Caring for your textiles - Part 2

Caring for your textiles is a series of blogs which focusses on preventive and conservation methods. In our last blog, we discussed the need to know about the composition of fibres and yarns in our collection, storage methods and ways handling of fabrics.

Your precious wedding and heirloom sarees need preventive care and maintenance regularly. In addition to being damaged by use, fabrics become fragile due to a lot of external factors, as mentioned below :
1. Biological agents - Insects, fungi, moulds and milde.
2. Physical agents - Human errors in washing, drying, ironing and wearing.
3. Storage - Improper environmental conditions like light, heat and humidity.
4. Chemical agents - Stains, spillage, dust and pollution.


 

Let us now go through various strategies that can be implemented as a preventive conservation method.

Know your collection

1. Get to know the specifics of your collection, which includes the nature of the fabric (silk, cotton, linen or synthetic sarees), whether it is embroidered or embellished, painted or printed and the age of the fabric.
2. Decorative arrangements of brocades, including the type of zari used, its construction in a fabric, and its usage, as these will have an effect on the permanence and durability.
 
Examine your collection

1. Open and air out your textiles and regularly examine if there are any damages.
2. A simple pointer to see if your textile is damaged is to watch out for these specific changes -

a. Is there a difference in the colour, shape or weight of the textile?
b. Does the textile emanate any odour?
c. Is there any powder or fibre formation or erosion in the textile?
 
Know the enemies which damage your textiles

1. A regular examination will reveal the factors causing the damage.
2. Broadly, the damages could be due to biodeterioration in the form of fungi, moss, lichens and mildew that are mostly caused by environmental conditions.
3. Light, heat and humidity are key factors which damage your fabric, and this is solely dependent by the nature of storage.
4. Man-made errors arising from the lack of knowledge in conservation and preventive care.
 
Preservation of any textile always begins with proper storage and here are some ideas to avoid or block the factors which cause damage.
 
Storage

1. Store it in an environment that is consistently dark and cool with moderate humidity. Avoid attics and basements.
2. Antique heirlooms should be wrapped in an old muslin or cotton cloth and should be rolled-up to avoid creases.
3. Use acid-free papers instead of newspaper lining underneath the closet compartments.
4. Use cotton bags instead of plastic bags for storing sarees. If unattended, moisture and fungus will grow more in a plastic bag since the air is not evacuated completely.
 
Pests

1. Good housekeeping practices help ward off silverfish, cockroaches, and rodents. Use insect repellants but remember to avoid the mothballs from coming in direct contact with your textiles.
2. One of the best organic insect repellents is dried neem leaves. But make sure that they are stored in a cotton pouch, and does not come in direct contact with the sarees.

Cleaning

1. Adopt routine cleaning of your storage area.
2. Stains and soiling in textiles need to be cleaned as early as possible.
 
Like all the things we love and care, we need to spend some time to maintain and preserve our textiles. We encourage you to ponder about the ideas listed, and share your thoughts in the comments section of our blog!

 

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