Over the course of a cross-stitching or needlework project, it's unlikely that your Aida cloth will remain 100 per cent pristine. Even storage or display can lead to spots, discolouration or yellowing over time. However, Aida isn't really designed for washing in a machine. Aida frays easily and will come apart in even the gentlest of machine cycles. Plus the delicate embroidery can come undone easily. You can get stains, discolouration, and dust out of your Aida cloth, whether you've already embroidered it or not, without risk of damage or fraying.
Fill the sink with cold water and dishwashing liquid--just a couple of drops, enough to make a bit of a lather on the surface of the water.
Submerge the Aida cloth in the sink, and gently rub the stain with your fingers. Don't scrub with a sponge or a scrub-brush, which could cause the threads to fray or break. Rub gently until the spot begins to fade.
Leave the Aida to soak in the sink for another 5 to 10 minutes. Check on it periodically, and rub the stain again if it doesn't seem to be lifting.
Spread out one of the two clean towels on the counter. Lift the Aida cloth out of the sink. Lay it flat on the towel, and place the other towel on top. Let it dry for at least 30 minutes. If, after 30 minutes, the cloth still isn't dry, hang it over a towel rack to finish drying.
Clean any remaining stains with a cotton swab dipped in hydrogen peroxide. Dab it directly onto the stain, and let it rest for a minute or two. Rinse the hydrogen peroxide out in cold water, and dry the cloth. Don't apply it to embroidery, only to blank Aida cloth, as it can cause the colours to fade or bleed.
If your Aida fabric is wrinkled after cleaning, you can iron it. If you have already embroidered it, however, be sure to iron with the embroidery facing down to protect it.
You should never, under any circumstances, wash unfinished (or even in most cases, finished) Aida in the washing machine. Due to the loose weave, it unravels very quickly, and you'll lose a lot of valuable surface area as a result. In addition, on Aida fabric which has been embroidered, pull out any knots or loose threads and begin to undo your stitches. Don't use hot water when you're washing fabric which has already been embroidered; it can cause the threads to bleed colours.