Indian festivals are uplifting and also connecting with our traditions. One of these is that we do take out our silks and wear traditional clothes. However, post festivities the dry cleaning of silks feels like an uphill task for many and most often we think that dry cleaning is the only way to get your silks safe and well preserved.
Ever wonder what we were doing before the advent of dry cleaning. After all, silk did not come to India post the knowledge of dry cleaning. Try asking or googling about the history of laundry in India. You will not get results that can satisfy your curiosity. There is a nice blog by Jana Thevar who explains what to do with your laundry if you want to wash it rather than dry cleaning. Jana suggests to use any mild baby shampoo. However, I wanted to know what we did in the previous century.
I needed an explanation and found out that we were using our traditional soapnut especially for the tough silks such as Kanjeevaram etc. We also discovered that soapnuts were used as natural pest repellents and antimicrobials. When I tried using the same soap nuts it worked fantastically well for me, however, it would be fascinating to know your experiences on washing different varieties of silks traditionally from grannies. Time to engage with your grandparents to know how they wash their silks and share that information, and maybe we could together create laundry chronicles for Indian silks.