To print: From the File Menu click on Print.
Phone: 860-464-2001
Back to
Learn more about Wedding Gown Restoration
Learn more about Vintage Heirlooms Care and Restoration
What is Wet Cleaning
Care of Leather Goods

Vintage Lace Care and Restoration

A vintage lace often is brittle, tired looking and sometimes very soiled. It is possible to wet clean old lace, with care in handling, and allow plenty of time. The process cannot be hurried. The lace may be years old, and the pollution will not be removed instantaneously. Patience is a prime ingredient.

Read and review the “tips” provided in the “LACES” article for wet cleaning. The soaking process will include addition of borax (l to 3 tbs.) to the soak water. It is suggested that a mild liquid soap be used for the cleaning method.

If necessary to use bleach, it can be done after all soil is removed. Bleach is available in liquid, flake, or powder form. Chlorine Bleach must never be used with vintage fiber or fabric. Sodium perborate is the only safe bleach and will not damage lace. Sodium peroxide can be used, safely, and is slower acting, and best used with silk fiber.

The rinsing of lace is delicate and again, lace should be squeezed by hand, to remove any suds. If a scum shows on the water, add 3 tbs. white vinegar to the rinse water to remove any detergent on soap from the washing. Always do a final rinse.

Lace used as an accessory of fashion or furniture can be starched for additional firmness. However, starch should never be applied to lace is to be preserved, as starch can attract insects.


To repair lace, use tiny stitches with thread of same color and fiber as original. Repairs should be made after the lace is cleaned for a good match.

When lace is purchased, or a lace trimmed article, cotton is the preferred fiber as it is most durable for easy care and maintenance. Nylon, as a fiber, is a scavenger and will pick up dye when washed with colored articles. Therefore, nylon lace should be cleaned only with white or light articles, or washed separately by hand.

Lace bonded to another fabric, such as a blouse, may not wash well, as the adhesive when wet may separate and layers come apart. Always hand launder.

For assistance in lace repair, restoration, or preservation contact Evelyn S. Kennedy at 860 464 2001 or by e-mail

Return to Sewtique