Finally, you have finished your cross-stitch masterpiece. So, what is the next step? Washing your completed cross stitch project is the next stage before framing your work. Handwashing with mild soap is the best way to remove small stains, dirt, and oils accumulated on the fabric as you were stitching.
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How do you wash a cross stitch?
You have spent a few weeks or even months stitching a pattern on a white Aida cloth. After crossing your last stitch, it would be such a relief that you can finally frame your work. But before that, you have to make sure that your work is spotlessly clean before preserving it in a glass frame. Your work may look clean to you because you have been washing your hands before you stitch, but washing your finished project will ensure that you can enjoy it for a long time. Here are tips that you must know about cleaning your cross-stitch project properly.
- Check if your thread bleeds.
With a damp paper towel, dab on the different areas of your cross-stitch. If a large amount of color comes-off on the paper towel, your thread bleeds. Leading floss brands such as DMC usually have colorfast threads which are safe to wash after finishing your project.
If you are using hand-painted thread or specialty thread, it is wise not to wash your cross-stitch work after finishing it because of a significant possibility of bleeding color. In this case, the best thing to do is to handle the fabric with care and wash your hands every time before starting to stitch.
- Use only mild soap and water.
Find a clean bowl large enough to submerge your cross-stitch. Fill the bowl with lukewarm water and a few drops of mild soap or dishwashing liquid. Disperse the soap by hand evenly. If you have hard water on the tap, do not use it for washing your cross-stitch project. Hard water may leave minute mineral deposits, which may become visible on your fabric as stains over time. Use distilled water instead. DMC advises against using biological powder or chlorine bleach, which may have harsh chemicals that can react with the dyes of your floss, causing it to bleed and/or fade.
- Soak your cross-stitch in mild soap and water.
Rinse your cross-stitch project with cold, running water before soaking it in your bowl of soapy water for about a quarter of an hour or more if your project has deep-seated stains or dirt. Move the cloth around carefully for the soap to work on the natural oils and dirt left by your hands and the hoop frame while stitching your project. If you see noticeable stains, try brushing with a soft brush gently to avoid damaging the fabric. Make sure to remove stains and dirt entirely as they may cause fungal damage in the long term.
- Rinse and dry your fabric.
After soaking and removing stains from your cross-stitch, you can now rinse it through cold, running water or a few changes of water in the bowl until it turns transparent. Make sure to wash off all the soap from the fabric. Lay your cross-stitched piece face down on a clean towel and place another clean towel on top of it. Roll the towels gently to squeeze water out without wringing them. Doing so may cause creases on the cloth, which may be hard to remove or distort the image you stitched.
Different cross-stitchers may have different ways of washing their cross-stitch pieces, but following the steps and recommendations above will undoubtedly lead to a cleaner and spotless work of art you have done with your hands.
Can you put a cross stitch in the washing machine?
No, you cannot machine wash cross stitch. Cross-stitched pieces must be hand washed individually and should not be cleaned with other needlework projects, beddings, or laundry items. You have worked long and hard for your cross-stitch piece, and you would not want it destroyed by washing it in the machine. Follow the tips and guides on how to gently hand wash your cross-stitch masterpiece.
Can Cross Stitch be dry cleaned?
It is not advisable to dry-clean your cross-stitched piece. Gentle hand washing is enough to remove the natural oils and dirt on your cross-stitch project that may have gathered while you stitched. Having it dry-cleaned is too much of a bother and may expose your work to solvents that can cause the cross-stitch floss to fade or distort the fabric because of high temperature.
Should you wash Aida before stitching?
If you are a newbie in cross-stitching, you would probably wonder if you are doing things right. Have you prepared well before starting with your project? Are there steps you need to do before you get on with your cross-stitch project?
You may be one of those asking if you need to wash your fabric first before you stitch. This inquiry is valid since cross-stitching will be long and tedious, but there is no coming back once you start. It is your prerogative to wash your cross-stitch fabric before or after finishing your project. But here are some good reasons why you should consider washing your Aida cloth before you start stitching.
- Aida cloth is a bit stiff coming from the store. Washing it before you stitch can soften the fabric and make stitching on it a breeze. You will also be able to remove dirt and dust that may have accumulated on the material from handling and storage.
- If you are making a cushion cross stitch project, you may want to wash your fabric first to make sure that it will not shrink after finishing your project. Remember that you have to rewash it when you are done stitching because of your hands’ natural oils and dirt.
- Washing your Aida cloth before stitching may be a great idea, especially when you have reasons why you cannot wash your finished cross-stitch piece. It will be a good thought that the fabric you will be stitching on is clean. Handle your Aida cloth with care and make sure not to spill anything which may stain your fabric. Also, it will be good to know these valid reasons why you cannot wash your completed cross-stitch piece.
- It would be best not to wash your cross-stitch piece when you used hand-painted threads. The dye may not be colorfast, and the possibility of bleeding is great. You would not want your work to look faded or ruined after being washed.
- If your cross-stitch pattern requires beads or embellishments, it is not advisable to wash when done. You may damage the design if washed after stitching.
- Using delicate materials or threads such as silk or wool on your cross-stitch project is also a valid reason not to wash your finished product. Even hand washing your project may cause the delicate threads to fray.
How do you get stains out of cross stitch fabric?
Sometimes, accidental spills do happen while you stitch, and stains are unavoidable. Keep in mind that the older the stain on fabric, the harder it is to remove. One washing will not remove the stain, but a sequential and repetitive method will take off the stain little by little with each application. It is vital to flush the stained area and limit touching the surrounding area to keep it clean.
To thoroughly remove a stain, DMC suggests five to seven reapplications with an effective reaction fluid for the chemical reactions to work on the stain since it can be tricky and time-dependent. Here are possible stain sources and recommendations on how to remove them from your fabric.
These stains can come from coffee, tea, fruit, and fruit juices, containing tannin and other acids. You can remove the stain by alternately blotting the stain with a small amount of dishwashing liquid and white vinegar, which is a mild acid. Soap eliminates the foodstuff while the vinegar dissolves the acid stain. Rinse with distilled water after blotting with these cleaning agents.
Liquids with alcohol, sugars, and tannins
These are stains coming from cola, beer, wine, and liquors. You can remove the Glycerine in these liquids with water, and the tannins/acid can be removed by applying white vinegar and dilute shampoo.
Products with protein and complex chemical compounds
Stains from eggs, milk, ice cream, and vomit contain these compounds. Allow the stains to dry and gently brush off the solids as much as possible. Then use a dilute shampoo followed by dilute ammonia. This method is not possible if you are cross-stitching with silk and wool, which can be damaged by ammonia.
Ink stains should be treated first with solvents and then followed by water-based reagents. You can use solvents such as acetone, ethanol, or dry-cleaning spotting agents. Apply these reagents separately and consecutively. The next procedure is water-based treatment using a mild shampoo or dishwashing liquid and white vinegar lubricated with a little Glycerine.
Oily and greasy products
You can remove oily parts of these stains by dry-cleaning solvents (perchloroethylene or trichloroethane). When these solvents have evaporated, what remained on the fabric can be removed with mild shampoo then dilute shampoo with dilute ammonia if still necessary. You can also use washing soda and warm water to remove the oil. This alternative procedure converts the oil into a soluble soap, which you can quickly rinse off. But once the stain has oxidized or turned yellow, this method will be ineffective.