My love affair with anything vintage has, unfortunately, resulted in a broken heart... and faded colors. But, being resiliant, I've moved on from the loss of my gorgeous 1940's pencil skirt... and I've learned.
Here's some tips to protect those (clothes) you love.
1.] Use WARM water for natural fabrics (such as cotton)
2.] Use COLD water for synthetic fabrics (such as polyester)
3.] Polyester (and poly blend) clothes look better if they are hung to dry. I don't really know why, they just do from my experience.
4.] Make sure the sink is clean before you wash your clothes in it! (I know, this seems obvious...)
5.] COLD water will keep colors from bleeding (if the fabric is colorfast).
6.] Only wash one garment at a time. Even if the colors are similar. It's better to be safe than sorry.
7.] Dissolve detergent in warm/hot water first, then add to your rinse water.
8.] Don't agitate the fabric too much (or at all if you can help it). Usually I sort of just pat and carefully "knead" (sorry, I can't think of a better way to describe it) the fabric. For dresses I will try to flatten it in the tub and gently "pat" the detergent in. If it's a sturdier fabric, I agitate the fabric just a bit.
9.] Rinse vintage garments in cool water. Make sure to rinse them well. You don't want any detergent residue!
10.] If in doubt LEAVE IT TO THE PROFESSIONALS. I am by no means a professional washer/restorer of vintage clothing, so the more delicate items I let air out instead of risking damaging it forever
((This was originally posted on my favorite blog...Thanks to Adore Vintage, 2009 for these marvelous tidbits... if only I'd listened!!!!))