brushed the pearls, then they let the pearls dry, and then take them and boil them in linseed oil, and wash them in hot water.

To dye yarn and linen cloth blue

Take the black dwarf elder berries, dry them in the sun and soak them in vinegar for 12 hours. Squeeze them with your hands, strain them and press it through a cloth. Put ground verdegris and alum therein. If the color should turn out light blue then add more verdegris. Lay the yarn or the linen cloth therein.

Or take blue bilberries, pour water thereon, let it soak for three or four days, put alum therein and boil it well together.

To make a blue dye to dye anything

Two loth of copper slag, a quarter salt, three spoonfuls vinegar, and put it all together in a copper vessel. Let it stand, and when you want to dye, put the named materials in a well-warmed decoction of brazilwood and dye what you wish therewith.

To dye red

One loth of brasilwood sawdust, a loth of cinnabar ground small, boil with rainwater, also put in a lump as big as a walnut of ground alum. Boil it down by half, and dye therewith. You can also boil the brasil two or three times, as long as you add a little more cinnabar to it.

Another red dye

Take unslaked lime and pour rainwater thereon. Let it stand overnight and sieve the clear part through a cloth, and take for every mass of water a loth of brasilwood sawdust. Let it boil down by half. Add thereto a loth of ground alum, sieve the liquid free of the wood, and let it be somewhat hot but don't let the dye boil. Whatever you wish to dye should be prepared in the following manner:

Take the lees of red wine and put them in a sack so that the wine runs out and the lees become dry. Then make balls or lumps of it the size of a hen's egg. Let them dry in the sun. Then burn them to ashes, and from these ashes make a strong lye and make it boiling hot. Whatever you wish to dye, heat with this and let it dry. Thereafter pass it through the aforementioned dye.

To dye yarn and linen cloth brown

Take a pound of wild saffron and put it in a bag. Lay it a day and a night in flowing water; thereafter wash it until no more yellow color comes from it. Take then a pot and lay a layer of saffron therein which is not too thick. Strew thereon finely ground weyd ashes then again a layer of saffron and again weyd ashes, etc. Cover or stop it up well, and let it stand for seven hours. Take then eight mass of water, four mass vinegar and put the saffron and ashes in a pointed lye sack (long, pointed sack?). Let the warm water and vinegar run through 15 times, and this will be the last dye. Again take the same amount of water and vinegar, let it run through as before, and this is the second dye. Do it a third time, and this will be the first dye. Take this dye and warm it, and let the yarn lie therein for a night. Hang it up once its wrung out. Do the same with the second dye, and in the third let it lie for seven hours.

How one dyes wood, bone and horn

Any wood, bone, or horn you want to dye must lie for half a day in alum water, and then be allowed once more to dry. Then it should be dyed as follows.

To dye a green color

Take two parts verdigris, one third of sal ammoniac, grind it well together, and lay it in strong vinegar. In this vinegar lay the wood, bone or horn, and cover it tightly, and let it lie therein until it is green enough.

Another green

Lay the wood, bone, or horn in a glass jar, and pour vinegar thereon which has verdigris mixed in it so that it is quite thick and not too thin. Cover it well and let it sit seven days under warm horse manure. If it is not green enough, let it stand longer.

Another [Green]

You can also do it in the same way as described above, verdigris mixed with vinegar. Lay the wood, bone or horn therein, let it stand the same amount of time, take it out and lay it for 18 days under hot horse manure, which is moist.

To dye red.

If you would dye wood, bone, or horn red, you should take unslaked lime, pour rainwater thereon, let it stand overnight and in the morning sieve the clear portion through a cloth. Then take for one mass of water one loth of brasilwood sawdust, lay the bone, wood or horn therein, and let it boil well therein. But you must lay it in alum water beforehand.

To dye yellow

Take the bark of apple trees, scrape the outer rough skin from it, keep the middle layer and cut it into small pieces. Pour water thereon, lay the wood, bone or horn therein, also put alum therein and let it boil well together.

To dye black

Boil ground gall nuts in strong vinegar. Lay the wood, bone or horn therein, let it boil well together, take it out and lay it in egg white. Also add the juice of the outer shells of walnut, and let it boil once again.

To soften horn

Take urine which has stood covered for four weeks, and put in a pound of unslaked lime and half as much weyd ashes, or ashes of wine lees, eight loth tartar and as much salt, and mix everything well together. Let it boil well, pour it then in a lye sack and let it run through twice. Keep this lye well covered, and when you want to soften horn, let it lye therein eight days and it will become soft.

Or take poppy stems with their tops, burn them to ashes, make a lye from this, and let the horn boil therin.

To make horn so soft that it can be worked into forms

Take one pound of ashes used to make glass, a pound of unslaked lime, one mass of water, and let it boil together until two thirds is boiled off. Then stick a feather in and run it between the fingers; if the hairs come away, it is boiled enough. If not, let it boil longer. Let it clear and strain the top portion off. Then take small chips of horn, let it soften therin for two days, then smear your hands with oil and work the horn well between them till it is a paste, then put it into whatever form you wish.

Another of the same [to make horn soft]

Juice of the herb called in Latin marubium album, and celery juice, also juice from Millefolii herb, also radish juice, and celandine juice, also strong vinegar; mix it all together and lay the horn therein, and set it for seven days, well covered, under warm horse manure. Work with it then as is mentioned above.

To pour horn in molds like lead

Take weyd ashes and unslaked lime and make a strong lye therefrom. In this lye, lay chips of horn and let it boil well together until it is a paste. And whatever color you want to have, grind it and put it in and pour it as you will.