How To Clean Vintage Fabric

The key to knowing how to cleaning vintage fabric is by doing it carefully. Vintage fabric is very delicate material and needs to be handled as such. Although vintage is beautiful, it won't be for long if you clean it the wrong way.

What you need to clean vintage fabric:

  • Tub, basin or sink
  • Cold water
  • Mild detergent
  1. Vintage fabric must be cleaned by hand. If you put this delicate material in the washing machine, you will for sure ruin it. The washing machine will cause too much agitation that will result in torn and twisted vintage garments. Hand washing vintage fabric is the only safe way to clean it.
  2. Find a basin to clean the fabric. You will need a basin large enough to fit the vintage garment that needs to be cleaned. A sink or a bathtub is a good suggestion. Make sure the basin is clean and fill it with cold water. Cold water will keep the vintage fabric from shrinking and fading.
  3. Choose a mild detergent. Concentrated detergents or those heavy with perfumes are going to be too harsh for vintage fabric. Detergents used to wash baby clothing or products like Woolite are good choices. Make sure that it is perfume and dye free. Add a capful of soap for a bathtub and a quarter of a capful of soap for a sink. Mix it around with your hands.
  4. Soak your vintage garment. Loosely put the vintage garment in the soapy solution, and let it soak for about ten minutes until the fabric is saturated. Letting the garment soak will safely release any dirt and residue that has absorbed into the fabric. You may have to push the garment under the water a little with your hands.
  5. Wash the vintage fabric. Now lift the garment in and out of the basin a few times to move the soap around to wash it. This is all the agitation you need to clean vintage fabric. Any more motion than this may cause you to accidentally tear the material.
  6. Time to rinse. Empty the soapy water from the basin. Run cold water over the vintage garment until all soap suds are gone. Gently push the material to the bottom of the basin to help rinse out the soap, but do not ring it out. Once the water runs clear, turn off the water and push the garment to the bottom of the basin one last time to get as much water out as possible.
  7. Hang dry the garment. Do not put the vintage fabric in the dryer. The heat from the dryer will destroy the delicate material. Hang the vintage garment in an open doorway or over the shower rod to air dry.
  8. Take it to a professional. If all else fails, take the vintage fabric to a professional cleaner. This will be the most guaranteed safe cleaning for any kind of vintage material. Although this may cost you a little bit, it may be worth it.
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