You want to care for the heirlooms you make, or that have been handed down from loved ones. After all, you know how much work and skill has gone into the creation of it!
With your delicate items, you always want to hand wash with detergent designed for delicate fabrics, or shampoo. Always be sure to test a small area first. Never rub an old piece, not even against it, because it might get totally out of shape and get those nasty little pills/ fuzz balls.
Lay your washed piece on a towel to dry.
Before you ever wash a piece, make sure there are no tears or places that are in danger of unraveling. If so, carefully repair it before washing. If you can save the piece by sewing, try to insert the needle between the threads, and not into the threads. Holes are best repaired by darning. Always use a thread close to the original in color and weight. Weave horizontal across the tear and begin with 3 or 4 meshes on each side of the hole, then start weaving in and out, trying to duplicate the holes or designs of the original stitches.
If you need to remove stains or yellowing from the piece, use lemon juice mixed with water. Let the piece sit, but not too long. If lemon juice is too weak, try Hydrogen peroxide next. Again, let sit a while, but not too long. Never use chlorine bleach, because you will weaken the fibers of your piece. There are now also home dry cleaning products you could try as well. Before you try a dry cleaning product, read the directions carefully. You might want to do a small test area.
Sometimes, if you let the fabric, especially if it is linen, lay flat on tissue paper to dry. Most of the time there will be no water rims visible after it dried. That is especially helpful to know with old lace.
When something is not salvageable, just rework it. I mentioned a few ideas in my post:
And with that thought until next time