How to care for your vintage 

 

Hey– vintage is obviously the coolest, but it’s fragile! After all, some of these clothes are older than you and therefor, they deserve some respect. Don’t toss your nice vintage into the washing machine with your teeshirts and jeans, even if your nice vintage IS teeshirts and jeans!

We wanted to make sure our goods stay good after you receive them, so we made this handy care guide that we plan to keep expanding, cause we’re still learning just like you! Read below to find out everything you need to know about the garments you’ve got.

A note about dry cleaning: Dry cleaning is great and useful, but it can be harsh on your items. We recommend it here, as most of our pieces are from the latter part of the last decade, and in better condition for this type of cleaning. If you have an especially delicate piece, or the fabric on your vintage is thin with age, dry cleaning might ruin it. If you choose dry-cleaning, don’t hesitate to make sure the cleaner is experienced with vintage. Dry cleaning cannot remove pit stains , but they can often remove oil stains and other accidents which makes them a better option for oops clean-up, and not so much for general refreshing. Choose smart.

Use caution with these embellishments:

  • metal buttons, some of which can rust if kept in water too long

  • vintage embroidery which can leech dye onto garments of a lighter color when submerged in soapy water

  • painted leather, as the paint can scrub away

  • EAT IT UP Glitter Embroidery, do not expose to direct heat, or scrub the surface

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Cotton

Cotton is one of the easiest materials to care for. Teeshirts, many basic dress shirts, and casual dresses are made from cotton. It can be stretchy, like jersey, or not stretchy at all.

Cleaning: For casual vintage cotton pieces, you may machine wash on cold- delicate cycle, and drip dry, or dry flat for heavier items and knits to avoid stretching. Cotton can shrink in hot temperatures, even if it’s vintage. For more formal vintage cotton pieces, we recommend hand washing and drip drying. Other than that, dry-cleaning is probably a safe bet.

Soaps: Any natural or delicate laundry detergent. Restoration Detergent soaking for stains and brightening.

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Wool

Wool is a natural fiber, that is used commonly is high quality vintage. Generally associated with bulky sweaters, wool is used in beautiful and surprising ways, especially in vintage, from fine men’s suiting, to tightly woven women’s separates. Even the thinnest pants or scarves can turn out to be made of wool.

Cleaning: It’s best to take wool items to a dry cleaners when they need a refresh, but you can also wash at home. Make sure to only use cold water on wool pieces whether in the machine on a gentle cycle or in the sink. You can pre-soak your wool in cold water before placing in the washing machine to prep the sensitive material. ALWAYS dry flat, as wool can warp when tumble dried or hung. Wash lights and darks separate, even on vintage, as wool can leach dye.

Soaps: Use wool detergents only. Woolite is easiest to fine, but there are many higher quality wool washes on the market from smaller companies.

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Rayon

Rayon sounds synthetic, but its actually made from mainly plant cellulose, cotton fibers, and wood pulp. It’s considered a semi-natural material. It looks like silk, but it ain’t! It was big in the 1940’s, were you?

Cleaning: Even though rayon is not silk, you can pretend it is and treat it just as nice. Hand wash your fragile rayon pieces with delicate detergent that’s made for silk. Dilute in a basin of cool or lukewarm water and swish, not allowing material to soak for more than 30 minutes. Air dry. Dry cleaning is always an option.

Soaps: Delicate wash only. We recommend going for a smaller brand here like The Laundress, though Woolite does make a delicate wash safe for silk.

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Vinyl

Otherwise known as pleather, vinyl material can be matte or glossy, but is essentially a plastic. It can be colored, or completely clear. It’s like a less durable leather, but it’s a lot of fun!

Cleaning: Vinyl is best when simply wiped with a damp cloth. Use warm water and wipe away surface dirt or substances. Don’t bother with soap, which can leave chalky residue. Spot clean lining on vinyl pieces. Dry cleaners may be useful for bad lining stains, as long as your vintage vinyl is in good condition. Some vinyl can become stained with improper storage. One vinyl is stained, stains are not easily lifted to you may just have to learn to live with it, or attach an epic patch to conceal.

Soaps: None!

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Polyester

Polyester is a synthetic material. It’s also labeled as Dacron on many vintage pieces. Still popular today, polyester is a durable material that is thankfully, very easy to wash.

Cleaning: We recommend either hand washing, or turning the garment inside out, and machine washing on cold. Drip dry lighter weight items and dry heavier items/knits flat, or in a no heat / low in the dryer depending on the garment. If the item has a “dry clean only” label, then you may need to stick to dry cleaning it only.

Soaps: Any natural or delicate laundry detergent. Restoration Detergent soaking for stains and brightening.

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Silk

Silk is a highly absorbent natural fiber, with a very delicate and light quality. It’s common in shirts and dresses, as well as lingerie. It’s also used on hats, shoes, and of course most commonly on scarves.

Cleaning: Silk is the strongest candidate for dry cleaning, though it is possible to wash your silk items at home with a delicate detergent. Though you can technically wash your silk pieces in the machine on cold (highly recommended to put them into a mesh laundry bag to avoid snagging), vintage silk is happier being hand washed. Swishing and soaking it in a bit of soapy water for no more than 30 minutes is all you need. Silk leaches a lot of dye, so wash your colors separate! Air dry.

Soaps: Delicate wash only. We recommend going for a smaller brand here like The Laundress, though Woolite does make a delicate wash safe for silk.

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Leather

Leather is straight up skin, and because it used to belong to someone, we believe in treating it with the utmost respect.

Cleaning: Most leather can be wiped clean, due to it’s shiny surface. You can simply wet a cloth and wipe it down, or dip a cloth into soapy water if you need a little extra before giving your leather a once-over. If you use soap, make sure to finish up with a non-soapy wet cloth to get all the soap scum off. You can hang the garment up and let it air dry. However, for stains (hello lightly colored leather pieces), get yourself to a dry cleaner that handles leather. They’ll know what to do. IF LEATHER IS PAINTED avoid using soap and water on painted areas. Just wipe around them. If this is unavoidable, wipe delicately using only water.

Soaps: There are leather soaps available on the market. You can also use a diluted castle soap (hello Dr. Bronners), or even diluted vinegar, but we think the soap might smell a little better…