How to care for textiles and clothes
From wedding veils to patchwork quilts passed down the generations – the secret to caring for precious textiles and clothing is to minimise handling and exposure to light, dirt, damp and insect attack.
Here's some useful advice from our conservation experts on how to look after textiles and clothes:
- Store clothing in large flat acid-free boxes, with minimum folds to prevent creases, using puffs and ‘sausages’ of acid-free tissue paper.
- Remove metal pins, jewellery, buttons and other detachable fastenings as these can stain and weaken textiles.
- Flat textiles such as shawls, sashes, tablecloths or wedding veils are better rolled than folded; squashed folds become creases that will, in time, crack and tear. Use a plastic drainpipe, interleave with acid-free tissue paper and cover with cotton calico or lawn.
- Carpets and rugs are vulnerable to heavy foot traffic. To minimise wear and even out exposure to light and fading, rotate them annually.
- Textiles in strong condition, such as upholstery, bedspreads and rugs can be vacuum-cleaned on low suction, using a crevice tool covered with fine nylon netting to prevent snagging of loose threads.