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How to Wash Fabric Gloves from the 40's to Now

How to Wash Fabric Gloves from the 40's to Now

Posted by Vivian Vassar on 15th Apr 2020

My mother is 93 and she was telling me recently how she was taught to clean her white gloves in the 1940s. First turn the water on lukewarm in the sink, then with her gloves on each hand she would get the gloves fully wet. Then she would wash her hands (with the gloves on) using a bar of ivory soap. This way she could see where the dirt or spots were on the gloves and she could get that part extra soapy. Rinse and she was done!  The gloves would be dried on a towel and later draped over a towel bar to completely dry.  She had 3 sisters and this was during a time when women wore gloves everyday so she said her house always had a stray pair of gloves drying somewhere.   

I have tried this method with success.  If the gloves need extra cleaning after I do the "hand wash" I fill the sink with clean water and a dash of dish soap.  I put the gloves in this to soak for an hour or so.  Then rinse in clean water.  Usually this is enough to make the gloves look fresh and new.  I've also found it helpful to squeeze the wet gloves gently in a clean towel, then put them on another towel to dry.  This makes them dry faster. I also take the time to shape the gloves as they dry flat.  

Hope this is helpful. I'd recommend hand washing for any fabric or lace glove whether they are vintage or newly made. Better safe than sorry :)