The above photo is a warning to those of you who don't wash their vintage! The yucky water is a result of years of dust, dead skin cells and dirt. So its literally unsanitary if you wear vintage before washing it. I am by no means a professional when it comes to knowing how to wash old fabrics. I am sure there are many people out there who have different methods and know a lot more. I am just showing you my method, one that has worked for me. I hope I can help you in making your vintage as clean as possible without risking any damage to it.
What you'll need:
1. Large plastic container- others simply wash the item directly in the bath tub. To make it sanitary for both the customer and myself, (no I don't want to bathe in a bath where I soak hundreds of units per year nor do you want your garment washed in a bath tub where I bathe myself) I place the plastic container in the tub and wash the garment inside it. Please don't think I am saying your unsanitary if you wash your vintage directly in your tub, I just personally don't like to.
3. Baking soda- I purchase the large box because I seem to go through the small box too fast.
4. Oxi Clean
5. Wooden spoon
6. Starch- I prefer Faultless over other brands.
7. Iron and ironing board (of course)
Step 1. Prep the item. If it has stains, spray Oxi Clean directly on the spot and use a wet wash cloth to rub it in. If the stain is bad, do the same thing again. Then wait 10 minutes or more depending on the severity of the stain.
*Side note: if the stain is severe I recommend taking it to the dry cleaners. They have much
stronger stain fighters than the ones that us regular folks can buy at the drug store. You also
don't want to try to wash it yourself first because doing this can actually lock the stain in,
making it more difficult for the dry cleaners to remove it. So just save the time and hassle and
head to your trusted dry cleaners.
Step 2. Place the plastic container in the tub and fill it with warm water.
Step 3. Pour the Woolite in the container (use more or less depending on your load size).
Step 4. Pour the baking soda in the container. I use a 1/3 cup scooper in which I usually pour in two scoops (totaling 2/3 cup). I would add more if you have 3 or more pieces your washing at one time and especially if the garment has a foul odor. Baking soda won't hurt the garment, it will just make it smell so much better, so go ahead and pour that stuff on in there!
Step 5. Mix the concoction with a wooden spoon until the water has bubbles and until you see that the baking soda and Woolite is mixed in.
Step 6. Set the garment inside the container and use the wooden spoon again to swish it around for a few moments.
*Side note: in this example, I am washing only one piece but if you have multiple loads to wash,
makesure to separate colors just like you would do with your normal laundry. (Duh! Right? I
know you know that but I am just making sure because I feel like vintage fabrics bleed even
more than newer ones.)
Step 7. Wait 45 minutes if the garment isn't too dirty and doesn't have much of an odor. Wait 1 hour or more if the garment has a foul odor and there is a lot of dirt.
Step 8. Ring the dress out and rinse it under fresh running bath water until you know it is rinsed of that yucky water above.
Step 9. Find a place outside in the sun to let the garment dry out. It may take all day depending on where you live. It usually takes 2-3 hours here in Southern California. (Never place it in the dryer.)
Step 10. Once it is dry, now its time to iron. Spray the starch on each area and go over it with your iron (make sure it is on the right setting and is not too hot or you'll ruin the fabric).
*Side note: I take all of my fragile and formal pieces to the dry cleaners. To me, I'd rather pay
$10 to get it professionally cleaned than risk ruining it all together. I pay too much money for
my stuff and I am sure you do too.
*Side note: make sure not to spray too much starch in one area. This can cause white residue
which means the starch had no where to go so it ends up on the bottom of the iron or on the
surface of the fabric. If this does happen to you, wet a wash cloth with warm water and rub it
onto the white spot, make sure the iron is clean of excess starch and go over the white spot
again with the iron. It should disappear.
Step 11. After the garment is ironed, use a steamer to get the wrinkles out, that the iron could not. I usually find that the steamer is great for getting the wrinkles out of the area at the waistline and the top of the skirt... and wah lah! Your vintage piece is now clean and ready to wear! If you have any questions, ask them in the comments section below and I will try to answer them :)
This skirt is coming to the shop this week! :)