Care & Washing Instructions

Care Instructions – Cross Stitch Pieces

  • Always take special care to keep your work clean. Wash hands frequently to prevent body oils from staining the fabric.
  • Keeping your project protected from dust, insects and an accidental spill is easy to do. Store your working project in DMC’s Needlework Project Keeper.

Washing Instructions

  • Always wash each cross-stitched piece separately. DO NOT wash with any other embroidery project or laundry items.
  • Wash in cold water (tap water is fine unless you have very hard water, then you will want to use distilled water). Make sure the sink and any containers you will use are clean.
  • Pre-rinse the piece under cold running water.
  • Mix in a small amount of mild detergent or dishwashing liquid. DO NOT use specially formulated wool wash, harsh detergents, or chlorine bleach, gently wash.
  • Rinse several times in cold water. Do not worry if water becomes colored when washing, continue rinsing piece until water runs clear.
  • Roll the piece between two clean towels squeezing gently without wringing. DO NOT allow the embroidery to touch upon itself.
  • Unroll towels and spread flat to dry on a fresh towel or drying rack. Let the piece air dry until it is just damp but not dripping wet so that it can be ironed.
  • To iron your washed piece, place the cross stitch face down between two clean towels (the towels protect your stitches from being crushed) and press lightly with a warm iron. NEVER use a hot iron.
  • To remove creases or fold lines use the steam setting on your iron.
  • DO NOT use protective coating sprays or other products of this type on your cross-stitched piece as they may cause a chemical reaction with the thread dyes.
  • It is NOT recommended that your cross-stitched piece be dry-cleaned.

Washing Instructions - Stamped Cross-Stitch

It is not recommended that you launder stamped pieces, due to the nature of the beautifully imprinted designs. If a stain does get on your fabric, gently spot clean it by blotting it with a clean cloth using a mild detergent. DO NOT immerse the designs in water, and DO NOT dry-clean them. By keeping your hands and work area clean during stitching, your pieces should remain in good condition and not need any type of cleaning.

Washing Instructions - Needlepoint

Needlepoint should not be washed in soap and water. Needlepoint canvas has a water soluble sizing that gives it body; washing in soapy water will remove the sizing.

Commercial dry cleaning is a better option. Your local needlework store can be a good resource to recommend a good dry cleaner to take your piece to. DMC suggests asking the dry cleaner to clean the piece, but not press it. The needlepoint will come back wrinkled, but this will come out when the piece is finished.

If you have an old needlepoint piece that is very dirty you can actually vacuum the dust off of it. Cover the end of your vacuum hose with a piece of nylon stocking or light mesh. Starting on the front of the needlepoint, vacuum keeping the nozzle just above the piece.

If your needlepoint has stains, try spot cleaning it with Orvus mixed with water. Orvus has a neutral cleaning agent and is suitable for needlepoint projects. Dab do not rub the stain, and try to lift the stain off the canvas.

Laundering Crochet Pieces

  • Wash in cold water (tap water is fine unless you have very hard water, then you will want to use distilled water). Make sure the sink and any containers you will use are clean.
  • Pre-rinse the piece under cold running water.
  • Mix in a small amount of mild detergent or dishwashing liquid. DO NOT use specially formulated wool wash, harsh detergents, or chlorine bleach, gently wash.
  • Rinse several times in cold water until suds disappear.
  • Gently remove excess water and lay item flat on a dry, absorbent towel and roll up in the towel, pressing firmly as you roll. Do not wring the towel.
  • Lay a dry bath towel on a flat surface large enough to hold your crochet piece with arms extended if appropriate. A card table is the perfect size for air-drying sweaters and typically has a protective vinyl top. Always protect wood surfaces with a vinyl tablecloth under the towel.
  • Place the crocheted item on the dry towel and reshape into its original shape. Pat it into shape; avoid tugging or pulling. Gently push the ribbing together at the neckline, wrists and waist. Fasten buttons. Fold collar.
  • Allow the item to dry for 24 hours.
  • If not completely dry, Flip the item over onto a dry towel, arrange into shape (the shape will have set by now but you don’t want to add wrinkles or slow drying), and dry for another 24 hours.

Maintenance and Laundering Tatted Pieces

From time to time white cotton tattings will need cleaning, as exposure to light will cause white cotton to turn yellow. To remove dirt and stains, float the tattings in a lukewarm Ivory soap solution for an hour. DO NOT rub or squeeze. Rinse thoroughly by letting clean water run through generously. Prepare an all fabric whitener solution in a bowl by following directions given on the package. White cotton will tolerate bleach, but it may remove the lovely sheen of the cotton at the same time. Float the tattings in the whitener and cover bowl with tin foil to keep the light out for one hour or until all have returned to their original color.

Rinse thoroughly and place on a dry towel. Roll towel to keep light out and place in a well ventilated area. When dry, press and open up all picots with large tapestry needle.

Stain Removal

There are two types of stains, those that are water-based and those that are oil-based. Water-based stains, including most food stains, are acidic and will require an acid mixture to remove them. Oil type stains will need non-aqueous or “dry” chemicals (hence the term “dry-cleaning”) in most instances. The molecules within stains can be variable and complex. If your needlework project gets stained evaluate the type of stain and what it is made of. Each element of the stain can be broken down and removed with the proper cleaning agent. For instance a red wine stain contains alcohol, sugars, and tannins in water. Glycerian should be rinsed with water and the tannin/acid portion of the stain removed with application of white vinegar and dilute shampoo.

A few things to keep in mind about stains:

  • The older the stain, the harder it is to remove.
  • Ironing will set the stain making it very difficult to remove.
  • Stain removal is sequential and repetitive because removal involves taking off a percentage of a stain with each application. It is important to flush the small area where the stain is located and limit touching the other areas of the piece that are clean. To remove 100% of the stain, even with an effective reaction liquid, five to seven reapplications of the same sequence may be needed because of the chemical reactions to the stain in the fiber can be complex and time dependent.

Removing Specific Stains

Water Based Stains (Coffee, Tea, Fruit Juices, Fruit)

These liquids contain tannin and other acids. You can alternate blotting the stain with a small amount of diluted shampoo (no conditioner added in and no perfume) or dishwashing liquid and white vinegar, which is a mild acid. The detergent eliminates foodstuff, and the vinegar dissolves the acid stain. Rinse with distilled water.

Cola, Wine, Beer, Liquors

These products contain alcohol, sugars and tannins in water. The glycerin should be rinsed with water and the tannin/acid portion of the stain removed with application of white vinegar and dilute shampoo.

Eggs, Ice Cream, Milk, Vomit

These stains contain proteins and complex chemical compounds. Allow the stain to dry and then brush the solids gently off as much as possible. Depending on the fabric that the needlework is worked on, you can use a dilute shampoo followed by a dilute ammonia. Silk and wool can be damaged by ammonia.

Salad Dressing, Gravy, Grease

The oily parts of these stains can be dissolved by dry-cleaning solvent (perchloroethylene or trichloroethane). After these solvents have evaporated, the residue can be removed with mild shampoo, followed if necessary by dilute shampoo with dilute ammonia. Alternatively the oil can be removed with a washing of soda and warm water. This makes the oil into a soluble soap which can be rinsed off. If the oily stain has oxidized (turned yellow), this method will not work.

Inks

Ink stains are best treated first with solvents and then with water-based reagents. Effective solvents may be acetone, ethanol, or dry cleaning spotting agents. Apply these reagents separately and sequentially (i.e. each evaporated off before the next is employed) then water based treatment can follow, using a mild shampoo and white vinegar lubricated with a little glycerin.

If you are unsure about the proper way to treat a stain, it is preferable to consult a dry cleaner.