Part Deux - The Glamorous and Exciting World of Cleaning When handling your vintage, whether store stock or private collection, some guidelines that will help avoid problems: Wash your hands. Frequently. Consider purchasing white cotton gloves if you handle a lot of early textiles. Change gloves as they soil so you don‘t transfer dirt from one item to another. No ink pens , Use pencil in the work area if you are labeling tags . Don’t smoke, eat or drink in your work area. Accidents always happen. Remove sharp jewelry that can catch on , snag or tear textiles. Remember that food, flowers , fur and old woolens may bring insects into the work area. Keep your work area clean, especially the table top where you will be placing textiles. Now that you have your finds in your home or shop, this is a good time to sort out what needs cleaning, what needs repair and what needs no work at all. Let’s focus on cleaning. Let’s face some realities. There a many, many pieces of vintage clothing that are just too delicate for handling. We need to leave these alone. The vast majority of stains don’t come out. The solution to this is to leave that dress alone or live with it. Shattering and splitting can’t be solved. Same solution as above. Most older textiles will not tolerate washing or dry-cleaning, so you have to learn to live with flaws. Now, let’s talk about what we can do: Brushing. This just involves removing surface dust and dirt. And it’ s amazing what a difference this can make. I have 3 brushes I use - a small, very, very soft bristle brush,( I think it was a mushroom scrubbing brush in another life - an artists brush would work as well) for delicate pieces and smooth textures such as satin a stiffer bristle suede brush for suede shoes and encrusted dirt on tougher, newer textiles and then a lint brush. Now I do have one of the sticky tape roller lint brushes and this is fine for woolens and sturdy textiles. But never use these on older or fragile fabrics. The tape will grab your fabric and tear it. It will also grab beads and any loose trim and pull it right off. Vacuuming. Jonathan mentioned this in his Shoe Workshop. A low grade brush attachment, can do wonders. With fragile garments, vacuum over a screen so that you don’t pull the fabric into the vacuum. Plastic screening will work, be sure to get the edges smooth or cover them with bias tape so the screening won’t catch at the garment. Airing. Many a smelly garment has hung out to air around here. If it works, it’s the gentlest way to get rid of odors. This can also let any wrinkle relax before tackling them with steam.