How to Handle Embroidery Sarees
Dry-Cleaning is Preferable
°  Generally Sarees should be dry-cleaned. In hand washing, the consistency of the sarees may be altered, depending on the finishing treatment used to give it sheen and the colour may run. Chlorine bleach damages saree and causes it to yellow.

Washing Sarees
°  Certain pre-wash techniques have made certain washable. After washing, one should roll in a towel to remove the excess moisture, and then hang on to dry on a padded hanger.

Removing certain types of stains:
°  Protein stains:
  • These stains are usually caused by blood, deodorant, egg, meat juices and perspiration. To clear such stains, first detergent should be applied to the stain on garment. Then it should be soaked in cool water and washed. In case of persistent stains, rubbing a mixture of few drops of ammonia with hydrogen peroxide should be tried.
°  Combination stains
  • These stains are usually caused by chocolates, gravy, ice-cream and milk. First a dry-clean solvent should be applied and then dried. The protein part of the stain supplement can be treated by applying liquid detergent and rinsing with cool water. Then after using a prewash stain remover, the silk should be washed in the hottest water that it can stand.
°  Grease
  • These stains are usually caused by oils, butter, margarine, crayon, medicines and oil-based cosmetics. Dabbing with talc (talcum powder) immediately will lift the stain. After brushing of the talc, a stain remover can be applied and the silk should be washed in the hottest water.
°  Lipstick stains
  • First Dry-cleaning fluids can be applied and then washing in soap and water can be used to remove lipstick stains.
°  Nailpolish Stains
  • This can be treated by rubbing acetone on the area.
°  Mud Stains
  • Stains of dried mud can be removed completely by brushing off the mud softly.
°  Silk guard
  • Some manufactures have developed a protective process using chemicals from 3 M corporation which protects the fabric from stains following accidental spills of tea, coffee, food particles, ketchup, oil, etc. This treatment is effected at the yarn stage and hence the permeability of the fabric is not affected.

Instruction for Ironing
°  Unhook your sari. Hold the sari at the top of the pleats towards you with your left hand. Extend your right hand down towards the right where the second hook is. Let the left side of the sari drop down. °  Place the right side of the sari onto the ironing stand. Iron the cloth carefully and slowly. Start at the top and work your way down. When you get to the pleats, iron each one separately, making crisp creases in the fabric. Once you're down with all the pleats, iron over them together. °  Slide the ironed part of the sari off of the ironing stand and iron the left part of the sari. Once you're done, carefully fold it vertically to hang it in your closet or put it on right then.

Folding and Storing Sarees
°  The origami of sari folds:
  • After you've washed your sarees you will want them to be in an easy and convenient fold. Usually sarees are folded with the length in half first, with the right side out, then folded again and again in this direction until you have a strip of folded cloth about 13 - 15" wide and the borders on top and bottom.
    Line up the two ends of the top borders. Pallu is facing up right side. Align the top borders until you get to the central first fold. Hold this corner in your right hand and reach over to the pallu end borders and place them together. Align the borders again until you get to the second central fold. Grasp the center fold in the left hand and bring the borders from the right hand over to make the third fold, repeat until you have the last fold which is 13 - 15" wide.
    This you fold in half, putting the two borders together, slightly offset to reduce bulk, then fold that direction in half again to get a nice square shape. Don't ever fold the sarees along the length, you will get a nasty horizontal crease that will look like your "equator" when you drape the sari!
    I learned alot watching the sari folders of India in action. They unfold sari after sari, literally tossing them out their full lengths to impress and dazzle the clientele. They have an abundant labor force just sitting around waiting to fold them all up again and what seems like a humungous mountain of cloth is magically and miraculously restored to order in a surprisingly short time.
    Since I don't have 25 guys working for me and have to do all the folding and unfolding myself I can't quite get the same kind of drama going as these masterful hawkers, but the sarees are so beautiful that even a quarter unfolding leaves my patrons gasping and oohing to no end.
    If you sit on the floor, and let the floor support the sari as you fold it you will get more even folds and the borders will line up.

°  Storing:
  • If you have all your sarees folded in the configuration described above then you can make a neat little stack on a shelf in your closet, or in a storage box for under your bed. The two enemies of textiles are light and dust, so make sure that you have them properly protected. Cloth needs to breathe so storing in plastic is not recommended.
    One easy and cost effective way to store them is to make a bundle out of out of an old bedsheet or some left over yardage. (Wash it in very hot water first to get it really clean) The cloth should be about 3 feet square. You can put the sari stack in the middle of it at a diagonal and then tie it into a loose bundle. Bundles are the way that sari merchants in India carry their wares. It weighs nothing, costs nothing and is easy to carry as the top knot is a convenient handle. This is how I transport my stock around to trunk shows.
    Old pillow cases also work well as storage bags. Don't overpack or you will cause wrinkles and creases. Just put in two or three sarees in one pillow case and fold the flap over.
    A cedar chest is great for sari storage. Many of my women friends in India let me peek into their sari storage chests, usually a galvanized steel chest with a lock. Most women like to store their wedding sarees and fancy silks folded up very tidily and secure in trunks like these. They are planning to hand on these sarees to their daughters. Bugs are a big problem in India, so at almost every fancy event there will be the aroma of moth balls.
    Just like any fine textile, taking them outside for a dose of fresh air and dusting is always good for life extension. In very humid climates this is a must - to chase out musty odors and moisture. You can see pictures of my friend Bindu in Kerala airing out her sarees here. She will just leave them out for a few minutes every month or so, not letting them sit in direct sun for very long. If you have a shady place to do this, leaving them out to air for a couple hours is great.