If you go around India and ask any woman what she holds dear to her heart, there is a high chance she will show you her closet that is full of sarees – when you investigate the cause, you will understand why. Each saree she has bears its own story and tells its own history, whether it was a newly bought gift from her female relatives or a family heirloom.
It is usual for a woman to spend a lot of money on sarees, and they are considered a precious part of her life. Because you spend so much money buying them, it is only fair that you spend as much effort taking care of them, isn’t it? here are some tips to help you maintain their lustre and shine for many years to come, and even give them as a gift to your friends or future generations.
There are numerous silk types that range from the Kanjivaram saree to Mysore silk and Patola, as well as modern silk types. Whatever the case though, there is one rule that unites them all – never hand wash them, instead dry-clean them. This is because the fabric is delicate and needs extra care to prevent it from tearing, fraying, or losing its sheen.
After this, wrap them separately using muslin cloth (this prevents the trapping of moisture that can cause fungal growth) and store them in a dark corner of your wardrobe at cool temperatures. If you cannot dry clean them for some reason and you have to hand wash them, then never use a brush – regardless of the kind of stains it has.
Another thing to note: after every six months, remove the saree from the closet, and allow them to stay in mild sunshine for a few hours. After this, re-wrap them in the muslin cloth and store them. This ensures they maintain their shine and colour, while also removing any moisture that may have accumulated or any smells. In addition, change the fold of the saree when returning them, as this will ensure the zari does not break or lead to permanent creases on the fabric.
For silk sarees, it is very important to never store them on metal hangers, and use silica gel to keep off any humidity.
Georgette and chiffon
Like silk sarees, these must go through very careful handling because they can easily become torn without you realizing it. For instance, avoid using too many safety pins to pin them up as well as wrapping them too tightly, since they tend to be non-stretchable and can tear. Instead, always re-fold them to prevent unnecessary stretching.
Organza, tissue and net sarees
Today, these form the largest saree collections and are considered as modern upgrades of the traditional silk and cotton. They look beautiful on anyone regardless of the body type, as they are lightweight and breathable.
They have a drawback though – they tend to be a nightmare to maintain, because of their delicate nature. That also means that they tear very easily, especially at the seams. For that reason, using a washing machine on them is probably the worst choice you can make – the drycleaners are a better choice.
In addition, avoid hanging them for long periods, and always refold them at certain time intervals to prevent their loss of shape.
Unlike most saree types on this list, cotton ones are relatively easy to maintain and the process is more straightforward. The strength of the material allows you to hand wash it at home and dry them under a shade. However, there are certain things you must do to ensure they last for as long as possible. These include:
- If the saree has stains, the best solution is dry cleaning, although you can still use white petrol to remove the stain. On that note, never use brushes that have hard bristles to remove the stain – you are only going to create tears.
- You can wash any cotton saree using a mild detergent. Avoid harsh chemicals, as these have higher chances of tearing the saree and damaging the fabric.
- One major problem that cotton has is colour leaks. If you have sarees in darker colours such as navy blue or black, it is therefore better to wash them separately.
- In addition, never hang cotton sarees in direct sunlight – otherwise, the colour will fade. Always use open spaces that are shaded, and make sure they are windy to help in adequate drying.
- Always use medium heat settings when ironing your saree. Never go too hot, or else the fabric will burn.
Satin is like silk, and should be handled in a similar way. It is definitely high maintenance and cannot come into contact with water – water will just leave stains. When they need cleaning, pack them to the dry cleaners. In addition, you must store them in a cool place away from any sunlight, as exposure to light or heat can damage the fibers permanently.
If you need extra tips on caring for your sarees, especially regarding some grey areas, here are some of them:
- Washing the saree for the first time: regardless of the material you are handling, it might be tricky to begin washing it. the trick is never forgetting saltwater, especially because you are not sure if the colours are running ones. It is also useful to wash the saree two or three times in cold water before using detergent on them.
- Detergents: many commercial detergents contain chemicals that are very harsh on saree threads, so it is better to use organic detergents.
- Washing machines: putting a saree into a washing machine is probably the worst choice you can ever make. It is either you hand wash, or take it to the dry cleaners.
- Ironing: place the saree between two pieces of cloth when ironing, to stop any accidental burns.
- Insects: use naphthalene balls throughout your closet to keep insects away and ensure the fabrics are safe.
Taking care of sarees is not easy – but it is necessary for their long life. These steps will help you keep them for longer and maintain their beauty.