We all love our silks . But many of us are apprehensive about buying silks because we believe that they are difficult to take care of and maintain. And many of us who do own silks are well aware of the fact. They can be difficult to store as well especially mulberry silks . And the stain removal is another nightmare all together !
So , lets be clear about one thing here . Silk is special . It is not advisable to just throw your silks among all your polyesters and cottons. It is a special textile , hence one needs to treat it with respect too. And they are very expensive and so we should make an effort to take proper care of these precious textiles.
But before I tell you how to take care of silks , you should also know about few of its properties.
So , there are two ways to take care of your Silks . First you need to store them properly . Secondly , you need to know how to clean your silks . And lastly , if by any chance , you happen to stain it , how to remove it ..
Avoid the last Step as much as possible because no matter what type of stain is , it is difficult to remove stains from any material .
1. Care of Silks - How to Store Your Silks ...
. Store your silks clean and avoid wrinkles . If your silk is dirty or has stains , laundry it or dry clean before storage.
. Protect from insects , dust ,excessive moisture and light .
. Avoid direct contact with wood ; instead use cotton bags . Do not keep more than 2-3 saris per bag even if it has ample space . If the bag has space for only 1 , than keep only 1 per bag. Avoid compression . Meaning , do not pile up too many saris in one compartment .
. Periodically expose your silks to fresh air and sunlight . Not under harsh or direct sunlight but expose them to sunlight .
. Keep silica gel sachets in storage racks.
. But note that weighted silk deteriorates even under good storage conditions and especially likely to break at folds.
2 . Wash Care of Silks - Points to keep in mind
. One can wash silks . Traditionally silks particularly the wild varieties i.e Tassar Silk . Muga Silk , Eri Silk have always been washed with natural herbs or soaps. The reason behind these was that most of the woven garments of these silks were woven in their natural colours like golden or cream . But nowadays , Dry Cleaning is recommended due to yarn structure and most importantly because of poor to moderate washing of the dyes . Also , there could be a lot of value additions like embroidery or block printing that will be better preserved with less exposure to water .
. So , if you do decide to wash your silks , the two most important points to keep in minds are - Avoid harsh handling of silks and do not squeeze or wring at all .
. For water extraction - put your silks on an inclined surface or use a electric hydro extractor.
. Use mild detergent solution and gentle agitation is required and use a good neutral soap or liquid solution .
. Always use soft water . Add a pinch of Borax or Ammonia if water is hard.
. Water to liquor ratio should be 1:20 or 1:30 .
. Use luke warm water to wash and rinse 2-3 times to remove soap . Use a few drops of citric acid to the final rinse with cold water.
. Silk is sensitive to strong soap , alkalis and high temperature and gets damaged . It will shrink with strong alkali and acids.
. Chlorine bleaches should be totally avoided. But Hydrogen Peroxide and Sodium Perborate are safe to use under careful treatment conditions.
. Silk textiles may water spot easily so care should be taken to avoid this problem.
3 . Things to keep in mind for drying & Ironing - Care of Silks
. Do not suspend the clothes for drying . Flat Drying on a plain clean surface is advised .
. Horizontal spread of saris / fabrics under shade is ideal for drying of silk .
. Some silks like Crepe , Chiffon and georgette may shrink due to wet conditions. Dry them by hanging them horizontally ( Lengthwise ) with mild stress to regain its original conditions.
. Pressing - Mulberry Silk should be pressed after wash under damp conditions with a press cloth .
. Wild varieties should be dry cleaned and ironed dry to retain the sericin.
Please keep in mind that even after taking extreme care , your silks may degrade due to the climatic conditions of the region where you stay
4. Stain Removal
. Stains can be very difficult to remove from silks . So , one needs to be careful while using silks . If you manage to stain your fabric / sari - remove them immediately or as soon as possible.
. The ease of removal depends upon the nature of the material that caused the stain .
. The stain removal methods depends upon the type of stain and type of stain remover and also on the type of fabric. Hence we will cover this point separately in another blog .
The most important point to remember while using silks and in its care is this that it is expensive, exclusive and tender . It is also made out of living beings .At least most of the silks are . So treat it with the respect it deserves.
Also read our other blogs on silks .
Muga Silk - Learn about this fabulous golden silk from Assam , India .