Ask any traditional Indian woman about her most precious possessions in life, and without a doubt, she’ll point towards her closet, filled with beautiful sarees, each of which has a story of its own. While some would bring back the scent of her mother and a lovely childhood, others would be proud survivors that have been handed down from one generation to the next. Some have the touch of someone special, while some remind her of amazing friends and family. Every fall, every drape and every rustle of this beautiful garment has tales to tell. And with the wedding season here, it’s time to flaunt those beauties like never before. But wait! Did you just spot a nasty stain on that Kanjeevaram? Don’t hit the panic button yet. Here is a guide to care for your priceless heirlooms:
1. Silk sarees
The reigning queens of our saree collection, silk sarees range from traditional heavy wear like Kanjeevarams to modern designer ones. However, there is one rule for them all —- dry clean them at all costs to prevent damage to the delicate fabric. Wrap them up separately in muslin cloth and store them in a dark cool corner of your cupboard. In case, you are hand washing them, do not use a brush at all. If there is a bad stain, do not think twice and pack it off to the cleaners.
2. Chiffon and georgette sarees
Chiffon and georgette sarees should be handled extremely carefully as they get torn without a moment’s notice. Do not wrap them up too tight or pin them up with too many safety pins, as they are virtually non-stretchable and will tear, if stretched beyond a point. Keep refolding them to prevent them from tearing at the folds.
3. Tissue, net and organza sarees
These sarees form the bulk of today’s saree collections. Light and breezy, they look absolutely gorgeous on anyone who wears them. However, these sarees tear very easily and maintaining them is pretty much a woman’s worst nightmare. Machine washing would be absolutely criminal, as you would literally end up in rags. So, the dry cleaners it is! Don’t hang them up for too long and keep refolding them at regular intervals to prevent loss in shape. These babies definitely are high maintenance!
4. Cotton sarees
The easiest of them all, the maintenance of cotton sarees is comparatively more straightforward than the rest. You can easily hand wash them at home, dry them under a shade to prevent fading and you are sorted. However, if you have dicey colours like black and navy blue, wash them separately as they tend to bleed. Starch your cotton sarees for that crisp and smart look that makes you go crazy about them.
5. Satin sarees
Satin sarees, though lovely to wear, are definitely high maintenance. These cannot come in contact with water at all, as water will leave a stain. So, pack them off to the dry cleaners for a good clean up.
6. Pre-stitched half sarees and lehenga sarees
A rage with women today, these sarees are usually stitched to custom shapes and sizes. Hence, they should not be left hanging for long or bundled away as that will make them lose their shape. Dry cleaning is an absolute must for these, as machine or hand wash might tear the net fabric and embellishments.
Here are a few more quickies that will keep you on the safe side with a saree:
1. The first wash
The first time you wash any saree, don’t forget saltwater. It helps lock those truant colours in, preventing them from leaching into another fabric and fading. Also, wash the saree in cold water 2-3 times before dousing them in detergent.
2. Detergent Dilemma
Most commercially available detergents are saturated with chemicals that are extremely harsh to the delicate fabric threads. Chemical wear and tear frays the threads making sarees very susceptible to tearing at the slightest notice. Use a non-chemical, preferably organic detergent to solve this issue and you are good to go.
3. Machine Monster
Bundling a saree into a washing machine is the worst thing you could possibly do to it. Machine washing is a rough process and is a strict no-no for sarees. So, show some love and hand wash your saree. Dry cleaning is also a great option.
Always put the saree between two pieces of cloth when you iron it. This will prevent any accidental burns and give you a crisp, creaseless drape.
5. Bug protection
Silks and cottons stored over a long time tend to get attacked by bugs. During storage, use naphthalene balls generously to keep those sneaky bugs away, and store each saree in a separate packet or saree bag for a long and healthy life.
So, follow these simple tips and keep your precious sarees young and healthy forever.