Caring for Vintage Clothes – How It’s Done

Do you happen to own a vintage, timeless piece of clothing like a dress or a suit? If the answer is yes, then you will most definitely benefit from a few tips on how to maintain and care for them.

  • Get Yourself a Clothes Steamer

It should come to no surprise that vintage clothes pieces are made of higher quality fabrics, namely wool or silk. However, despite the obvious advantages of finer clothing material, they can also cause you a headache when it comes to taking proper care of them. That being said, ironing such clothes is extremely risky. If you needed an excuse to get away from ironing duties, there you have it.

Instead, invest in a clothes steamer of good quality. Experts claim that steaming is one of the best methods to care for and maintain vintage clothing. Clothes steamers have two major advantages over irons: they are considerably faster and will not damage the material. The only two materials which are not supposed to be steamed are leather and suede, but they hardly ever wrinkle anyways. What’s more, you can comfortably steam clothes that are labeled as dry clean only.

There are many available models of clothes steamers on the market today. You can get one of a good quality for about $150 – $200. Granted, that is a lot more than a good quality iron, but you can still find a proper clothes steamer for around $50, just not with as many functions and settings.

  • How Vintage Clothes Should be Washed

There are basically two ways to wash vintage clothes: using a washing machine and by hand. The debate on which method is better is practically endless, but let’s take a look at them separately.

  • Using a Washing Machine

Most people that have deep appreciation towards vintage clothes will argue that washing them this way is a definite no-no. However, some of them do admit that there are exceptions. Generally, clothes originating as far back as the 70s can be washed in a washer. Depending on the condition of the fabric and if the label says it’s washable you can throw it in the washer and not have a worry in sight. However, always use cold water only and never, ever put them in the dryer. Line dry them instead.

  • Washing by Hand

The majority of vintage clothes lovers prefer this method, and it is the only method that should be used on clothes dating back from the 1960s and further. However, you should not hand wash clothes that are labeled as dry clean only, since you will end up shrinking them.

The ones labeled as dry clean recommended can be washed but with extreme caution. And if you do decide to hand wash a piece made of silk, make sure to use cold water only.

If you are not certain on how to proceed with the washing part, you may as well skip it. Odors and small wrinkles can be easily eliminated by steaming. If you are worried about bacteria, then simply place the clothes in the freezer for 24-48 hours.