How to Preserve Vintage Clothes

Guest Blog Post by Kristine M.

Vintage Clothing Care

Vintage clothing refers to garments from another era—often those from 30 to 90 years ago. Your mother’s wedding dress and your uncle’s military uniform are two examples of this type of dated clothing.

Although vintage clothing may be enjoyable to collect and to wear, doing so requires a lot of extra care on your part if you want to properly prolong the life of these textiles and clothes.

Here are some tips on preserving vintage clothes:

Cleaning Your Vintage Clothes 

Caring for Your Vintage Clothes

Caring for Your Vintage Clothes. Image by PixelJones

  • When possible, clean all vintage garments before storing them. If a garment is washable, then very gently wash it with a gentle detergent. If a garment cannot be washed, then thoroughly air it out.
  • Use a hairdryer set on the lowest setting if you wish to blow away dust from a particular piece of clothing. Do not point the hairdryer directly at the garment. Instead, keep it a few inches away.
  • Should you come across a garment with signs of mold, do not store it with your other garments. Instead, wash the garment thoroughly, bring it to a specialist for cleaning, or simply throw it away.

Repairing Vintage Clothing

 Check your vintage clothing for any signs of loose seams and tears, and then make the repairs with appropriate thread. If a garment is sewn using cotton, do not use polyester.

How to Wrap and Store Your Vintage Items

Hanging Your Vintage Clothes

Storing Your Vintage Clothes. Image by Jason McHenry

  • Sunlight can be damaging to old fabrics, and can even rot thread in some cases. Always store your vintage clothing in a cool, dark and dry place.
  • Vintage garments should never be squashed tightly together. Some garments may need to be hung, while others should be stored flat.
  • Plastic boxes should be avoided as much as possible. Cardboard boxes and rattan boxes are best, as they provide ample air circulation.

    Vintage Clothes Storage

    Vintage Clothes Storage

  • Coats, jackets and other similar types of vintage clothing should be hung up properly using appropriately sized wooden hangers.
  • Most clothing items made of cotton can be hung on cotton-padded hangers, then covered with a loosely-woven cotton fabric called muslin. This includes clothing made of leather and suede.
  • Heavily beaded, sequined or embroidered clothing should be stored flat so as not to put a lot of weight on the garment. Insert generous amounts of tissue paper in between the layer of fabric. Tissue paper may even be inserted in the garment’s sleeves. Finally, remember to wrap the garment in muslin.
  • Vintage clothing made of silk and rayon should always be folded flat. Individually wrap each item in tissue paper, and then completely wrap it in muslin.
  • Linen and cotton garments can also be rolled, wrapped in muslin, and then packed into a box.
  • Woolen vintage clothes should be stored flat, also wrapped in tissue. Pack woolen clothes loosely in a cardboard box, and add mothballs in order to prevent moth infestation. Mothballs should never touch the actual clothes.

    Hanging Vintage Clothes

    Hanging Vintage Clothes

  • If you wish to store vintage scarves, first prepare a cardboard tube covered in a sheet of muslin. Afterwards, wrap your scarves around this tube and cover with more muslin.
  • Place cedar sticks in your armoire of vintage clothes in order to keep your clothes free from bugs.
  •  Check on your vintage clothing at least once a year. Air out your clothing, gently shake out any dust, and then repack.

 About the Author:

Kristine M. is a longtime lover and collector of vintage clothing. She loves wearing old clothing pieces and is extremely fascinated by the rich history found in everything that she wears.

 When she isn’t shopping around for vintage items to add to her vast collection or lovingly storing her newly acquired pieces, Kristine works as a marketing guru for a High Speed Internet provider in her neighborhood.

 Image Credit: Background image by Ana_Ng



Filed under Clothes, How To, Laundry

2 responses to “How to Preserve Vintage Clothes

  1. This is great information. Thank you for the post.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s