Handloom and Hand-woven clothes are the pride of India and in recent years, a lot of effort and focus has been given to raise awareness about the myriad variety of handloom materials available in our country. It’s not uncommon now, to find every woman owning at least one item of clothing in a unique handloom material – whether it be an Ikat dress, or a Dabu printed maxi or even the current hot favourite, a Kalamkari dress. Modern day millennials can also be seen turning many ornate, heavily embellished and gorgeous handloom saris into unique dresses and into stunning indo-western designer dresses.
While these handloom clothes can be quite the head-turners, it is also important to remember that they require a certain amount of delicate handling and washing, unlike other blended materials. Here are some quick pointers that will help you take care of your handloom dresses, block-printed dresses and hand-woven clothes better and ensure their longevity.
Washing handloom clothes:
1. Hand-wash is always better than machine wash, at least for the first couple of times.
2. Wash dark and light clothes separately.
3. Soak them in cold water diluted with salt the first time before washing – this helps with the colour bleeding and in retaining the vibrancy of the colour.
4. Use a mild cleanser and no harsh detergents.
5. Do not use any brush or scrub directly on the handloom clothing.
6. For pure cotton clothes, a mild starch can be used post-washing.
7. Always follow the instructions mentioned on the wash care label diligently.
A typical wash care label for Handloom clothes. Source
Drying and ironing handloom clothes:
1. Always dry handloom clothes in the shade, away from direct sunlight.
2. Do not wring the clothes too much after washing, to avoid permanent creases.
3. Cotton and similar handloom clothes should be ironed when slightly damp, to help even out the creases. Lightly spray some water when ironing – too much water can leave a stain. You can also use the steam setting on your iron.
4. Always iron inside-out to avoid fading of colours.
1. Handloom dresses and fabrics are inclined to shrink, so allow for some amount of shrinkage after the first wash.
2. Certain handloom fabrics, depending on the technique used, bleeds colour for the first few washes. Hence, it is advisable to wash them separately initially and/or group similar colours together and wash them.
3. Should your handloom clothes get stained, it is advisable to take them to a dry cleaner to ensure proper cleaning and no wear and tear.
4. Never use bleach or any such abrasive agents to wash coloured handloom clothes. Bleach can be used for pure white clothes, should the care label say so.