How to Wash Cross Stitch

From time to time you may need to wash cross stitch projects, especially if you've been working on a piece for a long time or it's been stored in an area exposed to dust or other debris.

Hand washing with soap and water is generally the preferred way to wash cross stitch.

First, make sure that the fabric and flosses you've used are safe to wash and are colorfast.


Pre-rinse your piece under cold running water. Pour a small amount of detergent (FabriCare or a similar fabric detergent is recommended) in a shallow pan of cool water and gentle swish the fabric in the soapy water. Try to avoid soaps with heavy fragrances or colorants. Do not scrub the fabric.

Check often that none of your threads are bleeding color. Very vibrant colors will be more likely to bleed, especially red. This is generally caused by excess dye in the floss that was not completely rinsed during the dying process. If color bleeding does occur, stop washing and begin rinsing under cold water immediately. Then let the piece soak in cold water until you are ready to try other methods of stain removal.

Rinse in cold water until the soap is completely washed from your piece. Do not wring the fabric, it could damage or distort your stitches. 

Once your piece is rinsed, lay your fabric on a clean, dry bath towel and roll the towel with the fabric still on the towel. Gently press the rolled towel to remove excess water, and repeat on another dry section of towel until as much of the excess water has been removed as possible.

Lay the fabric right side up on a dry towel and allow it to air dry.


Once your cross stitch piece has dried, flip your fabric over so that the right side of the work is face down. Set your iron to a low or medium temperature and gently iron the back of the piece. Do not let the iron rest in one spot and do not use steam. Use discretion if you've used specialty buttons, beads or threads, you may need to take special care when ironing pieces using these embellishments.

Let your cross stitch piece cool, and you're ready for framing!