Vintage accessories and clothing need an occasional cleaning.

How to Clean Vintage Beaded Satin

by Mimi Bullock

A satin beaded gown or accessory makes an elegant style statement, but if the item falls under the vintage category, special cleaning care is needed. Satin pieces that are embellished or covered with beads may tear easily under the weight of the beading, and hand washing the article could permanently discolor the satin. With a few helpful tips, you can keep your vintage item looking good for many more years to come.

Lay the item on a flat clean surface. Examine the beading and the fabric, noting any damaged areas.

Place the garment on a hanger, and cover it with a mesh bag. If the item is a purse or belt, place it inside a mesh bag without hanging it. Gently vacuum the garment, using the slitted tube attachment on your vacuum cleaner. Avoid contact with any areas missing beads.

Remove the mesh bag. Set up a handheld steamer with water. Steam clean the garment, keeping the wand 8 to 10 inches away from the satin. You want to lightly steam the item, not soak it or saturate it with water.

Wipe dust from the beads with a lint-free cloth. For deep set dirt, dab the cloth with vinegar, and wipe the beads, avoiding contact with the satin as much as possible.

Store cleaned, beaded satin in a drawer lined with acid-free tissue paper.

Items you will need

  • Hanger
  • Mesh bag
  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Handheld steamer
  • Lint-free cloth
  • Vinegar
  • Acid-free tissue paper


  • When in doubt, take the item to a dry cleaner who specializes in restoring vintage clothing.
  • Vintage clothing collectors should not expect to restore the original brightness of the fabric's colors.
  • If you do not have a slitted tube attachment for your vacuum cleaner, use a small battery-powered hand vacuum.


  • If you see damage to the satin, discover missing beads or find evidence of insect activity, consult a professional dry cleaner.
  • Do not use cleaning solutions on a vintage garment -- water only.
  • Do not store vintage gowns or items in zippered storage bags. Vintage fabrics need proper ventilation.

About the Author

Mimi Bullock's writing reflects her love of traveling the back roads of small towns and sampling the local cuisine. As a regular feature writer for "Southern Hospitality Traveler" and journalist for "Beachin' Magazine," she gets to experience the rich heritage of the southern culture. She is also a licensed cosmetologist who has her own skin care line.

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images