Because vintage clothes have been around for many years, they are more prone to disintegration. One act of negligence and you are likely to jeopardize their condition and value. But how do you actually maintain and clean vintage clothing? Many people end up ruining their vintage clothes because they know little about the fabric, cleaning chemicals and solutions, and procedures. If there’s one thing you have to keep in mind when cleaning vintage items it is to be extra careful.
Wash and Handle With Care
Some are not naturally good at washing; they cannot even be trusted with their ordinary clothes. If you are one of them, it’s better not to attempt washing your vintage items. It would do you better if you bring them to a cleaning specialist. Washing vintage clothes is unlike washing your ordinary clothes, for one, because they require special effort—you need to handwash them one at a time. Remember that the fabrics have aged and weakened considerably and subjecting them to rigid rotation inside a washing machine may cause damages. Same is true with the dyer, so to be on the safe side, consider air or drip drying your garments. Only make sure to use padded hangers instead of wood and metal, as these kinds may cause stains.
Take note, however, that washing is good only to certain fabrics such as cotton, nylon, and some wools and silks. Others may shrink, lose their body and finish, and get distorted, thus requiring dry cleaning. Examples are rayon and lace. In some cases, though, they only need to be aired. For instance, if the garment is relatively clean but has a persisting odor, hang it outside. But keep in mind that some fabrics, such as white and cream wools and silks, may be prone to discoloration if put under direct sunlight. To preserve their color, hang them in a room with a bowl of vinegar for some days to remove the odor.
For some reasons, stains and undesirable marks manage to settle in vintage clothes, and usually they appear in the most exposed areas. Whether they are caused by storing conditions or constant use, you need to get rid of them. To remove stains, you can either use commercial cleaning solutions or simple household ingredients. Lemon juice and white vinegar, for instance, can work well in removing deodorant, rust, and mildew stains.
For deodorant stains, use pure lemon juice or white vinegar and dab the stained area with a clean white cloth. Rust stains, on the other hand, can be removed with a mixture of salt and lemon juice. For mildew stains, mix lemon juice or white vinegar and water in equal amounts and spray the mixture on the stain. You are likely to kill the mildew this way and therefore prevent it from reappearing.
Check the care label of your garment to see if there are additional or special maintenance procedures. After cleaning your vintage clothes, make sure to store them properly. You can even put moth holes in your closet to prevent moth damages.
Cleaning vintage clothes on your own assures you they receive proper care, but you should also know when it is more appropriate to bring them to a cleaning specialist. It may cost you some amount, yet doing so guarantees you not only clean vintage clothing pieces but also pieces that are in undeniably good shape. In the end, it’s a good investment.