How to Clean Vintage Embroidery

Written by rachel conoley
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How to Clean Vintage Embroidery
. (blackboard1965/iStock/Getty Images)

Whether you have inherited a piece of vintage embroidery from your grandmother or found it at a garage sale, it is likely to have acquired dirt and stains over the years. Depending on the types of soiling and the origins of the embroidery, cleaning vintage embroidery may be an easy task--or a nearly impossible one. You will need to approach the job carefully to avoid putting unnecessary wear on the embroidered piece.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Water
  • Dish detergent
  • White scrap or rag cloth

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  1. 1

    Consider the value of the embroidery. If it has strong sentimental value to you, or if you believe it may be a rare antique, you may want to take it to a professional textile restorer rather than risk damaging it by washing.

  2. 2

    Vacuum the piece gentle with a hand-held vacuum to remove dust and other dry surface contaminants.

  3. 3

    Wet a small portion of the embroidery with plain water, and then hold a piece of white cloth to the wet spot for a few minutes. Check to see if any of the dyes bleed. If so, you may want to spot clean instead of immersing the item, especially if the embroidery itself is relatively clean and only the backing cloth is dirty.

  4. 4

    Immerse the embroidery in cold water containing a small amount of dish detergent. Wash the item gently.

  5. 5

    Rinse thoroughly in cold water. Lay flat to dry. Iron on a low setting if necessary to remove wrinkles.

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