A velvet dress can be particularly captivating, and if you're lucky enough to find a vintage velvet dress in good condition, it's important to care for it correctly. The blended fibers that make up velvet -- including silk, cotton and wool -- can pose a challenge to velvet-dress care. For deep cleaning, take your vintage velvet to the dry cleaner, especially if the dress is very old. However, if you can't get to the dry cleaner right away and you have a spill to fix or you want to wear the dress without the wait, you can clean and freshen your velvet vintage dress at home.
Mix 1 teaspoon of delicate-care laundry detergent with 2 cups of cold water in a tub or basin.
Dip a soft white cloth into the water and wring it out well. Gently dab any stains with the cloth. Do not rub, as this can crush velvet. Repeat until the stains are gone.
Rinse the white cloth with cold water, wring it out and dab the spots again to remove any soap residue. Repeat until all the soap residue have been removed.
Fill the steamer with distilled water, plug it in and wait for the steam to start coming out of the nozzle. Hold the steamer 6 inches away from the dress and steam from the bottom hem to the neckline. This will freshen the dress and remove wrinkles.
Hang the dress outdoors on a hanger or a clothesline -- or hang it by an open window -- and leave it to dry for an hour to help remove any odors and dry any remaining dampness that resulted from the steam. If you don't have access to a place where you can hang the dress outdoors, hang the garment in front of an open window.
Turn the dress inside out and lightly spritz fabric-refresher spray on any spots of the dress that smell unpleasant. Use a very light mist and don't use the spray where it isn't needed.
Turn the dress right-side out again and hang it from a fabric hanger in a well-ventilated room until you are ready to wear it.
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- When cleaning a dress for the first time, always test the soap, steamer and fabric-refresher spray on a hidden section of the dress, such as an inside seam, before using it on the outside of the garment.
- Do not use home dry-cleaning kits on vintage velvet, as the solvent is too strong.
S.R. Becker is a certified yoga teacher based in Queens, N.Y. She has a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing and has worked as a writer and editor for more than 15 years. Becker often writes for "Yoga in Astoria," a newsletter about studios throughout New York City.