Always hand wash pre 1960s vintage, rather than machine washing and drying it. If you are really concerned, as the fabric is very old or delicate, consider not washing it at all: a good airing can often work just as well for removing odour without damaging the garment.
To keep your precious clothes in good condition, wash them less. Repeated, vigorous washing can damage the fibres of vintage clothes (and new clothes too). Washing (machine-washable) clothes at 30 instead of 60 degrees will also prolong their life, and is much more eco-friendly too.
Never wash embroidered silks or satins, ever.
If you want to dry clean specialty vintage items that are durable enough for it, then use a reputable dry cleaner.
If you’re unsure, you can get dry cleaner cloths for home use, in your own dryer. You can clean up to six items with one cloth.
Storing Your Vintage Clothing
Keep your vintage clothes in a dry, dust-free place away from direct sunlight. Humidity or damp will damage delicate fibres, and sunlight can irreversibly fade vintage prints and colors.
Keep vintage clothes stored where they can breathe, not in plastic covers like the ones you get from the dry cleaners. Long term, these are not healthy for the fabric of the clothes
Hang your vintage clothes on wooden hangers, or for best protection, cloth-covered padded hangers. (Metal hangers can leave rust stains on your clothes and they also leave stretch marks that are very hard to get rid of).
Maintaining Your Vintage Clothes
From a small rip to a larger hole make sure you repair your clothing as soon as you see an issue. They’ll only get bigger if you don’t.
You can sew, crochet, cover with patches of material and more.
Lubricate that zipper. Old metal zippers should be carefully lubricated with graphite pencil, vaseline or zipper lube to keep them gliding smoothly through your clothing.