The stockings that are hung by the chimney with care are just some of the Christmas home accessories and decorations that grace our homes during the holiday season. Along with the tinsel and lights, the decorative pillows, throws, Christmas tree skirts and bedding help to bring the holiday spirit alive.
Unfortunately, these items get dirty with spilled food, sticky candy hands, pet stains and dust. With a bit of special care, most can be cleaned and treasured for years to come.
01 of 05
Christmas stockings come in all shapes, sizes and fabrics. Let's take a look at several different types and how to keep them clean.
- Velvet - Stockings made from velvet should be dry cleaned by a professional cleaner. If they are wrinkled, never press with an iron or you'll have the imprint of the iron's sole plate left as a permanent decoration. Use steam to lift the fibers and a soft brush to leave them silky smooth.
- Needlepoint - Needlepoint stockings are beautiful and took someone... a very long time to create. To brighten the colors, give them a good vacuuming with the upholstery brush. If they are stained, take them to a professional dry cleaner.
- Felt - Felt stockings should also head to a dry cleaner, Felt is prone to shrinking and fading and should never be saturated with water. If the stocking has embellishments like sequins or beading, any type of cleaning may destroy the design if the decorations are glued on. Proceed with caution. To remove dust, place the stocking in a mesh bag and tumble in the dryer on the unheated air cycle.
- Knit or Crochet - These stockings are the easiest to clean. Handwash in lukewarm water with a gentle detergent just like a sweater. Rinse well - never wring out water or the fabrics will stretch. Dry flat and reshape to the correct size.
- Wool - Wool woven stockings can be handwashed in tepid water or sent to a professional cleaner. Dry flat and press with pressing cloth if needed.
- Quilted - Quilted stockings should be handwashed in cool water to prevent fading or color bleeding. Rinse well and dry flat.
02 of 05
Decorative holiday pillows can be embroidered, made of needlepoint, quilted or made from a decorative fabric. If the pillow just needs to be refreshed and dust removed, place it in a mesh bag and tumble in the dryer on cool air.
If the pillow has a removable cover, follow the fabric care label instructions. Most will need to be dry cleaned. But you can often used a home drycleaning kit for lightly soiled items. Be sure to pretreat the stains using the kit's cleaning solvent.
03 of 05
When I put up my first Christmas tree, I used a white sheet to create a "tree skirt". I didn't have the money for a fancy tree skirt or the time to create one. The sheet was a simple solution that was easy to clean - even the tree sap that oozed from my freshly cut tree.
As the years have passed, I've gotten that fancy tree skirt and have to deal with the challenges of stains. No more throwing the skirt in the washer.
The most common tree skirt stains are dirt/dust, tree sap, animal... urine and water spots. Always treat the stains as quickly as possible by blotting away any liquid and removing solid matter with the edge of a dull kitchen knife. Use a spray bottle with cool water to saturate the stain and then blot, blot, blot with a clean white cloth. Never scrub the stain as that can harm the fabric.
If the tree skirt is adorned with beads, sequins, appliques, lace, felt, quilted designs, multicolored prints, and other types of decorative trim, it cannot be washed safely due to the glues and adhesives used. Time to head to the dry cleaners.
04 of 05
Some of my favorite holiday pieces are a set of plush snowmen that my sons gave me over a series of years. Each one is wearing a different outfit and they always remind me of holidays past. They've remained fairly clean except for dust. Each year, one by one, they get a quick tumble in the dryer on cold air to remove dust.Continue to 5 of 5 below.
05 of 05
There's nothing more cozy than snuggling next to the fire with a warm Christmas throw or blanket. They come in all shapes and sizes and in fabrics ranging from wool to acrylics to fake fur. Be sure to follow the care label cleaning guidelines.
Holiday bedding can mean flannel sheets and Christmas quilts. Follow these tips to keep the colors bright and prevent color bleeding.