How to Care for Your Vintage Clothing

how to care for vintage clothing,

As previously promised, I wanted to share with you how to maintain and care for your vintage goods. Different from our modern day counterparts, vintage clothing is usually much more delicate and needs to be handled with that in mind.

I am a bit of a laundry snob myself. Strangely, I pride myself on this. I figure that if I thought enough to spend my hard earned money on something I am going to go through the proper steps to care for it. This mentality was only perpetuated once I started college and discovered my professor earned her doctorate on proper care methods of clothing. I personally found it fascinating and soaked up any tidbits she offered.

Here are a few that should be applied to all goods, not just vintage:

  • The hotter the water, the cleaner the goods.
    This doesn’t mean you should start washing everything on hot. It means that you should try to wash your clothes on the warmest temperature the fabric can tolerate. There is a reason your care labels usually recommend a cold wash, it is much more gentle on the fibers. Which should ultimately lead to the longevity of your goods.
  • Do not put wool in a washer machine.
    I have stupidly tried to debunk this and immediately regretted it. Wool fibers are spiral and will warp easily when wet. Any kind of agitation (even hand wash cycle in the washer machine) will cause wool to shrink, stretch, and any other kind of warp you can imagine.
  • Do not put a stained article in the dryer.
    Dry heat does in fact set in stains. When treating a spot on your clothes allow it to air dry and assess the spot before placing it in the dryer.

Now for your vintage care techniques. I am no expert on how to care for vintage clothing, so I found two articles that provided really good information on this topic.

I liked this article on hand washing techniques. The article and my professor both recommended using Woolite or a similar product for this process. I have personally just used my usual laundry detergent and so far everything has turned out fine. As for the rest of the article, it’s the same method my professor told us about and the one I have always used when actually hand washing goods.

This second article provides good information on more specific care information: spot treatments, fiber care, and pressing techniques.

My main tip of advice, when in doubt seek additional advice. You can try calling a local business that specializes in vintage to see if they have any tips or resources for you. Also, you may want to try contacting your local museum. After all, preservation is one of their specialties.

I would love to hear about any care tips you know of in the comments below!


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