It's amazing how time flies. I feel like the blog has been something on my 'to-do' list forever and here it is a year later and I am finally getting to it! All I can say as an excuse is that I have been writing my dissertation and after hours in front of a computer for that the last thing I want to do is type up a blog. But I feel compelled to write because I have discovered some more tips for costume preservation that I feel the need to share. For those who missed the previous post this is building on it can be found here.
Tip 1: Scotch Guard!
Maybe this isn't new, but it is a rediscovery for me. Growing up, I had a clean freak mom who wanted things to be always be spotless AND elegant, so that meant no plastic covers on the furniture etc just cleaning properly. She used to scotch guard literally everything in the house. One day while scrubbing the hem of a pastel costume cursing the day I decided to wear it on a rainy night the thought occurred to me, what about scotch guard? Well I experimented with some new lighter costumes and I can say that at least for me, it works!
For those who don't know, you can find scotch guard in the carpet cleaning section of most stores. It is fairly inexpensive. Obviously as is true with any spray, test a inconspicuous section of fabric before spraying the whole skirt to make sure it doesn't react negatively. Spray on clean fabric, if you spray over a stain you will lock the stain in. When cleaning dirty fabric after being scotch guarded use plain water only and fingers or toothbrush. The stain should just rinse away! When you do wash with soap and water, retreat the fabric. And of course, the quicker you get to a stain the better, though scotch guard is close to a miracle it will not be as effective if you allow a stain to sit for weeks before getting to it. I have rinsed out dirt successfully after allowing skirt to sit through weekend but of course sooner the better.
2- Baking Soda, Cream of Tartar & Vinegar,Oh My! Cleaning jewelry and swords!
We all know that rhinestone jewelry has a pretty quick sparkle half life as do swords, especially fire swords. To help maintain the shine for a little longer you can use cheap household products!
Cleaning rhinestone jewelry: For rhinestone jewelry you have to be careful and have some knowledge of what your jewelry is made of. For silver jewelry line a bowl in foil and cover in a dusting of baking soda, fill bowl with boiling water and let sit till tarnish is black, 15-20 minutes and then wipe off.
For cheapie rhinestones and mystery Ebay metals: line a bowl in foil and mix vinegar and baking soda together (this will foam considerably, plan accordingly) to submerge jewelry and let soak for 15-20 minutes. Rinse and allow to dry completely before storing. DO NOT use this method on pearls or you will dissolve them. If you have real stones in your jewelry look up cleaning methods specific to them.
Cleaning large rhinestones on costumes: Sweat and other environmentals can dull rhinestones and leave a film. Sometimes this happens after washing costumes because of the detergents too. Spray some windex or your favorite vinegar eco friendly glass cleaner on a cloth and wipe rhinestones clean.
General Rhinestone Tips:
Never spray hair spray, perfume, lotion etc on stones, cover in a robe or style before wearing costume
Allow jewelry to "air out" overnight before storing, especially try for my fellow tropical climate dancers.
Unless you're wearing real diamonds, do not use toothpaste or you will scratch the surface of your stones.
Cleaning Swords: Swords can get gross, especially fire swords. But once your blade goes black there is something you can do!
You will need cream of tartar, vinegar, steel wool or abrasive sponge you are prepared to sacrifice to the cause of clean sword (you will not want to wash dishes with it after, if it is even in one piece)
Make a paste of vinegar and tartar (mixture will foam, be prepared) and apply to discolored parts of blade. Allow to sit and then scrub off. Depending on the level of filth, you will have to do this several times. There is a very real chance you will scratch the surface so if this bothers you then stick to a black blade. With some elbow grease your sword will be bright as new. Of course if it is a fire sword it will start turning black again as soon as you start using it but it will get it clean for a special occasion, photoshoot etc. Be sure to rinse well so you don't have any chemical interference with your fuel later.
3- Removing Odors from Un-washables
Sometimes certain items can't be washed, such as cheap silk veils and fan veils, isis wings, headdresses, flowers etc. Depending on level item can get wet you can still remove odors.
Febreeze or Vodka Sprays: If item can get damp then first line of defense is febreeze or a vodka spray. Always try on small part first before going crazy. I use vanilla vodka cause it leaves a nice scent after. Note: When doing this to untreated silk be sure to do on top of a towel and don't disturb or rub until it is completely dry or you run risk of dying what's under it and/or ruining dye.
Dryer & Fabric Sheet: For items that can not get wet but do not have pleats or beadwork you can try throwing in the dryer with a handful of nicely scented dryer sheets. If there is an extra sour spot, rub area with dryer sheet as a pre treat before tossing in.
Incense: If item absolutely can not even get a little wet and can not be placed in dryer then try lighting your favorite incense in closet or bathroom and placing item over it. Be careful not to burn it by letting it drop into the incense!
Have any tips you like to share? Comment on Facebook or here!