From getting your traditional garments cleaned and ironed to folding it in a proper manner and storing it away, the garment care for Indian wear is of prime importance to every woman.
Following is our insight into the different kind of fabrics of traditional wear, its stain management and overall care.
Chiffon, organza, tulle, cotton, velvet, raw silk, satin, net, georgette and chiffon are few of the popular fabrics that are used to make traditional outfits. Each of these fabrics has their own upkeep and maintenance that require extra attention. Cleaning is a process of its own as most of these fabrics are fragile and can easily tear. It is important that you enquire about the cleaning process of your outfit on its purchase. Knowledge of the fabrics and its care will only help you preserve your outfit!
Different Kinds of Traditional Wear Fabric and its Maintenance:
Organza, chiffon, tulle, raw silk, satin, net and georgette are all delicate fabrics and it is preferable to have outfits made out of these fabrics, dry cleaned. Cotton and velvet are sturdier than the fabrics mentioned previously and can be taken care of at home if one follows the care label instructions strictly. However, having your exclusive garments dry cleaned is the option most people choose for a reason – a professional service makes sure to maintain the integrity of your outfit while taking care of stain management effectively.
1. Garment Care for Zari:
After every 6 months take your zari sarees out of storage and let them stay in sunlight for a couple of hours. Store your sarees back properly once done. This helps maintain the original colour and shine of the outfit. While in storage, clothes are susceptible to fungus as well as a musty odour. This little exercise helps prevent this. Also remember to refold the saree in a different manner while storing it again. This prevents breakage and damage to the zari.
2. Garment Care for Silk:
Hanging your silk sarees on metal hangers are a big no-no. It is best to store these sarees or outfits in a cool, dry place where they are folded and covered in a cotton cloth. This is particularly important for silk sarees. Silica gel may be used to avoid humidity and prevent fungal growth on your sarees. To regain the lost shine of a silk saree, wash in one-fourth cup distilled white vinegar mixed in one gallon water. Make sure you rinse off the vinegar well, so as to not damage the fabric.
3. Garment Care for Heavily Embroidered Outfits:
Avoid hanging these kinds of garments on hangers as it may cause the embroidery to stretch and the fabric to tear. Also, make sure to fold them with the work side inside to prevent any tear or snag.
4. Garment Care for Organza:
Organza is further divided into two kinds of fabrics – Synthetic and Silk Organza. Synthetic organza is sturdier than silk organza and one can follow the simple care label instructions to get it cleaned. It is possible to iron it at home as well using the lowest temperature of your iron settings. Silk organza should preferably be hand washed. Fill a tub with cool water and add a gentle laundry detergent to it. Soak your garment in the tub and swish it around gently to get rid of stains. Drain the water from the rub and run your garment under cool water until you get rid of all the soap suds. Spread out a clean, dry towel and place your garment on it. Now gently roll the garment into a burrito, press down and unroll. Repeat this step with another dry towel. Let it air-dry. Once completely dry you may get rid of wrinkles by ironing it at the lowest temperature. These steps may be applicable to a dupatta or simply a section of your outfit as your whole garment may not be made of organza.
5. Garment Care for Tulle:
Tulle may be used in certain parts of your outfit and is a pretty delicate fabric. If you have minor stains then it is advisable to stick to spot cleaning. Use a mild stain remover for tulle. You can even make your own mild stain remover with 1 tablespoon of baking soda, four tablespoons of mild dish soap, and eight tablespoons of hydrogen peroxide. Combine the ingredients, pour into a jar, and allow it to sit overnight. Directly apply it to the stain and gently rub the stain with your fingers using cold water. Avoid using a sponge or a brush. Rinse with cool water once done. If you wish to clean the entirety of the tulle then place the fabric between two towels and submerge the towel sandwich in a basin of cold water that has mild detergent added to it. This prevents the tulle from being damaged. Soak for twenty minutes or less, rinse with cold water and let the tulle air dry.
6. Garment Care for Georgette:
Georgette is sturdier than tulle but it is preferable to hand wash it. Fill a basin will cool water and add a mild detergent to it. Let it soak for a while. Swish around the fabric gently, remove it from the water and squeeze it. Avoid wringing or stretching the fabric as it causes it to stretch. Rinse with cool water and squeeze again. Let it air dry by placing it flat on a dry rack. The steps mentioned here are suitable for chiffon as well. For stain removal of both fabrics, apply a mild liquid detergent to the stain and rub very gently with your fingers or a soft sponge. Avoid using a brush.
7. Garment Care for Velvet:
Before hand washing velvet, turn the item inside out so that you’re handling the flat side. Use a small amount —no more than a teaspoon—of liquid laundry detergent designed for delicates with cool water. Press soapy water through, then rinse thoroughly. Hang or lay flat to dry. When machine washing velvet, wash the garment alone or with a light load to prevent too much agitation. Use cool or cold water settings. Avoid bleach and fabric softeners which can ruin its delicate nap. Remove promptly once cycle has finished. Hang or lay flat to dry.
It is inevitable that you will sweat or maybe even accidentally drop food on your favourite traditional outfit. In order to avoid permanent staining it is advisable to have the stains removed immediately. If you keep your outfit as it is after having sweated in it, yellowish brown stains will develop in the arm pit areas for sure. If you stain your saree, wash it with cold running water. If required, use a mild body soap on it. In case the stain is oily, use talcum powder or glycerine to dry the stain first before you wash it. For stain removal check your care label instructions very carefully as the delicate fabrics of your outfit are easily damaged. Sending your outfit to a trusted dry cleaner also ensures absolute fabric care.
Preservation and Storage for your Indian Garment Wear:
- Metal buttons and zippers may leave rust stains. It is advisable to remove these and store them in a polyethylene zip-lock bag.
- Avoid using air tight containers such as sealed boxes or bags. This causes atmospheric damage to clothes.
- Maintain temperature and humidity control. Attics and basements aren’t good choices because fluctuating humidity/temperature will cause the fabric to expand and contract introducing wear and breakage, especially at folds and creases.
- While folding your garments, place a plain paper between the folds as it can damage the embroidery.
- Keep your expensive traditional dress away from harsh sunlight: Harsh light can cause discolouration of the fabric.
- Moisture is sure to damage the delicate fabric of your dress. To prevent it, place the dress in a transparent cellophane pouch or a bag. Ask your shopkeeper to give you extra bags when you buy your outfit.
- Hang the blouse and dupatta! Keep the blouse and the dupatta of your lehenga in the same way or you can also hang them if you do not want to fold it. Use the loops of the outfit to hang it, instead of hanging the dress by the shoulder straps.
- Don’t forget to pull out your lehenga or outfit every 6 months and air it out!