How to Clean a Sari

A sari is a traditional dress worn by women in the Indian subcontinent. The patterns, colours and the way of wrapping it around the body vary depending on each country and region.Traditional saris are handmade and woven in silk. This material is light and comfortable to wear in hot countries, as it does not make the skin sweat. The inconvenience is that it is also very delicate to treat and wash. Nowadays, you can also find cotton saris which are worn on a day-to-day basis, while silk ones are reserved for special occasions like weddings.

Place the sari in a recipient with lukewarm water. Add a drop of mild detergent and hand wash it. Some colour might bleed, but this quite normal, especially the first time. Rinse the sari with your hands several times in cold water, changing the water each time.

Eliminate the excess of water. Roll the sari in a towel. This way, all the moisture will end up in the towel. Never wring it. Silk is a delicate fabric and needs to be treated with care. With this technique you will also avoid creases.

Hang it outside to dry. Do not expose the sari to direct sun as the colour will fade. Give it a good shake to remove any water left and also to get rid of any wrinkles. Fold it in half and hang it on the line.

Stretch the sari on the line horizontally and vertically while it is still slightly wet or damp. This way the ironing time can be shortened and it is more beneficial for the sari.


If stained, it is advisable to take the sari to a dry cleaner as soon as possible. Store the sari in a cool dry place. Using a drop of hair conditioner when hand washing a sari will make it feel softer.


Never wash a sari in the washing machine. Avoid leaving the sari in water for a long time. Do not rub or brush it; being a delicate fabric, it might be torn apart. Iron the sari at a low temperature making sure the fabric is damp.

Things You'll Need

  • Water bucket
  • Detergent
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About the Author

Lucia Burbano started writing in 2005. She has published in "Panorama" and "Revista Iradier" magazines, websites and blogs such as Destination Elsewhere and BCNHoy, as well as for charities including Intercanvi, Asociacion Sud, Scottish Council for Minorities and Servei Civil Internacional de Catalunya. Burbano holds a degree in journalism from the Universitat Internacional de Catalunya in Barcelona, Spain.