How to Wash Vintage Clothing

Vintage clothing is like wearing a little piece of history. The older a piece of clothing is the more delicate it will become over time. To continue the life cycle of one your favorite vintage blouses or dresses, it is super important to know how to best wash and take care of them. Read along to get tips and trick for washing vintage clothing.

Where to start:

Find the care tag on the garment and check to see if it calls for machine wash, dry clean or hand wash only. You can find the care tag around the collar behind the brand tag or on the inside seam of the garment.

Vintage Blouse for ladies

Machine Wash:

If the garment calls for machine wash, I still want to be careful with the garment. 

Here are steps for machine wash:

  • I recommend using  Woolite as the detergent because it's very gentle.
  • Wash with cold water on the delicate cycle.
  • Dry your item on a flat surface.
  • Of course, don't forget to separate whites and darks.

Hand Wash:

I hand wash items when the care tag calls for it or if I can't find the care tag on a garment.

Here are the steps to hand washing:

  • Wherever you're washing your garments, whether it's in a bucket, sink, or tub, be sure that it's clean!
  • Fill up your washing station with cold water and Woolite. 
  • Fully soak your garment, wash it, rinse thoroughly(make sure all bubbles, suds and soap residue are gone) and repeat. 
  • Lay flat to dry. 

Stain Removal:

Stains, the bane of my existence. Pesky wine stains, age stains or sauce stains are very irritating and can potentially ruin a perfectly good vintage blouse or jeans. Through my experience in fashion and running Hott Threads, I've learned a thing or two about stain removal!

My FAVORITE stain removal solution is Laundress Stain Solution. That stuff is liquid gold! It has saved so many of my vintage t-shirt, trousers, and dresses. Here's what to do when you get a stain:

  •  Apply the Laundress Stain Solution directly on to the stain and gently rub in.
  • Soak in cold water for at least two hours. 
  • Rinse with clean water (make sure all of the solution is out) and lay it flat to dry on a drying rack.

Pro Tips:

  • What not to machine wash: rayon, silk, fur, leather, cotton and linen with embroidery.
  • What to machine wash: cotton, polyester, synthetics, and linen.
  • It's best to dry items flat as opposed to line drying because when clothing is wet, hanging it can stretch out the fibers.


That sums up some tips and tricks for washing and removing stains for vintage clothing.


Till next time!