Protecting your silk in summer

Here’s how you can protect your precious silk saris this summer...

Silk saris do not need to be washed frequently but they could be dry-cleaned after four to five times of use.

What a lovely time of the year! Don’t we all just love the weather before summer starts? Beautiful sunlight and light wind! This is also the best time to wear cotton saris. The weather demands clothing which is airy and comfortable, this means it’s the right time for you to store away your silk sari collection and say hello to cotton saris! But, as you know, silk saris need a lot of protection while storing them for a long period of time. Otherwise, it’s tough to maintain your precious silk saris and their enviable sheen.

Here are some simple tips to protect your expensive silk saris in the summer season:

Dry-clean only (no starch, please): Handwashing silk  (especially your expensive Banarasis or Kanjivarams) will completely ruin their fall and sheen. Silk saris do not need to be washed frequently but they could be dry-cleaned after four to five times of use. In case you stain your sari with food, drink or any other thing, quickly splash/dab it with plain water to remove the stain and immediately give it to the dry-cleaners.

Refold saris periodically: Once in two weeks or so, take your silk saris out of the trunk/cupboard and let them hang for a few hours before refolding and storing them back. This prevents fading and creasing along the original folds of the sari.

Store them only with other silk saris: They should not be kept with saris of other material. Always store them separately.

Store them wrapped in a pure cotton cloth bag: By doing this, you’ll make sure your silk saris breathe during the period they are stored away inside. Dampness will spoil the drape and fall of silk. Also, make sure that each sari is kept in a separate cloth bag/cover so that they are not in contact with each other and damage the fabric or zari.

Avoid sunlight: Always store silk saris in a cool, dark place away from sunlight. This will prevent any discolouration of silk saris.

Use natural precautions: Using chemical mothballs may not be a good option to use while storing silk saris, as they might get stained if kept in direct contact. Over time, your saris may smell of mothballs. Instead, use neem leaves and camphor. Put them in a packet and place it in the corners of the shelf. This will create a pleasant fragrance.

Restore the lost shine in silk sari: Whether the silk saris are washed carefully at home or are dry-cleaned, there is often the possibility that the sari may lose its shine during the wash. Here are some simple steps to follow that can restore some of the lost shine in your silk saris: Make a dilute solution of distilled white vinegar and lukewarm water in a clean bucket. Use one tablespoon of vinegar for every litre of water. Soak the sari thoroughly in the vinegar solution for 3-5 minutes. Remove the sari from the solution and rinse it thoroughly in cold, running water. Make sure that all of the vinegar and its smell are washed off. Squeeze the sari gently without twisting or wringing. Now dry the sari by wrapping it in a large, fully towel and fold the sari to fit it along the length of the towel. Gentle roll and press the towel to remove excess water. Remove the sari from the towel and hang it to dry. Don’t hang it in direct sunlight, as it may cause some discolouration. Silk saris dry very quickly and once they dry, the lost sheen is restored. If the sari needs ironing, then don’t wait for it to dry completely. Iron it when it is still a bit damp, iron it on the inside or using the silk setting on the iron. It is always advisable to spot test a small, hidden area of the before ironing it completely.

Caution: Never use a machine dryer to dry a silk sari because the intense heat from the dryer can ruin the silk irreversibly.

(The author is co-founder, Avishya)

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