How to clean a dreamcatcher
Physically cleaning your dreamcatcher
If you dust it with a feather duster at least once a week, you can preserve it much longer.
The most effective way I've found of cleaning ones that have already collected dust and become dingy, is to use a rag that is not fuzzy (something like an old T-shirt rag) and very gently dust it, webbing and hoop every few weeks.
For one that has collected dust beyond simple dusting, this is what I do.
Webbing can be cleaned GENTLY by using a soft lifter cloth. If it becomes very dirty, you can use a cloth that has MILD detergent (dish soap) and is barely damp. Caution! If you have a dream catcher with a wrapped hoop and the wrapping gets wet, it will show water marks! That has not stopped me from cleaning them, only taught me to be VERY careful, and to GENTLY dab the entire hoop, not just one spot. I do NOT recommend cleaning the actual wrapping of the hoops, since they are prone to unwrap themselves. If you have one the wrapping has begun to come off on - get some crafters tacky glue and carefully glue it back down. You may have to hold it for a few minutes to ensure it stays together. If any glue seeps out past the edges, wait until the glue is dry, then carefully peal it from the edge. Natural wood hoops may be cleaned using the same method. Remember, you don't want to soak them - just very gently pat / rub the dust from them with a damp soapy cloth.
String / Thread Webbing:
These webs tend to grow loose and sag over time. I met a woman who makes and sells this style. She advised me you can use starch to firm them back up. I would recommend laying the dream catcher flat on something like waxed paper to try this, allowing it to dry fully prior to moving it. Starch is likely to leave spots on the hoop, so use caution to protect it!
Jewelry: It is important to know if it is pure base metal (gold or silver) or plated, or nickel or copper based. If you are not certain, use the methods for nickel based. Jewelry dip is a wondrous thing. Regardless of what the packaging says, it does cause erosion that becomes obvious over a period of time on plated metals. Metal polish (silver / brass) will strip metal coatings as well!
Try using warm water, a bit of soap on your fingers and softly washing the piece - then pat dry with a towel. You must be very gentle and you must be certain to totally dry the piece.
Cleaning out 'old dreams'
Sometimes people ask if they can 'clean' the old dreams out. While it is most frequently children that wish this done, times of no dreaming, or intense dreaming, often will inspire people to want to 'cleanse' them.
Smudging, is a traditional native cleansing / purifying ceremony. It is done by burning a herb (sacred), fanning the smoke over / across the object (or person) and allowing the smoke to carry away negativity. The most traditional native herbs uses are sweet grass (to invoke good spirits), cedar and sage (to keep negative spirits away). Individuals not feeling comfortable with the traditional native herbs can also effectively used things such as frankincense and / or myrrh.
Breeze / Sunshine is another method used. Place the dream catcher in a window where sunshine and / or breeze can reach it. After it has been there a day or so, return it to its normal place. As a word of caution - some of the wraps will fade when exposed to direct sunlight for any length of time, depending on the dyes used.
The most popular legend states the 'bad dreams' will perish when the light of day touches the webbing of the dream catcher...
Another method is to do one of the above, and then to hang it in a different spot. Alternate which side of the bed it hangs on. Or even take it down for a few days and then re-hang it.