A silk saree can be a purchase or a heirloom and yet this unstitched masterpiece is always a collector’s item. A silk saree is like a saving account. The more care you unleash on it the longer it will last and give happiness.
But why cancel out the precious moments of joy with constant worries about the care and upkeep of your saree.
Here are some really simple yet valuable tips on keeping your silks safe:
- Know the saree well
Know if your saree is a Kanjeevaram, a Banarasi, a Paithani, a Patola, a Mysore or even a raw silk saree. Every women saree has its uniqueness and it also showcases how woman and silk have a cosmic connection across the length and breadth of the country. Knowing the type of saree will help you understand if it can be washed at home or needs a visit to the laundry.
- Take care while draping and undraping a saree:
When wearing a saree ensure that you do not tear or cause unnecessary pin holes in them or step on them in heels to cause tear in the borders. When removing a saree ensure that you do not undrape and keep it folded. Leave it on a hanger to dry off any sweat or moisture before the next step. Do not dry under the direct sunlight. Once it is dry you can roll press or re-iron to store it safely in a muslin or cotton cloth to ensure protection of the material.
- How to wash silk clothes at home
You need patience and you can keep a saree for a lifetime. Always use plain cold water. Avoid hard water to avoid any harsh impact on the silk. Avoid using any kind of soaps, detergents, washing liquids on your silk saree for the first three washes. Never try to wring or twist a saree after washing or rinsing it. The saree will lose its flow and sheen if it gets a permanent wrinkle which cannot be rectified with ironing since it tends to reappear. Never machine-wash a silk saree, beat it or wash it on rocky or rough surface.
- Stain removal
Stains are a part of every silk sarees life and they can come from grease, tea, oil, coffee, gravy, makeup or nail paint. Prefer a dry clean if the piece is absolutely new and never washed. You can alternately clean or wash the stained portion with petrol and a soft bristled brush for hard and dark stains. Do not rub or brush harshly. Used silks can be washed with a protein shampoo to retain the quality and sheen of the material. Acetone can be used to remove nail paint stains but avoid any home based treatment of exclusive and very expensive sarees which need special care. Ghee, oil, butter stains can be removed by sprinkling and rubbing talcum powder on the stain and then washing it using a protein shampoo and warm water. Remember to use cleaning product only on the affected spot and hand wash the border, pallu and main saree body separately. Use the organic and ayurvedic soap-nut or ‘reetha’ and ‘shikakai’ for washing silks. Never wash silk sarees with other clothes and soak it in water for very little time as possible. The most important piece of advice would be to avoid keeping the stain on for long and dry clean it immediately to avoid any hardening and damage.
- How to dry wash silk sarees at home
Never dry your silk saree in direct sunlight since it can cause bleaching of the dyed colors. If washing at home drip dry your saree or use a cotton cloth or towel to roll it in and absorb the moisture. Ensure that you drip the saree by spreading it from end to end and not on a tap since it can fold the saree into half causing wrinkles.
- White Silks
Be careful when handling white silks since colored borders may bleed depending on the type of the saree if not handled correctly. Prefer a dry clean.
- How to iron Silk saree at Home
Use low heat iron and put the silk saree under a cotton cloth while ironing to avoid direct contact. Steam iron is the best option to iron and keep the saree safe and also get a crease free output.
- How to keep sarees in cupboard
Always keep silk away from other fabrics. Keep only silks together. Keep the silk in a muslin cloth or pure cotton cloth. Store silk sarees is cool dark and dry place. Since these are natural fibers which attract pests, protect them from cockroaches, moths, rats and other pests and also to avoid fading of the dyed colors. Hang them on hangars to keep them wrinkle free. Always ensure that you air your sarees under a fan or in soft sunlight during the early summers to ensure that they are dry long the folds. Unfolding and change folds to balance them out and the embroidery will not wear off or tear along the folds. Never brush a stored saree to avoid tears and loosening of woven silk threads. Never leave a saree bundled up to avoid damage to threads of the embroidery work. Separate each saree in a pile to prevent one saree from sticking to another when kept in a pile. Avoid storing sarees in printed or plastic covers as this may darken the embroidery. Also, if there are food stains never bundle the saree and keep it away since this can attract ants and cockroaches who can burrow through the materials leaving holes in it.
Dust the storage area with neem leaves or polish with neem oil, or use moth balls and cedar chips. Keep some cotton soaked in organic essential oil to keep the storage area smelling naturally pleasant.
- Using and reusing a silk saree
Once you own a silk saree use it as much as possible since it helps you enjoy the saree and also wearing it helps it keeping it clean, cared and safe from damage. Never store a silk saree in the purchased plastic bag as plastic can trap moisture and cause yellowing and mildew thus causing irreversible damage. Always attach a saree ‘fall’ to the border. Never spray perfumes directly to avoid darkening of the embroidery.
Remember these tips and keep your precious silks safe. All it needs is some patience and lots of love. These tips can apply to your blouses and all other silk garments.
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