Photo: Afrika Studio (Shutterstock)
Perhaps you’re the type of person who, at the end of each Christmas season, washes all of the stockings and other festive fabric decorations before putting them in a carefully sealed container so that everything is ready to go next year.
Or maybe when the first week of January (or anytime you’ve taken your decorations down) rolls around you’re so exhausted and tired of looking at the stuff that you toss the stockings, tree skirt, and pillows in a box and toss it up the attic.
If you belong to that second category, now you may be picking up those boxes of Christmas decorations and finding that they look a little dusty or dingy. But don’t worry – most (if not all) can be washed. In an article for Die Fichte, Mary Marlowe Leverette leads us through how to do this. Here’s what you should know.
This is how you wash Christmas stockings
Stockings come in a variety of materials, that is Leverette breaks it down by fabric:
- Velvet: Velvet stockings should be dry cleaned by a professional cleaner. If they are wrinkled, never press with an iron or the footprint of the soleplate will be left as a permanent decoration. Use steam to lift the fibers and a soft brush to make them silky smooth.
- Needle point: Pinpoint stockings are beautiful and took someone a long time to create. To lighten the colors, vacuum them well with the upholstery brush. If they are stained, take them to a professional dry cleaner.
- Cross stitch: Cross stitch is usually done on fabric that can be hand washed. Be sure to test the threads for color fastness before proceeding.
- Felt: Felt stockings should also go to a dry cleaner. Felt tends to shrink and fade and should never be saturated with water. If the stocking has embellishments such as sequins or pearls, any kind of cleaning can destroy the design when the decorations are pasted on. Proceed with caution. To remove dust, place the stocking in a mesh bag and place it in the dryer in the unheated air circuit.
- Knitting or crocheting: These stockings are the easiest to clean. Hand wash in lukewarm water with a gentle detergent like a sweater. Rinse well – never wring out water, otherwise the fabrics will stretch. Dry flat and shape to size.
- Wool: Wool stockings can be hand washed with lukewarm water or sent to a professional cleaner. Dry flat and, if necessary, press down with an ironing cloth.
- Quilted: Quilted stockings should be hand washed in cold water to prevent fading or bleeding of the color. Rinse well and dry flat.
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Ideally, you want to selectively treat stains on your Christmas tree skirt – the most common of these are dirt / dust, tree sap, animal urine and water stains. Leverette says-immediately. But if that didn’t happen, carefully scrape off any solid / hardened stains (like candle wax) with the edge of a blunt kitchen knife. Then soak the stain with cold water from a spray bottle and then dab it with a clean white cloth, she explains. And as tempting as it is, don’t scrub the stain (it can damage the fabric).
If the fabric is washable afterwards, wash it according to the instructions. If it is covered with pearls, appliqués, sequins or the like, Leverette recommends taking it to the dry cleaner.
Holiday throws, blankets and pillows
For most of these, you can simply follow the cleaning instructions on the label – whether it’s hand washing, machine washing, or dry cleaning. Check the pillows to see if they have removable covers, and if so, follow the instructions.
If you have decorative pillows that are embroidered or decorated and do not have a removable cover, Leverette recommends Freshen them up by placing them in a mesh bag in the dryer in a cool environment.