Many of us have been fortunate enough in acquiring some precious heirloom sarees from our mother, grand mothers and their mothers. Mostly silk and other precious fabrics, these are not just priceless possessions but are something that we hold dear to life itself. Smudged with family history and fond memories, these sarees stand as a testimony to the style and grace of their owners across generations. These sarees also demand high maintenance and utmost care before they could be donned by someone from the next and upcoming generation.
So, here we are with a few tips on how heirloom sarees can be taken care of to not lose its sheen and shine through generations with equal charm.
First and foremost, heirloom sarees need to be sunned and aired at frequent intervals. No matter how precious these heirloom sarees are, it has to see the light of the day and literally at that. Keeping them in the dark quarters of your almirah will make the sarees smell musty, will get cuts on the folds and eventually turn it into just a sad emotional story.
Silks must be washed the least number of times. Also, if washed, it should be either washed in plain cold water. If washed in detergent, it should be washed in very mild laundry detergent to avoid any deposit or reaction of harsh chemicals on the delicate fabrics and weave. Mild protein shampoo is also considered a good alternative to detergents. But, irrespective of shampoo or laundry detergents, harsh chemicals are a strict no. Therefore, one must be immensely careful to use only natural and mild liquid detergents, like PUER.
After-wash, never wring or twist old silk sarees; it might lead to tearing the zari. Also, as soon as the saree is washed, it should be immediately air-dried, but not on clothes-line, rather it should be hung on a padded hanger to avoid visible sharp lines. Also, while being air-dried in the sun, cover the saree with another light piece of cloth so that the saree is not exposed to direct sunlight, which might ruin the colour and texture of the saree.
Also, for a better shine it is advisable to iron the saree lightly. Make it a point to select the right setting on the iron and then iron the saree while it’s still slightly damp.
After wash, dry and iron, these sarees must be stored in a cool, dry place wrapped in a muslin cloth. It is advisable to unfold the sarees once in a while and alter the folding. However, the best alternative is to keep the saree rolled or hung on padded hangers.
This way, you can ensure that your heirloom saree is well taken care and gets the love and care it deserve. The better the care and maintenance, it will last longer and will be dearly embraced by generations to come. It is only a matter of pride and happiness to don something that our mothers and grandmothers have worn with love and passed it to us with the belief and hope that it now lies in the right hands.