Vintage garments are some of the coolest items you will ever wear or own – and can also be some of the most expensive. Thus, you cannot afford not to care for them and keep them in good shape. Quoting Vogue, fashion is fragile. That means that most clothes that are worth it are not easily maintained. Vintage garments must be washed properly, and many of them should never be dry cleaned. Here are our best tips on caring for your vintage garments!


Not all clothing material is made to be washed in the machine. You have to know which materials are to be washed and which ones are not. You can wash cotton, polyester, nylon, spandex, some synthetics and linen in the machine. Before washing though, don’t forget to divide your clothes into whites and darks, zip zippers, and fasten buttons. This is the safest way to wash them in a machine. For all other materials, wash by hand.


Hand-washing is not as popular as it once was, but it’s a common way of saving energy and is still practiced in countries such as India and Bangladesh. These materials should all be hand-washed rather than machine-washed: silk, cotton, linens, and polyester items with embroidery, and rayon. To hand-wash your vintage items, place them into the bathtub, and let them stay in medium-hot water for some time (add some RetroClean to the water before this process). Once the water changes color, slowly remove the garment from the water, piece by piece and hang-dry. If necessary, you can use your hands to rub the clothes, but most of the time using hot water and RetroCleaner will be enough. 

Tips and Tricks on Washing

  • Zippers, buttons, hooks, etc. should be closed before washing to prevent them from snagging on other materials.
  • Always test your new materials with hot water before washing. Do they lose color? 
  • If your clothing items have stains, you should remove them before washing the garments. Heat usually helps, but you can also find stain removers specifically for delicate materials. Inspect the material thoroughly and ensure that it can be disinfected. 
  • If you cannot clean a material properly, research has shown that using vodka can be quite effective. It will disinfect the garment and deodorize it accordingly. 

Tips and Tricks on Drying

  • Dry your clothes immediately after they were washed. Do not let them sit wet, as it will make the fabric lose its structure. Use hangers to let clothes dry out naturally.
  • Do not use a wire hanger – it will only stretch the shoulders of your clothes. It could also take the color away, so use a plastic one instead.
  • If some clothing items are too heavy to be hang-dried (and there are many that are), then do not hang them!! Instead, lay them out. Be sure to lay them flat while drying if you don’t want the garments to wrinkle. 

There are many things to know about properly caring for your vintage garments without destroying them. Make sure you understand the basics so that your valued pieces will truly last. Taking good care of your items will save you both money and time in the end.


About the Author

Tobias Foster is a journalist and editor at assignment help Melbourne with more than 5 years work experience and ambition. He has a passion for philosophy, marketing, and business, and he has a wealth of knowledge in many fields.

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