Dear Newsletter readers,
Konnichiwa, this is Mari.
It is one of my important duties at Ichiroya to answer all the questions from our
customers via email. The most frequently asked question could be "How to take care
I usually answer "Don't wash kimono at home with water. Your kimono will shrink!
Dry cleaning is the best way to take care of it." In Japan, professional cleaners
know how to clean kimono. So, we ask them to do so. However, Japanese women used
to wash kimono at home. Our grandmothers' generation was doing it as a part of
their daily life.
I wear kimono often. It costs me a lot to bring my kimono to cleaners.
I was always wondering if I can wash my kimono at home. Today, I would like to
share my "washing kimono at home" experience with you!
Are you ready to read my experimental article?
First of all, I researched on "How to wash kimono at home".
Many articles say that Hitoe(not lined) kimono can be washed at home. The reason
why is that you don't have to worry about different shrinkage of the outside and
lining. It is very hard to keep the length and width of the both fabrics after
washing. If one side shrunk and the other didn't, then the bottom of your kimono
get sag. So, let's forget about washing "Awase"(lined) kimono at home.
Then, I found that Hitoe Oshima Tsumugi is the easy one to wash at home. There are
a couple of good reasons why we can wash Oshima Tsumugi by ourselves.
1) The yarn is not twisted like Chirimen (crepe) silk. So that, it doesn't shrink
like other twisted yarn when it gets wet.
*The worst thing which happens to your kimono after washing is shrinking. The
twisted yarns try to get to original straight yarn when they get wet. The move
makes your kimono shrink.
2) Oshima Tsumugi have been rinsed in the water hundreds times in the process of
making a bolt. So, it is OK to soak it in water!
Those reasons totally made sense to me.
Then, I bought a white hitoe(not lined) Oshima Tsumugi at Ichiroya. See the top photo, that is my favorite white Oshima Tsumugi
It had some flaws such as stains. Those minor flaws don't bother me to wear the
elegant white Oshima at all. I wore it during the last Hitoe season many times. I
got so many compliments every time I wore the Oshima. The cost performance is 100
times better than those fast fashion brand names! YES!
Now, it's a cleaning time! I'm nurvous yet very excited to wash my kimono at home
for the first time!
1) I put red stitches around those noticeable stains to target them.
There are three noticeable stains on the right chest, middle and hem of the left
2) I measured it by myself. The measurement was the same as the item direction
page. I wanted to compare the size before and after washing.
3) I put cold water in the bathtub.
4) I put shampoo in the water and stir. I know that silk is protein, just like our
hair. Hmmmmm. Then, shampoo is the perfect detergent for silk! YES! It happened to
be organic, but not neccesary. Organic shampoo sounds good, and makes me feel
better to wash my kimono, doesn't it? Hahaha!
5) Then, finally I soak my white Oshima tsumugi in the shampoo mixed water!
6) I pressed my Oshima on and on and on. I pressed a little bit hard on those
stains. At this point, I got high on kimono washing! I was like "YES! I'm washing
my kimono at home! YES!". hahaha!
7) After pressing it for hundreds times, I folded and pressed it to drain water.
Can you see the color of water in the bathtub before and after washing my kimono
in it? It got a little bit dirty, didn't it?
8) I left my bathroom with wet kimono. I placed it in between large towels, and
stepped on it to roughly dry it.
9) After that, I hung it on a pole for a couple of hours to dry.
10) Before it was totally dried out, I started to iron it to prevent to get
unnecessary wrinkles. I put "Tenugui" cotton fabric over my kimono while ironing.
My iron says that the temperature should be at lowest level for silk.
I followed the direction at the begining. However, almost no wrinkle was stretched
at the lowest temperature level. I gradually heated it up. Most of time while I
was ironing, I stayed at level 4 which is for cotton. I even brought it up to the
highest level to iron those thick areas such as collars.
I was able to stretched most of the wrinkles. Well, if I were better at ironing, I
could eliminate all the wringles though... I did my best, and I'm very happy with
Oh, don't forget about measurement! I measured all the parts. It wasn't shrunk at all!
11) Let's compare before and after washing those stains!
What do you think?
Well, to me, there is no dramatic difference in between any of them. They may be
just a little bit less noticeable than before.
They may be too old to take them off by myself. One thing I could have done is putting extra
stain remover on those spots. However, I'm happy with the result. I think all the
dusts and sweats were removed. At least I proved that I can wash my kimono at home.
Thank you for the reading long article.
If you wash your kimono at home, please do so at your own risk! Me and Ichiroya
are not responsible for any results!