Cleaning your stocking depends a great deal on several factors:

  • How badly it needs cleaning
  • The type of fabric it’s made from
  • How many and what sorts of embellishments it has

Generally speaking, if your stocking does not need cleaning, don’t. If, however, you’ve literally hung it on or near a chimney and it’s got a smoke smell to it, cleaning is probably a good idea.

Make sure the stocking is empty before you decide to clean it!

Most stockings can be hand-washed in cool water with mild detergent. Make sure the detergent is color-fast, and never use bleach!  Rub the material gently under the water. Take care not to submerge a stocking with glitter or other similar adornments.

After cleansing, rinse the stocking, running it under warm water two or three times. Gently squeeze out the excess water. Try not to twist or wring excessively, as this could cause the stocking to become misshapen.

NOTE: If after washing, your stocking still has a smoke smell, try using one cup of baking soda, ¼ cup of ammonia, and a half cup of vinegar in a sinkful of water instead of detergent.

Lay your stocking flat on a clean surface to dry (do not tumble in your dryer). Be sure to fluff it and reshape it if the stocking has gotten pulled during the washing process. Let it air dry over night. Do not use any type of heat, as heat could cause the stocking to shrink.

Dry-cleaning may be a better option if your stocking is highly decorated – and you know the material it’s made from will withstand the process.

Sample of acid-free tissue for storing textiles like Christmas stockings

Sample of acid-free tissue for storing textiles like Christmas stockings


Your stockings will last a lot longer if properly stored. It’s always best to store textile materials in acid-free containers, which are available at most craft stores. You should store your stockings flat, wrapped in several layers of acid-free tissue paper and away from sunlight. You may want to designate a specific container for your Christmas stockings. Put extra tissue paper between each tissue-wrapped stocking to protect any baubles, beads, or decorations.