Vintage clothing requires special care for many reasons. Because vintage items are older, they may have fabrics that have been weakened over time. This means that the standard way that you care for your other clothing may be too harsh for your vintage items. It’s also hard to replace vintage items, making it even more important to take care of the ones you have.
To keep your vintage items in their best condition, practice preventative care. This means being careful when you wear them and wearing them to the right occasions. An outdoor occasion or one where there will be a lot of children may not be the best place to wear your vintage items. You should also take care not to wipe your hands on your vintage clothing. You may have unconsciously done this with newer clothing, but vintage clothing requires more deliberate care.
The seams of vintage clothing are their most vulnerable areas, so you should be prepared to sew up the occasional seam or hem on these items. Carry some thread with you if you are wearing vintage items, and always make sure you have plenty of thread colors if you love to wear vintage pieces.
After you have worn your vintage t-shirt or other item, take it off and turn it inside out. This will allow you sweat to dry from the garment before it has a chance to set into the fabric. This will minimize the staining that can be done by sweat and will allow you to treat the garment more delicately when it’s time to wash it.
Once your sweat has dried from the garment, wash it. Don’t leave the item of clothing lying around for any longer than is necessary. This will mean that if any stains have been left behind, they will be easier to remove than if they had days to settle in.
Always use the gentlest detergent you can and use the gentlest washing cycle possible. A slow washing machine cycle is best to use for vintage clothing, but hand washing the clothing is an even better idea. If you do use a washing machine, make sure you wash it with clothing that is colored as much like the vintage item as possible. This keeps the colors of different items from migrating on to the vintage item and discoloring it. If you can wash the item by itself in the machine, this will keep any competing inks from getting onto the vintage piece.
If an item has been worn once for a short time or even a couple of times for short periods of time, it might not need to be washed at all. If any sweat has evaporated and the item isn’t stained and doesn’t smell bad, it may not need washing. If possible, go without washing it and evaluate the need to wash it each time it has been worn. While a newer garment might be thrown into the laundry each time that it’s been worn, a vintage item will get a little weaker each time it is washed.