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Thread: How do I safely clean counted cross stitch pieces?

  1. #1
    Super Member spartan quilter's Avatar
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    Feb 2011
    central North Dakota

    How do I safely clean counted cross stitch pieces?

    My daughter did 10 blocks of counted cross stitch and wants me to incorporate them into a quilt, but they have some stains/discoloration on them, and I am wondering the safest way to clean them. Any suggestions or help that I can get will be greatly appreciated.

    Name:  2012-Jan 30-Janel's cross stitch 001.jpg
Views: 3553
Size:  1.06 MBThis is the first picture and not sure if you can see the discoloration. The pictures measure about 12x15.

    Name:  2012-Jan 30-Janel's cross stitch 004.jpg
Views: 3779
Size:  1.10 MBThis is the second picture. She marked on her folder that these were in, when she had completed them, and she had completed the first one in 1984. So, age does play a part in the discoloration.

    Thanks for any help/advice that anyone can give me.

    A home is built of peace and love,
    and not of wood and stone,
    a place where happiness lives
    and memories are sewn.

  2. #2
    Junior Member traveler53's Avatar
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    May 2011
    Upstate New York
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    I had made a counted cross stitch and I put some warm water in a basin with a little bit of dawn, swooshed the water around and then put the piece in there and swooshed it around. Then rinse with warm water and lay flat on a towel to dry. It worked for me and the colors didn't run.

    So Much Fabric, So Little Time

  3. #3
    Senior Member MoanaWahine's Avatar
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    Aug 2011
    Upstate SC
    I have soaked needle work blocks in OxiClean max and stains have come out. The blocks that I did this with were 40 years old and thread that was used in these blocks is the same that would be used in her blocks. Just mixed a little in water, put blocks in and walked away for a few hours. One of my blocks was really badly stained so it just soaked longer than the other. Never would have known that there were stains now

  4. #4
    Senior Member IAmCatOwned's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    I soak them using Woolite or Orvis or All Free and Clear. Use cold water, mix the detergent in, then add your block. Swoosh it around a bit and squeeze gently to get the piece entirely saturated. Then leave for a couple of hours, periodically squishing and squeezing gently. Then rinse well. Rinse again. Lay out on a towel and roll up to remove excess moisture. Dry flat. Repeat if you don't get all the stains out.

    I prefer to use cold water since warm water can actually set in more stains than it removes.

    If the stains don't come out by then, I would consider using Oxiclean. That stuff works nice, I do use it, but can be quite harsh on some fabrics.

  5. #5
    Super Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    howell, Mi
    I used to do cross stitch and I would use a tooth brush on the parts without stitching. I used dish washing soap and warm water. I don't think I would do that now, but it didn't hurt the canvas. Rinse well and lay flat to dry. I would iron when it was still damp. Another thing, embroidery floss is usually color fast. I've never seen it run.

  6. #6
    Senior Member cmw0829's Avatar
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    Jan 2011
    Phoenix, AZ area
    These are great suggestions. I have done a lot of cross stitch, but then just wrapped them up and put them away. I've always been afraid that when I take them out there will be staining - mostly from hand oils and the such (even though I'm neuorotic about washing my hands.) Good to know how to clean them.

  7. #7
    Super Member ghostrider's Avatar
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    Jan 2009
    Be aware that DMC had running dye problems with some of their colors in the 80's and 90's (and later?), so if that's what she used, you may want to consider that factor, too.
    The Earth without art is just "Eh".

  8. #8
    Power Poster
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Ontario, Canada
    I would wash one cross stitch and see how it goes. If the colours run in that one then they may run in the others? Even if they bleed a little I would still make them up into a quilt. They are too beautiful to be sitting in a cupboard somewhere. The washing instructions you have are good ones. Good luck!

  9. #9
    Senior Member fien777's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    brunssum, the netherlands
    I always wash my works with baby shampoo (as I do self knitted delicate sweaters too)
    Get water, add the shampoo and then wash the canvas
    greetz, fien

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Test wash the thread colors frist, if from the original skeins, to see for bleeding...then can use very mild detergant or soap...I also love the J & J baby shampoo, easily controlled for spot treating. Ox products work well, but make sure that the concentration is not too strong, as I have seen a strong solution or direct contact of the graduals weaken the fabric very much. Also gentle handling, as in most cross-stitch there are not knots in the sewing of the blocks. It should make beautiful quilt...please post pictures when done.

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