How to care for lace

Image from LACMA

1850s dress, Image from LACMA

Lace is an integral part of vintage wedding gowns and accessories. The delicate nature of lace provides both its most admirable qualities as well as its most worrisome. Due to its often-fragile nature, it’s important to know how to care for and clean lace so you’re all ready for your big day. Join us as we discuss how to care for lace. Please ask questions and share your thoughts in the comments.

How to care for lace

It’s important first of all to consider the importance of the piece you are working with. Cleaning and repairing rare lace can often detract from its value, so please keep that in mind. Before¬†you begin, carefully inspect the lace. If the item is intact, you can go ahead and proceed with the cleaning process. If not, then take it to a conservation expert for further review or consider alternative decorative options.

The key to cleaning lace is to keep it cool and mild. Cool water (distilled is better) and mild detergents are very important components to this process. Be sure to never use anything that is too harsh or stringent. Once the water is prepared, gently swish the lace around to thoroughly clean.

Image by Michael Day

Lace veil, Image by Michael Day

If you have stains to remove, add a small amount of white vinegar after the lace has been rinsed and fresh water has been added back in to the sink or large bowl you are using. Let this soak and rinse again. Drying the lace is also a delicate procedure, as it can rip easily. Carefully remove the lace only after the water has been mostly drained. In order to dry the item, roll the lace in a soft towel to absorb moisture and then lay it flat on the towel to completely dry.

When it comes to storing your lace, air circulation, low light levels, and consistent temperature are three critical factors in preservation. It’s best to lay items flat for storage, and if folding is necessary, to place clean, soft fabric between the folds. Every so often, unfold and refold your lace in a different area to make sure you don’t encourage long-term creases.

With a bit of gentle care and attention, vintage lace can be a wonderful addition to your wedding day, as well as a beautiful addition to your antique collection.


Cause A Frockus would like to thank their tremendous resources: “Tips, Tools & Techniques to care for antiques, collectibles, and other treasures” by Georgia Kemp Caraway, About Home, and The Vinegar Institute.


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