If you want to get the most out of your vintage purchases, you have to know how to take care of them correctly. From cleaning to storing, vintage clothes need special care and attention in order to stay beautiful.

Check out some of the best vintage clothing care tips, from washing instructions to ironing tips and storage solutions. While gentle hand washing is the safest option when it comes to keeping your vintage buys looking their best so they add to your style for a long way.

Don’t Just Check Labels

While the label can certainly provide useful cleaning information, one of the most important vintage clothing care tips is using your best judgment. Clothes made with more than one fabric should be cleaned very carefully, and some trims or buttons can also cause problems. Metallic buttons should be removed if you plan on machine watching. When it doubt, go for dry cleaning.

Know Your Fabrics

Machine washing vintage clothes is always risky, so it’s usually better to go for a cooler temperature and sometimes even avoid drying. While cotton and polyester usually handle machine washing well, here are some vintage clothing cleaning tips for different fabrics:

Acetate – hand wash or dry clean. If you do machine wash, avoid spin cycles and tumble drying.

Acrylic – machine wash

Corduroy – machine wash inside out

Denim – machine wash inside out and always hang to dry

Nylon – hand wash or machine wash (gentle cycle, cool temperature)

Polyester – machine wash

Rayon – dry clean

Silk – hand wash or dry clean, avoid spot cleaning

Wool – hand wash or dry clean

When you’re washing vintage clothes for the first time, test with water at a hidden seam. If the dye runs or there’s puckering, stick to dry cleaning.

Best Way To Store Vintage Clothes

Iron Vintage Clothes Carefully

One of the best vintage clothing care tips is to iron at a cool temperature. Polyester can handle moderately warm temperatures, while the right way of getting wrinkles out of wool items is to hang them in a steamy bathroom. Acetate can be ironed at a cool temperatures while slightly damp, and steaming is better than ironing for silk.

See also: Vintage Shopping Mistakes to Avoid

Dry Clean Vintage Clothes at Home

Leaving the cleaning to the experts when you’re not sure what you’re doing is one of the most important vintage clothing cleaning tips. However, you can also buy your own dry cleaning solvents, like K2r and try to get rid of spots yourself. Always read the instructions carefully before using a product, and if you can’t identify a fabric, don’t try improvising.

Reverse Yellowing

Even with the right vintage clothing care tips, some items will age and white turns into yellow. Start by soaking them in warm water with a product like Borax or OxiClean.

Avoid Hangers

Even if you’re an expert when it comes to vintage clothing cleaning tips, you still have to store them properly. Hangers are generally a bad idea for most vintage items. Wire hangers can ruin even brand new clothes, but it’s much safer for your vintage buys to keep them folded, especially if the fabrics are delicate.

How To Care For Vintage Fabrics

Get Rid of Any Smells Quickly

Airing out vintage items can sometimes do the trick, but when you’re dealing with smells that don’t go away so easily, try one of the vintage clothing care tips and steam them with a scented solution. If they’re too delicate for that, activated charcoal and kitty litter can also absorb odors very effectively, particularly for accessories that can’t be watched. Stick the vintage items with a sealed bag with kitty litter or activated charcoal and keep them in there anyway from a day to a week.

More: 10 Steps to a More Organized Wardrobe

Avoid Storing Vintage Clothes in Plastic Bags

Knowing how to properly use vintage clothing cleaning tips is just one way of making sure that your investment pays off. Avoid plastic bags, since they can preserve unpleasant smells and also meld into plastic buttons.

Be Gentle with Vintage Leather and Suede

Cleaning out leather or suede is better left to the experts, but you can also try some vintage clothing care tips and treat them like brand new shoes. Use shoe polish for leather, along with leather conditioner and suede eraser.