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Don’t take antique clothing to a regu­lar dry cleaner. The chemicals dry cleaners use are too harsh, and their pressing techniques stress the fabric too much. If you really need pro­fessional help, find a dry cleaner that spe­cializes in old fabrics.

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1. The safest way to clean fragile garments
1. The safest way to clean fragile garments
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The safest way to clean fragile garments is to give them a sponge bath.

But before you start, fix any tears in the fabric-otherwise, the stress of cleaning will make matters worse.

Then mix a squirt of mild detergent in 1 gallon (3.8 ml) of lukewarm water and dab the solution on gently with a sponge.

Rinse by sponging on clean water.

Try not to completely soak the garment.

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