How to Wash Cross Stitch Before Framing?

Cross stitch is a form of embroidery that involves creating tiny X-shaped stitches to form a pattern or design on fabric.

 While the result can be stunning, preparing your cross-stitch properly before framing it to prevent dirt, oils, and other contaminants from damaging the fabric over time is essential.

Wash Cross Stitch before framing helps remove these impurities and ensures that the fabric lies flat and evenly, resulting in a professional-looking finish.

why washing your cross stitch is a good idea and how to do it safely:

The Benefits of a Gentle Wash Cross Stitch

  1. Removes Dirt and Grime: Even if your stitching was done in a pristine environment, there can be dust, hair, or stray marks that need cleaning. Washing removes these imperfections, making your colors look brighter and the overall piece sharper.
  2. Softens Fabric: Washing helps to relax the fibers in the fabric, making it easier to stretch and flatten when framing. This leads to a more professional and polished final product.
  3. Sets Stitches: A gentle wash cross stitch can help to secure your stitches, especially if you’re using softer threads.
Wash Cross Stitch

Wash Cross Stitch with Care

Now that you know the benefits, let’s get down to the gentle washing process:

  1. Colorfastness Test: Before submerging your entire project, conduct a colorfastness test. Clip a small piece of fabric and thread from your project and wash it in warm water with a mild soap. If the colors bleed, it’s best to skip washing altogether.
  2. Gather Supplies: You’ll need a large basin or tub, lukewarm water, mild, unscented soap (like baby shampoo or wool wash), and clean towels.
  3. Soak Gently: Fill your basin with lukewarm water and add a few drops of soap. Gently lay your stitching flat in the water and let it soak for 15 minutes to an hour. Avoid agitating the water or scrubbing the fabric.
  4. Rinse Thoroughly: Rinse your project in several changes of cool water until all the soap is removed.
  5. Roll and Press: Lay a clean towel flat and place your wet stitching face down on it. Roll up the towel gently, pressing lightly to remove excess water. Do not wring or twist the fabric.
  6. Air Dry: Find a flat surface away from direct sunlight and lay your stitching face down on another clean towel. Let it air dry completely.
Wash Cross Stitch

Choosing the Right Method

When it comes to wash cross Stitch, there are several methods to choose from, each with its own set of pros and cons. The two most common methods are hand washing and machine washing.

Hand Washing

Hand washing is the gentlest method for washing cross stitches and is suitable for delicate or heirloom pieces. To hand wash cross stitch, follow these steps:

  1. Fill a basin or sink with lukewarm water and add a small amount of mild detergent or soap.
  2. Gently submerge the cross stitch in the water, taking care not to agitate it too vigorously.
  3. Allow the fabric to soak for a few minutes, then gently agitate it with your hands to loosen any dirt or stains.
  4. Rinse the cross stitch thoroughly with clean water to remove all traces of detergent.
  5. Carefully squeeze out excess water, taking care not to wring or twist the fabric.
  6. Lay the cross stitch flat on a clean, absorbent towel and gently roll it up to remove the remaining moisture.
  7. Unroll the towel and lay the cross stitch flat to dry, preferably on a clean, dry surface away from direct sunlight.

Machine Washing

Machine washing is a quicker option for washing cross stitches but should be reserved for sturdier pieces that can withstand the agitation of a washing machine. To machine wash cross stitch follow these steps:

  1. Place the cross stitch in a mesh laundry bag to protect it from snagging or stretching.
  2. Select a gentle cycle and use cold or lukewarm water.
  3. Add a small amount of mild detergent to the washing machine.
  4. Start the cycle and allow the machine to complete the washing process.
  5. Once the cycle is complete, Wash Cross Stitch from the laundry bag and lay it flat on a clean, absorbent towel to dry.

Tips for Success

  • Never use hot water or harsh detergents, as they can damage the threads and fabric.
  • If you notice a stain, try a gentle stain remover designed for embroidery floss. Test it on a small inconspicuous area first.
  • For larger projects, consider using a mesh laundry bag for extra protection during washing.
  • Avoid ironing your stitching directly. If needed, place a clean pressing cloth between the iron and your project, and use the lowest heat setting.

By following these simple steps, you can ensure your cross stitch is clean and ready to be showcased in a beautiful frame.

Wash Cross Stitch

Common Mistakes to Avoid

When Wash Cross Stitch avoid the following common mistakes:

  • Use harsh detergents or bleach, which can damage the fabric and fade the colors.
  • Agitating the fabric too vigorously can cause the stitches to unravel or distort.
  • Skipping the drying step or allowing the cross stitch to air dry unevenly, can lead to mildew or water stains.


Can I wash my cross stitch if it has beads or metallic threads?

While some beads and metallic threads may be washable, it’s best to spot-clean these areas carefully to avoid damaging them.

How often should I wash my cross stitch?

It’s generally recommended to wash your cross stitch after completing it and before framing it for display. However, if it becomes soiled or stained over time, you can wash it as needed.

Can I use regular laundry detergent to wash my cross stitch?

It’s best to use a mild detergent or soap specifically designed for delicate fabrics to avoid damaging the cross stitch.

Should I wash my cross stitch before or after adding embellishments like buttons or beads?

It’s usually best to wash cross stitch before adding embellishments to ensure that any dirt or stains are removed from the fabric beforehand.

Can I use a dryer to dry my cross stitch?

While some people may choose to use a dryer on a low heat setting to speed up the drying process, it’s generally safer to air dry your cross stitch to avoid damaging the fabric or stitches.


Wash Cross Stitch before framing it is an essential step in preserving its beauty and integrity for years to come.

By following the guidelines outlined in this article, you can ensure that your finished piece looks its best and remains a cherished heirloom for generations to come.

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