It’s a question that is on the minds of all cross stitchers: Should I wash my cross stitch? And what are the pros and cons of washing your work?
Cross stitch is like a family affair. Each stitch is made by different families of individuals. As a result, it will take a bit more work to ensure that your finished piece is completely ready for storing or display.
There are many variables that can affect your own case. For instance, what type of clothing was the cross stitcher in? What sort of weather was it exposed to? Was the material machine-washable?
Colors are another factor. There are many types of material that will not respond well to being washed in detergent. Even laundry detergent is not always a suitable cleaning agent. In fact, not everyone’s favorite kind of laundry detergent will be compatible with the laundry fabric used for the finished piece.
Cross stitch fabric is also at its best when it is free from blemishes. The stains and discoloration will mar the finish. Keeping the piece well protected from UV rays will prevent any unwanted spots that may occur.
Washing your work does not have to be a lengthy process, but care should be taken to do it correctly. It is never a good idea to use a machine in the washing process. Machines will scour the material, making any design look smeared and flat.
Even with the best protection for your finished cross stitch, you should wash it using cold water. Shampooing the pieces is optional; if you decide to shampoo the piece, then do so on your usual schedule of removing and replacing the shampoo after each wash.
By putting the cross stitch back in the dryer after each time it’s washed, you can avoid the problem of streaks appearing on the fabric. A dryer vent is a great way to keep the moisture away from the finished cross stitch. If the finished cross stitch comes into contact with any liquid that has been sprayed or doused on the fabric, this is when you should wipe off the liquid with a damp cloth.
Make sure that you hang it up to dry completely before you take it out of the dryer. A hanging canvas will dry in much less time than it takes to dry in the dryer. Be sure to hang the piece so that it is cool enough to touch.
A drying rack is the perfect way to get the cross stitch in the air and dry. However, most dryers can’t handle hanging a piece of cross stitch fabric in a semi-drafty room. There are those that can hang it, but they are far too pricey to bother with.
Now, you may think that you would just toss the piece of cross stitch and place it in the wash whenever you are done with it, but that is not a smart idea. With some pieces of cross stitch fabric, the finish will remain on the threads after the wash, even after it has been hung up and dried.
Lastly, pay attention to stains. With each wash and every stain that you find on the fabric, you can restore the picture and remove the stain from the surface.