Every year I bring back loads of old dirty, patched, frayed (did I say stained??) household linens. And every year, my mom picks them all up from me, takes them home to her laundry room and scrubs, soaks, washes, dries and presses every one -- and then delivers it. Many times I don't even recognize the piece because of the beauty mom has found underneath the grime.
Right now she is working on a pair of old linen French flags (the kind of flags the French fly in front of the Marie)
and... because we can't determine the year (they are really old but not really delicate) mom doesn't know if she should soak them or not - lest the color runs. So we are stuck - to wash or not to wash. They are really dirty. Good luck mom!