Two things inspired this post:
- Some of my handmade dresses were not making it out of the washer/dryer as safely as I would have hoped.
- I saw some beautiful images of hand washed vintage garments on DearGolden’s instagram feed.
I decided I needed to do a bit of research on how to properly care for my precious handmades, and extend their lifespan. I asked Lauren of Dear Golden for a few tips.
I found that knowing how to properly prewash your fabric will indicate how you should wash and dry your final garment. I now hand wash nearly all of my handmades with the following process:
Give it a warm bath with appropriate strength detergent.
Lauren says, “I don’t have a set method or process for cleaning vintage. It’s garment by garment based on the fabric, age, condition and type of stain/discoloration.”
The being said, the products she uses are (from most gentle to most heavy duty):
- Water only.
- Palmolive for anything that seems organic.
- Fantastik on synthetic chiffon or acetate.
- Regular Tide.
- Nellie’s oxygen brightener.
- Borax, OxiClean & bleach very very sparingly and never on silk or lace.
“Different garments have different needs – I’ll have one tub with more harsh stuff in it with perhaps a cotton dress that can deal with that, right on down to a tub that just has water in it.”
Rinse & Soak
Drain out soapy water, rinse off the garment, then let it soak in clean water.
Gently squeeze water out so the garment is not sopping wet, then lay it out on a towel.
Now that your garment isn’t sopping wet, you can hang it on a clothesline to finish drying.
Tip: Don’t have enough yard for a clothesline? They make really nifty ones you can mount above your bathtub! I have one of these at home and use is weekly to hang-dry all of my intimates.
Or just lay your garments out in the grass to sun-dry like Lauren did below. “The sun does wonders. Sometimes just soaking say a cold-rayon dress in water, quickly so it doesn’t bleed as they sometimes do, then letting it dry laying flat in the sun will remedy stains.”
Do you have any machine wash/dry disaster stories? How do you cheer yourself up when mistakes happen?