Cleaning vintage fabrics part 2

Welcome to part 2 of our vintage cleaning series.

In Part 1, we figured out what type of fabric we have and if the garment is washable or not. 

But how much cleaning does our vintage garment need?  What’s next?

Thoroughly check for spots, stains, loose buttons, zippers, etc. Do any mending before you clean. You don’t want a loose button coming off in the wash or a zipper pulling out or a hem coming undone.

Does the garment need a complete cleaning or just a spot cleaning? Spot cleaning can be done by using a damp cloth and blotting or soaking only the stained area with a mild soap solution. But, what is that stain anyway? Ah, now it gets tricky. Different stains require different solutions. We will address those next time.IMG_4137

However, if the garment is simply musty and needs refreshing, a quick dunk in a mild soap solution will work wonders. Mild soaps include products such as Woolite, Mrs. Meyers Clean Day, The Honest Company Laundry Soap, or Zote Soap Laundry Bar. Always use lukewarm water, never hot, and let your garment soak in a tub or sink where it has plenty of room to move around. Gently swish it around, never twist or rub old fabrics as they can damage easily. When the water gets ugly, change it out. This may take several changes of soapy water before it runs clear. Once the water runs clear, rinse it well to be sure there is no residue left. Remove it from the rinse water and use an absorbent towel to pat or squeeze most of the water out. Lay your garment flat to dry. If you can dry it in the sun, even better. 

Remember, vintage clothing can be old and delicate, wear and wash it with care.

If your stain does not come out with a mild soap solution, you may need to do further work. Next time we will tackle the various types of stains and how to handle each one.