Arts & Crafts Magazine

Silk & Sequins: Taking Care of Delicate Sarees

By Subha Bose
Taking Care of Delicate Sarees

Vibrant, colorful, and intricate sarees are absolutely stunning, but how do you keep them looking fantastic after parties, big events, and festivals? Many women opt to hand wash their sarees for fear of ruining them in the washing machine, but you needn’t worry! In fact, even some of the most delicate of sarees can be popped in the washer with your usual load, as long as you follow some useful laundry tips! Here we’ll take a look at some of the more fragile materials and designs, and how best to wash them:
Silk & Sequins: Taking Care of Delicate SareesBandhani Sarees
Bandhani sarees are beautiful, but the concept of tie-dyeing the fabric means it’s a very real possibility that the colors could run – not only from the garment, but into each other, creating a less-than-fabulous look. There are two techniques you can use, however, to keep your bandhani sarees looking amazing. Firstly, turn the saree inside out. This won’t stop colors running completely, but it will help. Secondly, before putting your saree into the washing machine, pop it in a bowl of cold water with a few pinches of salt (the regular kind from your kitchen) and leave to soak for about 30 minutes. The chloride essentially seals the color in, making them much less likely to run during the wash cycle.

Silk & Sequins: Taking Care of Delicate Sarees Mashru Sarees

If you own a Mashru saree, then you really have the best of both worlds. Made of a cotton and silk blend, Mashru sarees look spectacular thanks to the shimmery nature of the silk, but the cotton element means that they are much easier to wash than pure silk sarees. Wash in the machine on a gentle cycle with a warm, not hot, water temperature (30 degrees max) and reshape as soon as it comes out of the washer. It’s best to dry Mashru sarees flat as hanging them whilst wet can cause them to stretch. Unfortunately, drying flat can cause a few creases to pop up, but these aren’t a problem. Once dry, hang your saree in the bathroom and run the hot water for a few minutes to create a bit of steam. The creases in your saree will just fall out!

Silk & Sequins: Taking Care of Delicate Sarees
Muga Sarees / Assam Silk Sarees

Is there anything better than a Muga silk saree? Probably not! This somewhat rare yet stunningly beautiful material makes up some of the most intricate and expensive sarees in India. In fact, Muga silk is almost as costly as gold, so when it comes to washing it, you’ll want to be very careful. There have been stories of women who claim never to have washed their Muga sarees for fear of ruining them, but here’s a secret – gentle washing can actually increase the sparkle and shine of the silk! Yes, really! Being such a delicate and costly fabric, hand washing is recommended, but you don’t need any special products. Just be sure to use a very mild and gentle detergent, massage the saree softly in warm water, and allow to air dry.

Taking Care of Delicate Sarees

Beaded Sarees

Any sort of bead or sequin work on a saree adds to its sparkle, gives a long-lasting impression, and really feels great to wear, but washing it can be a nerve-wracking experience, especially if the saree has been passed down through generations. Many choose to hand wash their beaded sarees to try and prevent the jewels from becoming loose and falling off, but there’s actually a much easier way – use your washing machine! When you next visit the grocery store, keep a look out for washer bags. These are made of netting or mesh and come in a range of different sizes to suit different garments. You can pop your saree into the bag, and put the bag in the washing machine on a gentle spin cycle. The holes in the netting allow for water and detergent to penetrate the saree, but it prevents the material from rubbing against the sides of the drum, protecting it from damage.
Don’t fear laundry day! Sarees may well be delicate, but newer washing machines are more than capable of creating a gentle environment that mimics that of hand washing. When you DO need to hand wash (when washing Muga sarees, for example), don’t be tempted to buy any special or expensive products – a gentle laundry detergent from the grocery store will work just fine!
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