How to Clean Cross Stitch

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How to Clean Cross Stitch

Cleaning King is proud to present this guest post by the amazing Instagram Stitcher ‘Hookes‘, who also produced all the needlework pictured here.

Introduction – How to Clean Cross Stitch

Washing your completed cross stitch is an easy and necessary process.

After completing your cross stitch project it is important to wash it before framing or finishing. Your work accumulates oils from your skin, and dust from the atmosphere, and in some homes dust and fibres from pets. Oils from your skin can cause your work to yellow over time, andwashing thoroughly will help to remove them.

There may also be some accidental spills and marks on your work. These should be treatedimmediately, as some may cause permanent damage to your fabric, and will become more difficult to remove the longer they are left. Wine, milk, soft drink or food can all leave stains that unless treated immediately can ruin your work.

Some food and drinks contain acids that could eat into your fabric if not treated immediately. Washing your work will also help get out creases and marks from hoops and frames.

If you have done your project with DMC Threads or Anchor Threads these cotton threads are colorfast, and are easily washed.

How to Clean Cross Stitch

  • Make sure that the sink or container that you are going to wash your piece in is perfectly clean. If you have more than one piece of work, wash them separately.
  • Fill your sink with warm water – not hot. Add Treasure Wash. This is the ideal product for washing your work. It is Phosphate Free, Dye Free, Bleach Free and Lanolin free, it leaves no soapy residue, and will not damage the fibres of the fabric or threads that you have used. It is a pure organic product.

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  • Place your stitched piece into the water and make sure that it is fully submerged. If it is really dirty(especially where your hoop has been) then gently scrub around this area. Do not use force. If the work is badly stained you can use a soft toothbrush. Be gentle with the fabric to avoid distorting it.
  • You can leave your work to soak in the sink up to an hour. If you find that your fabric or threads bleed, you can add a color catcher. It will help to catch the dye before it runs. See notes below re: suitable fabric and threads.

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  • If in the event that you do not catch the color bleed in time, try using a color run remover, and re-doing the process. However, it is always prudent to check your fabric and floss first.

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  • Once you have cleaned your work, it must be completely rinsed in clear water.
  • Empty the soapy water out and fill with clean water. Rinse your work thoroughly. Once you have done this, to ensure that all soapy residue is gone, rinse it under cold running water. Do not wring out.
  • Place your work onto a clean white towel, face down, place another clean white towel over the top of your work.
  • Press down on the towels to remove as much water as possible. A tip that helps with this process is to use a rolling pin. Once you have removed as much water as possible, place your work onto a dry towel to air dry.
  • It is advisable to iron your work while it is still damp. While it is still face down on a towel, gently press from the wrong side. A steam iron is the perfect tool for the job. Ironing on the towel from the reverse side will stop your stitches from being flattened.
  • It is also a good practise to use a pressing cloth, as this will ensure that your fabric does not get scorched.

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  • If you have creases that you are finding difficult to remove, use the steam setting on your iron, but be sure to use a pressing cloth.
  • You may also use a light application of spray starch, to help get all the creases out of your work.
  • Continue pressing your work from the wrong side, until it is as dry as possible. There will probably still be some residual dampness in the fabric.
  • When you have finished cleaning and ironing your work, it needs to be completely dry beforeframing. Depending on the weather this may take some time. It is a good idea to hang your pieceon a skirt hanger in an open position.


These instructions are for work that has been done with colorfast floss and fabric. Not all fibres are colorfast, and you should be aware if the product you have used is suitable to wash. Silk or wool threads are not suitable to wash.

Some hand dyed fabrics and floss are not colorfast and washing will cause the dyes to run.

Before washing check the label on the product that you are using.

If you are using hand dyed threads, you could wash them in warm water before starting. Washing and rinsing them several times will ensure that all of the residual dye has been removed.

If you are going to be working a large piece that will take some time, this will ensure that you can safely wash your work when you have finished.

If you are unsure, test the thread or fabric that you have used. Immerse a snippet of your fabric and a few of your threads in some warm water.