How to Clean Vintage Lace

Updated April 17, 2017

Although it might seem scary or daunting to clean lace, especially if it is old, it is very simple as long as you follow directions. First, it is recommended to wash other lace that is not as old or has little sentimental value just to make sure that you correctly measured the amounts of cleaner. Once you are comfortable with the solution, you can wash your vintage lace.

Check the lace for damage before washing it, so you don't tear it or damage it further.

After checking the lace and ensuring there is no damage, soak it in a clean sink or tub filled with lukewarm water, especially if the lace is yellowed or stained. After a few minutes, add a liquid laundry soap that is gentle and made for sink-cleaning, such as Woolite or Dr. Bronners. Allow the lace to soak for about 15 minutes.

After soaking, or if the lace doesn't need to be soaked for too long, gently wash the lace by folding it and rubbing it gently together. Don't grate the areas together, as this could cause fraying or wear in the lace.

After the lace is clean, lay it out on a clean, dry surface; use something that the wet lace will not stick to, such as glass, or an unpainted or unstained drying rack.


"Tough" laundry soaps, or non-liquid laundry soaps, are not good for washing vintage lace. Read the labels on the vintage lace, as some are machine-wash safe.


Do not rub too hard because it could cause damage to lace; especially very delicate laces. Do not put lace into a tub or sink that has bleach in it, or use detergents with bleach. Putting lace in sunlight yellows it; make sure you place it away from windows and glass doors.

Things You'll Need

  • Large, clean sink or tub
  • Lukewarm water
  • Gentle laundry soap in the form of liquid, such as Tide, Woolite or Dr. Bronners
  • Clean, flat surface for drying
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About the Author

Harper Jones has been a freelance writer since 2007. Her work has appeared in "Zink! Fashion Magazine," "emPower Magazine" and the "Washington Post." She has also published several health and fitness e-books and a book of short stories. Jones graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in English and health sciences and currently works as a yoga teacher.