Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Taking care of silk sarees

My silk sarees have just been occupying the top shelf in my wardrobe. The last time I wore a saree was during the Diwali of 2008. All the expensive wedding silks just stay put up without much care and attention.
My mom always tells me to keep changing their folds, so that they last longer and so that the 'zari' does not wear off or tear along the folds. I used to do as told, but for the past year I have ignored them completely. It's not that I buy sarees all the time, I have not bought a single one since 3 years. I know I am not going to wear it so what's the point in investing in one.
Last night, out of nowhere I thought of them, and decided to do something about them ASAP.

So as soon as I woke up this morning, I pulled all of them out, and spread them out on the bed, and switched ON the fan, and tied up the curtains to allow some morning Sun to warm up the room.

But I kept thinking of other things I should do to preserve my sarees and I must confess right here right now that I love each one of them....and one day would love to see my daughter/bahu/niece wearing them.

Hmm so I must do something to make them last that are a few things/steps that I found through the Internet.

1. Store silks away from sunlight & heat.
2. When you buy a silk saree, do not keep it in the plastic bag for more than 3 days, the plastic traps moisture, and this can cause yellowing and mildew & ultimately damage the saree.
3. If your saree has a 'zari' border, it is best to attach a 'fall' to it. Here I would like to tell you one more thing regarding the fall. Use the same breadth of fall fabric as much as your saree border. Anything more than the border will cause the delicate fabric to bear all the weight and you will notice tiny holes there; besides it looks really ugly if your saree fall and border are of different breadths.
4. For the first 3 washes, use only plain cold water. In case of stains, use cleaning product only on the affected spot. (more on stain removal follows). Many people suggest adding salt to cold water for the first wash. And yes hand wash the silks please.
5. We can use soap-nut or 'reetha' and also 'shikakai' for washing of silks.
6. Wash the border, pallu and main body separately.
7. Never wash saree with other clothes, and keep it in water for minimum time possible.
8. Never beat the saree or wash roughly.
9. Dry the saree by rolling it in a towel and then hanging it on a padded hanger.
10. Iron on medium heat only. I have seen people iron their silks by placing them under another saree in order to avoid direct heat.
11. My dry cleaner in Mumbai once told me that we should dry-clean our silks just before it is time to wear them. Like just before Diwali or any wedding etc. He said, dry-cleaning after a function and then storing the saree without use only damages it. I follow this rule strictly.
12. Store the sarees in a dry and cool place and dust with Neem leaves. Moths love to live where natural fibers like silk are stored, so make sure the place is cleaned properly frequently. One can use cedar chips or balls to keep moths at bay.
13. Some silks like Raw silk, China silk, India silk, Crepe de Chine, Dupion and Jacquard silk are safe to be washed at home.
14. Covering silks in a cotton cloth/bag/lungee/dhoti allows the natural fiber to breath.

Stain removal for Silk sarees:

1. The moment you get a stain wash with cold water.
2. If the stain is of oil/ghee then sub some talcum powder over it. The powder will soak up all the oily stuff. Then wash with mild soap/shampoo and warm water.
3. Protein stains: these include stains caused by blood, deodorants, eggs, meat juices and sweating. For removing these stains, apply a mild detergent like a shampoo (Amway has some amazing products for delicate fabrics), wash off with cold water. If the stain is stubborn then try using a mixture of a few drops of NH2 with Hydrogen Peroxide.
4. Lipstick stains: use dry-cleaning fluids like petrol and then follow up with mild soap/shampoo and cold water.
5. Nail polish: rub the affected are with acetone on a ear bud.
6. Other stains: These include chocolate, gravy, ice-cream, milk etc. Use dry-cleaning products like petrol, then let it dry. Then use mild soap/shampoo/liquid soap and rinse with cold water. Later use a pre-wash stain remover and wash in warm water.


Mohan said...

Good list of Do's and Dont's :)

One more thing I would like to add. Don't ever use hangers to keep your silk sarees in wardrobes. Always use the cotton cloth wrapping and leave it on the shelf.

Thanks to my mom for the tips!

Smita said...

Some silks catch water stains so I am not sure how you can handwash..
I usually keep the Tide pencil to get rid of stains on clothes

Swati said...

post to be saved for life ..thanks

Jyoti said...

thanx a ton, great tips!!

Ankur Modi said...

It is really very difficult to take care of pure silk & cotton fabrics sarees. But with the help of this blog post anyone can easily take care of these silk sarees, cotton sarees for long time ........ thank for sharing this useful content !