Come festival time and out come the traditional and festive wear from our cupboards and wardrobes. Rich traditional sarees like the Benarasi sarees are also brought out on such occasions and often passed on to the next generation as ‘shagun’ or blessings during the festive season. But if you are wondering how to take care of these heavy Benarasi sarees that your moms and grandmoms took such good care of, don’t worry at all. While you may have heard that these sarees are all painstakingly high maintenance wear, we think a little bit of tender love and care is all that it takes to keep these rich Benarasi sarees in the best possible condition.
Every saree has a story to tell. And every saree has seen the stains of oil, thanks to the diyas that are used for every festive occasion in the house. Here’s some tips on how you can store your Benarasi sarees well and take good care of them during Diwali and post the festive season.
- Diwali is the time for diyas and lights. And if you are going all traditional with the oil and ghee filled diyas, there is a high chance, you are going to spill some on your saree. Even if you don’t plan on doing that and are supremely carefully, some things are just beyond your control (as most stains would agree). But if oil does fall on your lovely saree, fret not! Instantly dab some talcum powder or any dry powder like flour on the spot and leave it to soak the grease. If it is gravy that has fallen, first tackle the oil and then the turmeric. You can add a few drops of water on the spot of the stain and wash it with a neutral or natural soap (Reetha or soap nut). Easier options like neutral soaps are definitely available over the counter. Remember silks get affected by alkaline soaps so avoid using the regular soap bars or detergent bars. Don’t wash the whole saree without testing if the colour bleeds. Else, you may ruin any double-coloured saree as the colours may run into each other. This would be just the first aid for the saree. An immediate visit to the dry cleaner should take care of all the oil stains for you.
- While storing your sarees post the festive season, remember to have aired them well before you pack them in muslin fabric and put them away. But please remember to avoid using metal hangers to hang these sarees. Over a period of time, rust on these metal hangers can spoil the sarees. It is best to use plastic hangers instead. Prevention is better than cure, right?
- Remember to keep changing the folds of traditional sarees stored in the cupboard year after year. Many a times, sarees get worn out on the fold itself and disintegrate on the crease. In order to avoid this, it is best recommended that every 2-3 months, you should remove the saree from the cupboard, open it up, air it well and then fold it in another manner so that the creases are not deep. Also, after every wear, please remember to air the sarees so that no moisture gets trapped, which can lead to fungus on the saree (highly avoidable!!)
- The smell of sweat from worn sarees or the smell of closed wardrobes can be avoided by using fragrance pouches carrying fragrance mixes. This also keeps moths and silver fish at bay. Such pouches are available in select stores as well as can be made home. If you are planning to make your own at home, then you can add either camphor, cloves or bay leaves in a pouch. Avoid putting camphor or naphthalene balls directly on the Benarasi saree fabric. Naphthalene balls have chemical compositions so it is best to avoid them as they may harm the silk. While using these pouches, keep them close to the sarees being stored.
- Zari can fade out or blacken over a period of time due to usage of perfume or deodorant. It is therefore recommended that you apply these on your body instead (pressure points like the base behind your ear lobes, your pulse on the wrist etc). Some may choose a roll-on on the skin, before wearing the blouse.
Don’t overthink that you may spoil your family heirloom by wearing it this Diwali. Draping a traditional Benarasi saree will definitely make your Diwali even more special. Make heads turn as you sashay in your traditional Benarasi saree. For those looking to buy a new Benarasi saree, don’t miss the Tyohar Collection from TaBa Kashi!