How to Clean a Vintage Cross Stitch

Earlier this week I shared the “Hokie Corner” that I created in our family room using vintage Virginia Tech memorabilia.

A Virginia Tech football cross stitch that my grandmother made back in the 1980’s is one piece that I used in my display.  The cross stitch had gotten quite dirty over the years, especially since it spent the last 20 years in my classroom.

Before I could use the cross stitch in my display, I knew that I would need to clean it.  It ended up being an easy process that didn’t take long to complete.

Vintage Virginia Tech Hokies Cross Stitch Before Cleaning - virginiasweetpea.com

How to Clean a Cross Stitch Picture

Step One

Take the cross stitch apart.  I removed the paper backing that my grandmother glued in place and this is what I found.

I used a pair of needle nose pliers to pull out the points holding the cross stitch in place and then removed the hanger.  I saved and was able to reuse the hanger and the brads that held it in place.

How to Clean a Vintage Cross Stitch - Back of Cross Stitch Before - virginiasweetpea.com

I washed the frame with soapy water and scraped off and removed the remaining paper backing and dried glue.

Step Two

Granny mounted the cross stitch on a piece of cardboard covered by batting and a thin sheet of interface.  I was able to save all of this and reuse it.

How to Clean a Vintage Cross Stitch - Lining of Cross Stitch - virginiasweetpea.com

 

To clean the cross stitch, I put some water in a bucket, added some laundry detergent, and swirled it with my hand until the detergent dissolved.  I then soaked the cross stich in the detergent mixed with water.  I meant to do this overnight but we went out of town for the weekend, so my cross stitch soaked for a few days.  After it had soaked, I swished it around in the water to make sure that it was getting as clean as possible.

Then I rinsed it out and spread it on a towel to dry.

After it dried, I ironed it on both the back and front sides.

You can see that it now is clean except where the edges of the cross stitch touched the stain on the wood frame.

How to Clean a Cross Stitch Picture - Cross Stitch After Washing and Pressing with an Iron - virginiasweetpea.com

Step Three

Wrap the cross stitch around the batting lined cardboard and tape into place.  Granny used masking tape, I used packing tape.

How to Clean a Cross Stitch Picture - Cleaned Cross Stitch Remounted and Ready for Framing - virginiasweetpea.com

 

The cross stitch looks so much better after being washed.

How to Clean a Cross Stitch Picture - Picture is Clean and Ready to Put Back in the Frame - virginiasweetpea.com

Step Four

Use a point driver and four points to hold the cross stitch in the frame.  I bought my Logan Point Driver a few years ago and have found it to be quite useful.  (Affiliate link)

How to Clean a Vintage Cross Stitch - Use a Point Driver to hold the Cross Stitch in the Frame. - virginiasweetpea.com

Step Five

Cut out a square of paper for the back and glue into place.  Reattach the hanger.  I forgot to take pictures of this step.

Now the picture is clean and ready to be enjoyed for many more years!

How to Clean a Cross Stitch - This 30+ year old cross stich looks like new after being cleaned. virginiasweetpea.com

 

 

 

If you use Pinterest, I’d love it if you would pin this project for others to discover.

How to Clean a Cross Stitch Picture - Don't pass by a vintage cross stitch at the thrift store. Cleaning it is easy. Get the step-by-step tutorial at virginiasweetpea.com.

If you see needlework like a cross stitch at a yard sale or thrift shop and like it but it’s dirty, don’t pass it by.  Cleaning it is surprisingly easy!

Comments

  1. grammy goodwill says:

    Washing it certainly made a difference in how it looks. I loved to cross-stitch years ago. I made a lot of things and gave them all away. When my best friend was getting rid of things, I saw a sampler I had made for her. I told her I wanted it back if she were getting rid of it! (We are VERY good friends.) Now I have something I made.

    • Sweet Pea says:

      I’m glad you got your sampler back as I know you put a lot of work into it. I loved to cross stitch when it was popular and still have my favorites: two samplers and a Patt Moss scene (that one was a lot of work!).

  2. This is a great tutorial! Thanks for sharing @ Vintage Charm! Pinned!

  3. Great results! Thanks!
    Michele Morin recently posted…No Bitterness in the Wait — Embracing the Aging DreamMy Profile

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