How do I clean a vintage doll dress?

by Bren

I found an antique Nancy Ann doll I want to give my mother for Christmas as a reminder of her childhood but the dress is really soiled. Mainly the front portion which is a net fabric with flowers embroidered on it. I’m in desperate need of help to see if there is anyway I can get this at least somewhat cleaner without destroying the dress. The fabric doesn’t seem to be deteriorated, just soiled from age. Any and all suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

  9 answers
  • Chloe Crabtree Chloe Crabtree on Nov 22, 2019

    Anything of this vintage and delicate condition, I wash gently by hand in a sink with a mild dish soap.

  • Hand wash only

  • Hand wash it in Woolite.

  • Fiddledd224 Fiddledd224 on Nov 22, 2019

    Try washing gently with baby shampoo and let it soak for a while. Roll it in a soft towel to remove water and hang until dry.

  • Stolzy Stolzy on Nov 22, 2019

    Cool water with baking soda and dawn. Let it soak. Use a soft toothbrush and gently, starting from an edge, little strokes.

    Good luck.

    I found my great grandmother's doll. I was afraid the fabric would disintegrate.

    Try to brush with the stitches on the embroidery. The thread is probably silk and should be a bit stronger, if it was done cheaper then cotton thread will be more brittle.

    • Bren Bren on Nov 22, 2019

      Do I put the baking soda and Dawn in the water to let it soak? About how much of each? It’s a very small dress for a doll only 5 1/2 inches tall.

  • Sharon Sharon on Nov 22, 2019

    Ditto anything this vintage I was in the sink with Woolite in tepid water.

  • Dee Dee on Nov 23, 2019

    I would take it to a bridal dry cleaners, they specialize in cleaning vintage dresses.

  • 17335038 17335038 on Nov 23, 2019

    The solution to cleaning dusty silk artificial flower arrangements is to put in a large clean plastic bag with salt. Knot the top of the bag, then shake. The salt is supposed to bind with the dust, then fall to the bottom of the bag.

    Are there any Hometalkers out there who have tried this method with fabric such as doll clothing?

  • Marty Ayers Marty Ayers on Jan 26, 2024

    FIRST... I would try contacting Patric Richardson "the Laundry Guy" (youtube, HGTV) and see what he would recommend... he specializes in cleaning special things.