But if you cannot have your saree dry cleaned, then you must take matters into your own hands, literally. Follow these expert tips to care for your handloom sarees and avoid inadvertent laundry mistakes that may damage them permanently.
How to wash a handloom saree:
- Before washing your sarees with soap, keep them soaked in salt water for some time.
- But do not keep them soaked in water overnight, or even for longer duration as it may lead to discoloration
- After soaking, rinse with cold water 2-3 times before proceeding to wash with a detergent
- Invest in good quality, mild detergents from reputed brands to hand wash your sarees. Never use dyes, bleach, harsh stain removers on delicate fabrics.
- Don’t let the soap stay on the garment for long. Wash it off quickly
- Try not to bundle up the saree when washing it because it may lead to creasing of the fabric
- Do not use a brush, even for stains, as it can easily tear the fabric
- Always use cold water. Remember, handloom sarees are very delicate so NEVER use hot water to wash your sarees.
- Never wash your expensive handloom sarees in a washing machine.
How to remove stain from a handloom saree:
- In the event of an accidental staining, your sarees require immediate attention.
- If it’s an oily stain, say from food, sprinkle talcum powder on it and wait till it soaks in the oiliness. Then rub it gently and wash it off.
- For beverages or gravy stains, dip a cotton ball in pure petrol and wipe it off
- For tougher stains, it is advisable to take it to a dry cleaner for a more professional wash
How to dry a handloom saree after wash:
Drying a handloom saree post wash takes time and patience.
- Avoid direct sunlight when drying a saree as it might lead to fabric discoloration. Dry it in partial shade
- Never wring it to squeeze out the water to avoid permanent creases
- Wrap the saree in clean, absorbent, light coloured tissues/towels and press it gently
- Spread it out flat on a neutral surface to dry. Avoid painted surfaces, window sills, fences or rusty clothes racks as they may stain the fabric
- Always dry your saree separately. Garments with bleeding colors may damage the fabric.
How to iron a handloom saree:
- Always press your sarees keeping the iron in medium to low heat
- Never spray water on it before ironing as it may leave permanent marks on the fabric
- Always keep the garment on an ironing board or a cotton cloth before pressing to avoid creases
How to store a handloom saree:
Preserving a handloom saree depends a lot on how you store it.
- Always ensure your saree is absolutely dry before storage as moisture can damage the fabric
- Always keep the saree wrapped in Muslin cloth or pure cotton which lets the air to pass through but protects the saree from moisture.
- Store the saree in a dark and dry place to avoid eventual fading of the fabric
- Store it in a vertical, hanging position in your cupboard but refrain from using metal hangers as they can leave rust stains on the fabric
- Keep it away from your regular clothes, preferably in a long-term storage spot since it’s for special occasions and regular handling can leave unwanted spots on it
- Keep neem leaves in between the saree folds to preserve them from pests
- From time to time, change the saree folds to avoid creases that can wear and tear the fabric
Best practices to Preserve A Saree:
- Never apply perfumes, deodorants or other types of sprays directly on your handloom sarees
- Don’t put naphthalene balls/other artificial insect repellents in direct contact with these sarees
- Avoid washing them too frequently as they tend to lose their sheen from over-wash. Instead dry them well after every wear and wear a few more times before washing
- Avoid doing your makeup after wearing your sarees as makeup stains are very difficult to remove
- If you sweat a lot, it may leave stains in your sarees. To avoid this, always wear sweat absorbing pads under your blouses.
- It’s always a good idea to consult the saree seller about the best ways to care for your handloom sarees
- If you notice a flaw/tear/loose embellishment, immediately get it fixed professionally
Do you have expert tip to share with us on how to care for your sarees?