If you’ve ever been given a piece of clothing that’s been handed down from your parent or any other relative, you know how special it is. You take great care in storing such items and are probably scared to even use it.

A lot of love and times goes into creating such pieces and they are priceless. However, handcrafted garments that are many years old require special care and handling to preserve its stitching, fabric, and detailing.

Here are some tips on taking care of family heirlooms handed down:

Skip the dryer

If you are washing these vintage pieces at home, wash them by hand instead of using the washing machine. Washing clothes by hand is gentle and the fibers won’t rub against each other and wear the fabric out. Hang these pieces out to dry instead of using the dryer. The tumbling motion in the dryer can cause damage and the pieces run the risk of shrinking too.

Lady wearing an intricate lace blouse

Store carefully

If you plan on storing a garment because you’re afraid of damaging it or because it’s more seasonal, make sure they are out of direct sunlight. Direct sunlight on clothing for an extended period of time causes the fabric to fade. Always store heirloom clothing, winter wear, and other pieces you won’t be wearing for a while in a dark place that’s cool and dry. Store them in a garment bag and have them hung up, as opposed to being folded. Having clothes folded for too long can leave them with deep creases and wrinkles.

Have it professionally cleaned

The key to preserving clothing is to wash it less frequently. The wash cycle can be too rough for vintage clothing and can cause damage. On the plus side, you save on water, washing costs, and time. Instead of washing it yourself, have it professionally cleaned. A professional service will be able to determine whether a certain piece requires dry cleaning or washing, after all, these pieces don’t come with laundry instructions. Dry cleaning is often the best bet for more delicate clothing.

Have your heirloom clothing pieces professionally cleaned by a reliable and experienced dry cleaning service in DC like Sterling Cleaners. They provide the best professional dry cleaning and pressing services and also use an antibacterial cleaning solution that kills 99% of bacteria, which is ideal during this pandemic. To accommodate clients during this pandemic they also provide free contactless pickup and delivery. They only charge $1.99/lb. for their wash and fold service too. Contact them at (202) 785-1444 or email us at info@sterlingcleaner.com.