Handloom silk sarees are the most prized possessions in any Indian woman’s closet. Extensively shopped and exclusively handpicked especially during weddings and festivals, and Indian woman’s trousseau is incomplete without these nuggets. But while she loves to go on accumulating these treasures pretty much like her precious jewelry collectibles, their maintenance is the toughest challenge. Silk sarees are often considered very high maintenance, but few simple tips to be followed and they can last for decades without losing their sheen.
Tips to preserve silk sarees.
- Always refold silk sarees every 3 to 6 months to avoid tear at the folds of the saree.
- Silk sarees should be kept in a dry and cold place covered in muslin cloth to let the natural silk fibres breathe and should be aired often.
- They should carefully be folded in such a way as to avoid damage to the zari.The zari should be faced inwards to preserve the sheen.
- As most times these sarees are worn for special occasions and only for 2 to 3 hrs at a time, there is no need to wash it after every use. Just airing it inside the house will do.
- Ideally silk sarees should be dry cleaned only.If one wants to wash it at home, once should always do so by using mild shampoo. The body, pallu, and border has to be washed separately.
- Take care to avoid stains. Avoid spraying with water while ironing, as it could leave stains.
- While ironing, keep the iron in medium or low heat.
- It is recommended to iron the sari between two pieces of white cloth. It is not recommended to wet the sari prior to ironing or to use a steam iron.
- The backside of Zari sarees often gets entangled in jewelry. A fine net backing stitched onto the back can take care of this problem.
- Store the Sari in a cool dry place. Do not store silks with zari/metal yarns in plastics, plastics react with and turn the zari dark. Zari will also oxidise if in contact with humid air, they are best protected in cotton lined boxes or covers.
- Wiping the surface with a clean damp cloth is a quick way to brighten up the silver or gold zari.
- Warn the dry cleaner to wrap the saree in acid-free tissue paper after it’s been cleaned.
- For long-time storage, silk should be sealed against light, air and insects, storing the silk rolled on a cardboard pipe will prevent creases and hence also prevent the silk from getting cut due to cracking.
Wash and Care
If you choose to wash your silk sari at home please wash a very small corner of the sari as a test for fabric and colours running (must be done for all colours on the same sari independently). After washing, one should roll it in a white towel to remove the excess moisture, and then hang dry on a padded hanger.
- Do not wash with a detergent in the beginning.
- Use a mild detergent after two or three plain washes. Do not keep the sari soaked in detergent for long.
- Do not brush or lash a Silk Saree. This would lead to tearing of the silk or zari.
- Wash (Pallu) Mundi and Border separately in the beginning.
- Do not bundle it or keep it wet for a long time.
- In case of stains, wash with cold water immediately.
- For hard stains, get the Sari Dry Cleaned.
- Do not bundle the wet sari along with other garments liable to cause staining.
- Chlorine bleach should never be used on silk as it damages the silk and causes it to yellow.
Techniques to remove Stain
Stained silk sarees should be dry-cleaned as soon as possible. Dyes and sizing’s tend to discolour with moisture. Therefore attempting to remove stains with water is not recommended without first testing the silk for colorfastness. It is difficult to remove a concentrated food or beverage stain. Scrubbing or pressing could ruin the fabric.
- Grease Stains: stains caused by oils, butter, margarine, crayon, medicines and oil-based cosmetics. Dabbing on talc immediately will lift the stain. After brushing off the talc, a stain remover can be applied and the silk fabric should then be washed in lukewarm water.
- Nail Polish Stain: This can to be treated by rubbing acetone on the area.
- Lipstick Stains: First use Dry-cleaning fluids and then washing in soap water used to remove lipstick stains.
- Protein Stains: These stains include blood, deodorant, egg, meat juices and perspiration. To clear such stains, first apply detergent to the garment. Then it should be soaked in cool water and laundered. In case of persistent stains, try rubbing a mixture with few drops of Nh2 with hydrogen peroxide.
- Combination Stains: These stains include chocolate, gravy, ice cream and milk. First a dry-clean solvent should be applied and then dried. The protein part of the stain supplement can be removed by applying liquid detergent and rinsing with cool water. Then after using a prewash stain remover, wash silk fabric in lukewarm water.