After carefully selecting free printable cross stitch patterns and creating needlework projects you're proud of, properly caring for them will ensure you can enjoy them for many years. Stitchery may look clean, but skin oils from handling the fabric and floss need to be washed out. Those free printable cross stitch patterns won't be a bargain unless the work is properly washed to better preserve it. Washing will also remove any hoop marks and allow for reshaping and blocking. Test for color-fastness first by placing the needlework on a CLEAN, absorbent white towel, or blotting paper, and placing a drop of water on the different colors. A few seconds should be adequate to determine if the colors are fast. If your needlework fails this test, take it to a dry cleaner and have it dry cleaned.
If the needlework is colorfast, then proceed to soak it for five to seven minutes in lukewarm water with any non-abrasive, biodegradable, phosporus-free soap. (Anything mild enough for babies is safe.) Gently agitate, but do not wring or twist the needlework. Next, rinsing is very important. Do not leave any residues in the stitching. Rinse in repeated baths of cooler water. As soon as the water clouds from any soap or dirt, change it. Rinsing may require ten or more rinses. When your free printable cross stitch patterns projects are rinsed clean, lay the piece/s flat on the white towel. Gently block into shape and let dry. Ironing can damage your work; it is much better to pin it into shape and change the towel as it dries.
We've found some wonderful sites to help you find just the pattern you're looking for in our "Free Printable Cross Stitch Patterns Resources" section below. Also, there are more recommendations and good advice on our Free Counted Cross Stitch Patterns site. Check them both out!