How to wash a saree

Not sure how to wash cotton sarees, how to wash silk sarees or how to wash pattu sarees at home? Try this step-by-step guide.

A vibrant saree is fashion forward and a point of pride, but it can be intimidating to take care of – especially if you normally dry-clean your clothes and are not sure how to wash silk saree at home.

Here, we take you through everything you need to know about how to wash silk sarees and how to wash cotton saree at home.

How to wash cotton saree

Before you wear a new cotton saree for the first time, soak it in warm water mixed with 2-3 tablespoons of rock salt. This will help bind the colour to the fabric, keeping it bright and beautiful even after washing. It will also get rid of any excess starch and make it that little bit easier to wear. Even after you’ve done this, there is still a risk that the colour might run, so it’s safest to wash all your sarees separately.

It’s best to wash your saree in plain cold water the first two or three times, using a cotton bud to apply a mild detergent or protein shampoo to any stains. After that, here’s how to wash cotton saree with soap:

  1. Fill a bucket with clean, warm water and add mild detergent. Soak your saree for around 10 minutes.
  2. Rinse your saree well in cold water, making sure to handle it gently and avoid wringing it too hard. Keep rinsing until the water runs clean, with no soap coming out.
  3. Starch your saree, then rinse once more to avoid stain-like patches.
  4. Press your saree gently to remove excess water, or roll it gently in a towel.
  5. Hang your saree out in the shade until it’s completely dry.
  6. Use a medium dry iron to get the creases out, and hang it up somewhere clean, dark and dry.

A steam iron can make a heavily-starched saree a little easier to handle – just be sure to keep it on a low or medium heat, to avoid damaging the fabric or losing some of the colour.

How to wash silk saree at home

Silk is known for two things: looking gorgeous, and being difficult to maintain. It’s usually best to have a silk saree dry cleaned, but if you do need to know how to wash pattu sarees at home, here are a few tips: 

  • Check the manufacturer’s recommendations carefully.
  • Test small areas of the fabric to check whether the colours run together.
  • Wash the different sections of your saree separately if you can.
  • Wash your saree with plain water the first two or three times, then add a few drops of mild detergent.
  • Keep water moving through the fabric – don’t soak it.
  • Iron your silk saree between two pieces of cloth, after it’s completely dry.
  • Hang your saree on a hanger, to avoid creasing.
  • Store your saree in a silk or muslin bag – plastic can tarnish any gold thread.

It’s not hard to learn how to wash cotton saree, or even how to wash silk saree at home. With clean, cold water and a little patience, you can keep your saree looking bright and beautiful for years to come.

Key Steps

Here are the main things you need to remember:

  • Use cold water and add mild detergent (or baby shampoo) where you need it.
  • Treat the fabric gently and wash without scrubbing.
  • Roll and press on your saree to remove extra water.
  • Store your saree somewhere dry, away from sunlight.

Top tip

You want your saree to keep its vibrant colour for years to come, so – whatever fabric it’s made from – make sure you dry it in a shady place. The sun may dry it faster, but it will also fade your saree.