A Guide to Cleaning Vintage Clothing

A little stain or smell doesn't have to mean the end for your favorite vintage item. Vintage clothing can go through a lot in it's lifetime, but with proper cleaning and care your treasured vintage pieces will stay looking their best.

There are a lot of options in caring for clothing today, but not all of them may be right for your vintage item. These are some of the options:

Wash by Hand

Filled laundry basket
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The gentlest and most loving way to clean vintage clothing is to wash it by hand. It is very likely that hand washing was the original means of cleaning for your vintage item and it is often more effective than you may think. Try hand washing as a first step in washing a vintage piece, keeping in mind that if it is not enough you can try other methods.

  • Hand wash gently with homemade soap flakes

Removing Stains

There were lots of opportunities for your vintage item to get stained in its previous lives, but that doesn't mean you have to be stuck with them!

Removing Odors

It's more rare to find a vintage item that DOES NOT smell, than one that has no odor. The good news is that odor is not permanent, and much easier to banish than unknown stains. If a gentle cleansing doesn't work, there are other gentle at home methods that can help to remove odors from you vintage.

  • Use vinegar to remove odors in vintage
  • Natural odor removers for textiles

Dry Cleaning

If you are unsure as to whether or not you should dry clean you vintage clothing, make sure you know the fiber/fabric it is made of first. Certain fabrics should always be dry cleaned and so should any garment with decorative details like beading and metallic embroidery.

  • When should you dry clean?

Camouflage Imperfections

Vintage clothing has been worn, and chances are, they have imperfections. A few imperfections are not the same as damage, and they are part of what give vintage its charm. Easily mask unwanted imperfections in your vintage with quick fixes using accessories and other camouflaging techniques.