How to Clean Crocheted Doilies


Deana asked:  I have some crocheted doilies that have discolored areas. I don’t know what the spots are from. They were stored in a box under the bed. I think they are 100% cotton crocheted thread. Most are white, and some are pink or white with colored trim. Any help would be much appreciated. Some were made by my grandmother, and I want to keep them as long as possible.

If your doilies are in good, strong shape, a regular hand washing with mild detergent should do the trick. If they’re really old or the threads are weak, try this smart solution for ultra-gentle cleaning that should remove spots without destroying your lace.

You Will Need:


  • Wide mouth, screw top jar
  • Detergent for delicate fabrics
  • Warm water
  • Clean white towel
  • Iron
  • Muslin

Steps to Remove the Spots:

  1. Fill the jar ¾ full of warm water.
  2. Add a small amount of detergent made for delicate fabrics, such as Woolite.
  3. Put the lid on the jar and shake it to mix the detergent with the water.
  4. Remove the lid, insert one doily and replace the lid.
  5. Wash the doily by rolling the jar around. The agitation will gently clean the doily without putting pressure on the cotton strands.
  6. When the doily is clean, remove it from the jar. Empty the jar, rinse it out and refill with clean water.
  7. Put the doily back in the jar, replace the lid, and repeat the agitation process to rinse.
  8. Take the doily out of the jar and lay it on a clean white towel. Roll it up, jelly roll style, with some pressure to help it dry.
  9. Wait a few hours or until the doily is almost dry. Unroll the cloth and cover the doily with muslin.
  10. Iron with a warm iron through the muslin to press the doily into shape.

Additional Tips and Advice

  • Treat stubborn stains before you dry the doily with a non-bleach cleaner, such as OxiClean. Avoid using harsh chemicals (like bleach) on delicate or aged fabrics, as it can damage or weaken the fabric beyond repair.


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