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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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    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: 3624
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: 3852
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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    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.
    Traveler53

    So Much Fabric, So Little Time

  3. #3
    Senior Member MoanaWahine's Avatar
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    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
    Julie

  4. #4
    Senior Member IAmCatOwned's Avatar
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    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
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    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.
    Sue

  6. #6
    Senior Member cmw0829's Avatar
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    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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    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
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    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
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    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
    http://quiltfien.blogspot.com/

  10. #10
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    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.

  11. #11
    Super Member spartan quilter's Avatar
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    I have to thank everyone for the great suggestions. I am going to start with one at a time, the gentlest soap solutions, and go from there. I will be slow on this project, as I am also doing a DJ, finishing the remodeling of my sewing room and office room, so it will be awhile before posting a finished project, but hope to have it finished for next Christmas. I also want to do her initials and the year date of when she finished each one. So, I have to do that before even starting to clean them up. Thanks again, to all, for the very helpful suggestions and any more that may be posted. Always so many wonderful people here.
    A home is built of peace and love,
    and not of wood and stone,
    a place where happiness lives
    and memories are sewn.

  12. #12
    Super Member GrannieAnnie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spartan quilter View Post
    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: 3624
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: 3852
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.

    Same answer as always--------soak in a Oxy-clean bath with a lot of Oxy-clean. Slosh around a bit and soak a few hours, then gingerly rinse.
    Bad Spellers of the World
    U N T I E

  13. #13
    Senior Member happyquiltmom's Avatar
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    Looks like you may have some rust stains from a metal hoop?? My best guess for that would be Oxyclean. Good luck! If you do get the stains out, then dry flat on a towel and carefully iron with Mary Ellen's Best Press. It is a starch substitute that works like a dream to eliminate wrinkles.

  14. #14
    Senior Member YukonViv's Avatar
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    Don't worry about being too gentle, DMC threads and aida cloth can take a lot of wear and tear. I wash all my washable cross stitch (as opposed to the non-washable kind, anything done in a specialty thread like a hand dyed or over dyed thread) in a tub of warm water with Ivory dish soap. Any marks I scrub, doesn't hurt it.

    When I've rinsed, I place face down on a towel, roll gently and pop it into the freezer. The next day, I pull it out, let it thaw for a minute or two, gently unroll and press. The steaming action does a wonderful job of taking out any wrinkles, fold lines, etc...and makes it great for cutting and sewing. Plus, the smell of the Ivory soap is an added bonus.
    Vivian
    Yukon Territory, Canada
    www.quiltingunderthemidnightsun.blogspot.ca

  15. #15
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    I also use warm water and dawn dish soap in a basin (usually bathroom sink) of water. Swish around, rinse a few times to get out all the soap and wrap in a towel for a bit then lay flat to dry. I've done cross-stich for years and never had an issue with DMC dyes running when cleaning in this fashion. Might need to go with a heavier detergent on the stains if they don't come out the first time. I'd be careful with the heavier detergents on the yarn, however.

  16. #16
    Senior Member AprilG's Avatar
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    I find that the OxyClean works best too. But as a suggestion...Whenever I have a cross stitch piece that will be machine washed, I always use some fusible backing. Iron it on really well and then you can machine wash to your hearts content. Sometimes, if I need a really stiff backing. I will use the backing, stitch the piece, then iron on more backing. This works well in framing a piece. One piece of lightweight backing works best for quilts and wearables. By the way, I love her pieces. They are very well done.
    April
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  17. #17
    Senior Member Jamiestitcher62's Avatar
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    If she used DMC flosses you shouldn't have any problems, the colors aren't really dark. I think the running colors from the 80's were like the reds and blacks. The stains look like rust from a metal hoop. I have used anything from dishwashing liquid to Woolite on my cross stitch stuff to clean it, I've even sprayed it with stain remover if necessary. Good luck getting those stains out.
    Laura

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