How to Wash Embroidered Clothes: The Complete Guide to Cleaning Embroidery Clothes!

Written by: Zuzanna Sato



Time to read 7 min

How to Wash Embroidered Clothes: The Complete Guide.

How to wash embroidered clothes:  The Complete Guide to Cleaning Embroidery Clothes!

As a sustainable fashion designer who's all about vintage embroidered fabrics, I totally understand the challenges that come with washing embroidered clothes clothes.

I've had the joy  and challange of working with Japanese kimonos and obi belts adorned with the most exquisite embroidery, some of which are nearly a century old! 

Years of careful handling and cleaning vintage Japanese kimonos and obi belts to turn them into show-stopping pieces you can see here, taught me loads of tips and tricks for keeping embroidery looking fabulous.

Cleaning embroidered clothes can be a daunting task, especially if you're unsure of the right techniques.

Should you hand wash or machine wash? Is it ok to dry-clean embroidered clothes? What about drying and ironing? Don't worry! we've got you covered.

In this comprehensive guide, we'll walk you through step-by-step instructions on how to properly wash embroidered clothes without damaging the delicate threads.

Understanding the different types of embroidery before washing

Embroidery comes in various forms, with each style needing its own unique TLC.

In the case of hand embroidery, every stitch is done by hand, often incorporating delicate threadwork and intricate designs.

To keep these treasures looking their best, extra care and gentleness are a must during the washing process.

You should especially stay away from washing machines or harsh detergents.

And even when you are hand-washing your embroidered clothes, avoid agitating the fabric in any way.

Machine embroidery, on the other hand, is created using computerized machines.

While it may be tougher than hand embroidery, it still needs delicate handling to maintain its allure.

If your embroided garment is made of silk, you can read more about how to wash silk clothes here.

Understanding the type of embroidery on your clothes is crucial for determining the appropriate washing method.

How to wash embroidered clothes:  The Complete Guide to Cleaning Embroidery Clothes!
Image from CanvaPro

Cleaning embroidered clothes: how to prepare

Before washing embroidered clothes, it's important to take some preparatory steps to ensure the best results.

1. Start by examining the garment for any loose threads or missing stitches.

If you notice any, gently secure them with a needle and thread before washing.

2. Next, give the care label on the garment a good read for any specific washing instructions.

If the label recommends dry cleaning, it's best to follow those instructions.

3. However, if the garment is safe for washing, remove any detachable embellishments such as buttons or beads.

 This extra step helps safeguard both the embroidery and the other parts of the garment from potential damage.

It's also a good idea to turn the garment inside out to protect the embroidery during the washing process.

4. Lastly, use a gentle detergent specifically formulated for delicate fabrics to preserve the embroidery's color and quality.

How to Wash Embroidered Clothes by Hand

Hand washing is the gentlest method for cleaning embroidered clothes, especially if they are hand-embroidered.

1. Fill a basin or sink with lukewarm water and add a dash of mild detergent.

Gently submerge the garment and swish it around, allowing the detergent to penetrate the fabric.

No need for rough scrubbing – instead, give the water a little swirl to whisk away the dirt and grime without disturbing the delicate embroidery.

2. After a few minutes, drain the soapy water and refill the basin with clean water for rinsing.

Repeat the rinsing process until the water runs clear, ensuring all detergent residues are removed.

3. Once your garment is feeling squeaky clean, it's time to get ridd of that excess water without any wringing or twisting – just a gentle squeeze will do!

Lay a clean, absorbent towel on a flat surface and place the garment on top.

Roll the towel and garment together, applying light pressure to absorb more moisture.

Unroll the towel and carefully reshape the garment.

4. Last step is the drying.

No hanging or wringing, please – that could put a strain on the embroidery and distort the shape.

Instead, lay it flat on a drying rack or clean, dry towel away from direct sunlight or heat sources.

After this delicate cleating treatment, your embroidered clothes will emerge refreshed and ready to dazzle once more!

How to wash embroidered clothes by hand.
Image from CanvaPro

How to Machine-wash embroidered clothes

Machine washing embroidery is suitable for some machine-embroidered garments, but caution must be exercised.

1. Start by turning the garment inside out to protect the embroidery.

Place it in a mesh laundry bag to prevent it from getting tangled or snagged during the wash cycle.

2. Select a gentle or delicate cycle on your washing machine and use cold water to minimize the risk of color bleeding or fading.

3. Add a small amount of mild detergent specifically formulated for delicate fabrics.

Avoid using bleach or fabric softeners as they may damage the embroidery.

4. Once the wash cycle is complete, promptly remove the garment from the machine.

Again, avoid wringing or twisting to prevent damage.

Gently squeeze out excess water and follow the same towel drying process as described in the hand washing section.

5. If you notice any loose threads or embroidery that needs re-securing, take care of it before moving on to the drying stage.

Can you dry clean embroidered clothes?

"Is it OK dry clean embroidered clothes?" Well, I'm here to tell you that yes, it's absolutely fine!

In fact, dry cleaning is often the best and safest way to clean these delicate pieces without causing any damage to the embroidery.

Not only will dry cleaning ensure that your delicate embroidery remains intact, but it will also leave your garments looking fresh and vibrant.

Just be sure to choose a reputable dry cleaner who has experience handling embroidered items, and always follow the care instructions provided by the manufacturer.

To be extra careful, I always consult my dry cleaner before dry cleaning any garment with embroidery.

This ensures the embroidery can withstand the process without damage.

Getting professional advice helps determine the best cleaning method, preserving the intricate detailing while ensuring thorough cleaning.

Once confirmed safe for dry cleaning, you can trust your garment will be delicately handled by experts, allowing you to enjoy its beauty for years.

embroidered coat, how to wash embroidered clothes
Image from Dress Your Color

How to dry embroidered clothes

Drying embroidered clothes properly is crucial to avoid shrinking, misshaping, or damaging the embroidery.

As mentioned earlier, laying the garment flat on a drying rack or clean, dry towel is the best option.

1. Ensure the garment is spread out evenly and not bunched up, allowing air to circulate around it.

2. Avoid direct sunlight or heat sources, as they can fade the embroidery or cause the fabric to become brittle.

3. If you're in a hurry and need to speed up the drying process, you can use a cool air setting on a hairdryer, but keep the dryer at least six inches away from the garment.

How to Iron Embroidered Clothes

Ironing embroidered clothes requires a delicate touch to avoid flattening or damaging the embroidery.

1. Start by turning the garment inside out and placing a clean, thin cloth over the embroidered areas.

This will act as a protective barrier between the embroidery and the iron.

2. Set the iron to a low or medium heat setting and gently press the cloth-covered embroidery.

3. Avoid dragging the iron across the fabric, as this can pull and distort the embroidery. 

Instead, lift the iron and move it to a new spot, repeating the process until the entire embroidered area is pressed.

How to Store embroidered clothes

Proper storage is essential for maintaining the beauty and longevity of embroidered clothes.

1. Clean the garment before storing to remove any dirt or sweat that might attract insects.

2. Ensure the garment is completely dry to prevent mold or mildew growth.

3. Fold the garment neatly and store it in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.

If possible, wrap the garment in acid-free tissue paper to protect it from dust and moisture.

Avoid hanging embroidered clothes for extended periods, as this can cause stretching or distortion of the fabric and embroidery.

If your embroided garment is made of silk, you can read more about how to store silk clothes here.

Troubleshooting when washing embroidered clothes

Despite our best efforts, issues may arise when washing embroidered clothes.

If you notice loose threads or missing stitches after washing, don't panic.

Gently secure the loose threads with a needle and thread, matching the color as closely as possible.

For small stains, try using a mild stain remover specifically designed for delicate fabrics.

Test it on an inconspicuous area first to ensure it doesn't damage the embroidery or fabric.

If the stain persists, it's best to consult a professional cleaner who specializes in handling delicate garments.

How to wash embroidered clothes:  The Complete Guide to Cleaning Embroidery Clothes!
Image from CanvaPro

How to Wash Embroidered clothes - The Conclusion

Embroidered clothes are a stunning addition to any wardrobe, and proper care is essential to preserve their beauty and longevity.

By understanding the different types of embroidery and the delicate nature of hand-embroidered clothes, you can confidently wash and maintain your precious garments.

Remember to follow the appropriate washing method, whether it's hand washing or machine washing, and take the necessary steps to prepare, dry, and store your embroidered clothes correctly.

Now that you've got the hang of keeping your embroidered clothes looking fabulous, why not take a peek at our collection and discover some new favorites?

If you're into the whole luxurious vibe of embroidery and love bright, bold colors, you're going to absolutely adore our embroidered coats and embroidered bags!

Here at DressYourColor, we're all about giving vintage embroidery a new lease on life.

Dive into our collection of handmade garments crafted from authentic Japanese vintage kimonos and obi belts, each piece brimming with beauty and history.

We'd love to hear about your experiences with caring for embroidered clothes!

Got any special tips or tricks that have worked wonders for you?

Share them in the comments below so we can all learn from each other's expertise!

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