Despite our best efforts while we are working on a project, our cross-stitched objects sometimes get a little dirty.
Prevention can help a lot: always wash your hands before you stitch, don’t eat and stitch (or drink colored/sugary liquids), store your project out of reach of childrens/pets/other people who might accidentally get it dirty while you’re working on it.
But washing a cross-stitch project before you finish and frame it is a good idea even if there aren’t visible stains on it.
If you’re familiar with hand washing laundry, it’s a pretty simple process, outlined in a little more detail at Tiny Modernist. Use dish soap or your favorite wool wash/hand wash detergent and lukewarm water.
Allow the piece to soak for about 15 if there are no visible stains that need to be treated. Drain the water, then gently rinse (or fill the sink with clear water and put the project back in to rinse off the remaining soap), press between two towels to get most of the water out, then lie flat on a towel to dry the rest of the way.
What if you do have stains? Check out the tips on About.com Laundry for a good process for dealing with stains and cleaning vintage cross-stitch projects.
Do you wash your cross-stitch projects? I’d love to know how you do it.
[Photo by Raquel Philips, via Flickr.]