The corset is one of fashion’s most misunderstood garments. Corsetry has a rich history that predates our current beliefs. The use of undergarments to manipulate the body dates back to antiquity when Minoan women from the island of Crete constrained their cleavage with a band of soft leather. Aside from all of the history, keeping a corset clean has been difficult, especially for first-time users.
If you want your waist training corset to be sweet-smelling and odorless, expose it to air and sunlight. Without a second corset to wear alternately, you should not try to get the best results from it. Any corset requires rest; two corsets worn alternately will provide more satisfaction and service than the same two corsets worn continuously. A corset, like any other garment, should be laundered when necessary to keep it fresh and odorless.
- Follow the instructions provided with the corset
First and foremost, your corset should come with the most important care instructions. A label containing care instructions must be provided in a store-bought corset. If, on the other hand, you purchased a custom-made corset or one from an independent corsetiere, you may not have a label sewn into your corset and should instead have received care instructions from the person who made the corset.
These directions are more important than any other guidance you might read online, make up, or hear from a friend, and the advice in the article. If the instructions say “dry clean only,” you should follow those instructions – otherwise, you are doing so at your own risk. Some fabrics should never be washed. You should not wash a corset made of leather, fur, suede, or a similar material. While cleaning the lining may be risky, the non-washable ‘fabric’ should not be washed. Corsets are made artistically and should be treated as such to maintain their integrity.
- Do not wash directly
Water will rust the steel boning in your corset. If it needs to be cleaned, take it to a reputable dry cleaner and, if possible, have it done by hand. In most cases, allowing your corset to air out will suffice. Drape your corset over a hanger or the back of a chair to let in some fresh air. Avoid direct sunlight as much as possible.
- Dry clean!
You should never, ever put your corset in the washing machine. Even if you pledge to wash it in cool water on the gentlest setting in a lingerie bag! Putting your corset in the washing machine will ruin it, so stick to dry cleaning.
- Check before you use a chemical
You should test any chemical before using it on your corset. Choose an inconspicuous location such as the inside of the corset, under the arm, on the modesty panel, or, if you’re fortunate, on the fabric swatch or bag provided by your corsetiere. Using a clean, white cloth, ‘clean’ the hidden spot as if it were the dirtied area. If everything works out, go ahead and use your favored cleaning agent on the small area that needs to be cleaned. If you have any issues, you should take your corset to a professional cleaner.
- Spot cleaning is acceptable
If you must spot clean the exterior, make sure you are aware of the fiber content and proceed accordingly. If at all possible, consult with your corsetmaker about their recommendations. Because your corsetmaker most likely wears corsets on a regular basis, there’s a good chance they’ve spilled a margarita or squirted sauce on a corset at some point, much like the rest of us. Be gentle, and tailor your cleaning methods to the fiber content of your corset’s fashion fabric. The fabric would almost certainly be fused or backed with a layer other than the strength layer. Spot cleaning products may leave a watermark around the edges, which you can minimize by closely observing and combining the drying patch, or by treating the entire panel. Your best friend is a clean, undyed washcloth.
- Store your corset properly
To store your corset, do not roll it up. Preserve your corset in a cool, dry area, such as an acid-free box lined with unbleached muslin. Or maybe in an unbleached organic cotton pillowcase, or in a specially made Corset bag that allows the corset to lie flat inside. Alternatively, hang your corset from the laces, ensuring even tension along the length of the grommets. Make sure there is no pressure on the bones that will bend or distort them in any way when you store your corset. Excessive moisture can lead to mildew or corroding of the spring steel bones, so keep your corset away from moisture. If moisture cannot be avoided, keep a desiccant in your corset and replace it as needed.
Corsets need more maintenance and attention than other articles of clothing. Cleaning your corset can be a task but if you do it properly you can wear a well-cleaned corset for days. Also, remember only you should wear your corset don’t let others borrow it just like how you’d never let anyone wear your underwear.
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