Should I wash this embroidery?

I started an embroidery sampler so many years ago I’m embarrassed to say. My daughters were about 2 and now they are 28…
It’s one of those old-type Victorian samplers with lots of numbers and letters in cross stitch and a bottom panel of flowers in other stitches. It was a good way along and I finally got it out and have almost finished it, in time to frame it for Christmas.
The sampler and all the cotton came in a pack, American I think. It does have washing instructions. Although it doesn’t actually look dirty it must be quite filthy, after being taken in and out over the years. I know I could just leave it, but then maybe it would come out even better washed.
Do you think I should trust the washing instructions and go ahead and wash it? Or will years of work go down the drain?

I would wait to wash it until you finish the stitching. Sounds like some of my projects I have stashed away .

I would probably wash it when it’s done. A little swishy swishy in the sink would brighten it up and unless it seems really fragile I think it would be OK. Machine on delicate would probably be fine too (or whatever they told you in the instructions)

But framed embroidery etc does get icky looking with time, and oils in your hands from working on it contributes even if you can’t see them now. I have some old embroidery & cross-stitch that needs a wash again from hanging in my house & being framed for 20 years.

Congrats on finishing (because you will very soon!) (and post a pic pretty please!)

There are several products on the market that are acid-free and that’s what I’d recommend to preserve the fibers! Would love to see it, too!

I wash my cross-stitch projects when I’ve finished them, generally using woolite or a mild dish detergent. Wash and rinse in cool/cold water. You can wring your work dry by laying it on a towel and rolling it up. Then dry it flat. Iron on the backside. DO NOT MACHINE WASH. You could break the threads.

Also keep an eye out for colors that bleed - threads today tend to be more colorfast, but it can be a risk with older fibers.

If you frame it, please don’t let anyone convince you not to put glass over it. The glass will protect the fibers and help keep it clean. (Some idiot shop owner tried to tell my sister not to put glass over a piece with hanging strings of itty bitty beads, but to vacuum it from time to time. That’s a really good way to ruin the beadwork, if nothing else. Seriously, put glass over it, and have them use acid free materials (mat and stretcher board).)

I worked on a piece of cross stitch for over 5 years, and when I finally finished I was scared to death to wash it because I didn’t want all the colors to run. My mom suggested I have it drycleaned, and I started calling around to local drycleaners to find one who dealt with cross stitch and embroidery. They did a wonderful job on it and it still looks bright and beautiful every Christmas when I pull it out.