Hand washing is the preferred method of cleaning needlepoint. Before
cleaning, take into account the item's age and condition, soiling, and
colorfastness. Examine the item for weak or damaged areas. You can
protect these areas during cleaning by backing them with a piece of
white, unbleached muslin or nylon netting. Use as few stitches as
Test all colored yarns for colorfastness by wetting a
cotton swab with drycleaning solvent or a water and detergent solution
and gently dabbing the colored yarn. If any color transfers onto the end
of the swab, drycleaning or washing procedures should not be used. It
is important to test all colors on the piece using this procedure.
backings may also contain sizings that may be removed in cleaning. To
test, wet a corner of the mesh with water or drycleaning solvent. If the
area becomes tacky or gummy, the item should not be cleaned using an
If testing indicates that the item can be
safely cleaned, cover the textile with a piece of fiberglass-coated
window screen. Do not use metal, as it may rust and create additional
staining. Using a very low-powered, hand-held vacuum cleaner, vacuum
over the surface to remove any surface soil. Do not use this procedure
on fragile items.
If cleanability testing and examination
indicates that drycleaning is acceptable, clean the item in a net bag on
a three-to-five-minute cycle and dry on a low-drying temperature
(120°F). If testing indicates that the item can be safely wetcleaned,
place the item in a plastic bucket or sink. Again, metal is not
recommended. Do not scrub or squeeze the item. Every few minutes, gently
push the item under the surface of the water. Soak for 30 minutes.
Drain the wash water and rinse in cold water until the water runs clear.
After rinsing, roll the item in a towel and gently squeeze the moisture
with your hands. Always lay flat to dry, as hanging may cause the item
to tear or warp.
After cleaning, a pinboard may be necessary to
block the item back to its original size. For items that have been
wetcleaned, allow the item to dry on the pinboard. You may iron the
textile while it is on the pinboard using a steam iron that is set on a