We’re in spring cleaning mode on the blog this month, and we’re talking about garment care! We know washing costume is not the most scintillating topic - but bear with us! Proper costume care it is perhaps the most important thing your can do to increase the longevity of your dance and skate wear!
Looking to reuse your costume next year, or resell it to meet your fundraising goals? Here are 5 essential tips straight from our laundry department experts, that'll keep your costumes in top shape for years to come:
1. Don’t be afraid to launder your garments.
We covered this last week, but we can’t say it enough! The best thing you can do to enhance the longevity of your costume it to wash it. Perspiration can actually promote wear and break down specialty fabrics like hologram and myst. Plus, major stink bomb!
The scary thought of accidentally damaging a costume while washing it won’t be a problem if you follow this step-by-step guide on how to wash your dance costume, skate dress, or cheer uniform. Still not convinced? Many costume companies offer laundry services! Get your costume washed for a small fee, and have them do any minor repairs at the same time!
2. Choose one person to launder your entire team’s garments.
“Many hands make light work” is something my mom likes to say, but sadly this is old adage is best left for tackling that mound of thanksgiving dinner dishes rather than costume care! The best thing you can do to ensure all of your team’s garments are washed properly and consistently is to have only one person take on this task. If each dancer or skater launders their own garment, there’s always the risk one person may not follow directions and potentially damage their garment. We know you don’t want that one person standing out from the rest of the team, or to spend more money getting a costume remade! Avoid this by appointing a cleaning ambassador.
3. Store garments when clean and dry.
The best way to store a costume? When it is CLEAN and DRY. Wet garments can develop mold and mildew, and perspiration odor can fester and grow, especially when stored in a non-breathable container. Sweat + plastic = a smelly disaster! Hang your garment after laundering in a breathable container like an old pillowcase - and always avoid plastic dry cleaner bags, trash bags, or nylon garment bags.
4. Protect your garment from hair spray and perspiration.
Chemical residue can advance wear, and dull specialty fabrics like holograms, sequins, spangles, or foils. Common culprits include: hair spray, perspiration, perfume, and some deodorants. To protect the brilliance of your performance wear, do your hair before putting on your costume, OR get dressed like a starlet and use dressing gowns! (Or a warm up will do the trick, as well.) Dress shields, sold at most craft stores, are another great way to protect your garment in a area where one sweats the most - the underarms.
5. Wear garments only during performances.
Given the cost and delicate nature of dance costumes and skating dresses, the last thing you want is for your costume to wear out before that big performance. Saving your garment for special occasions can help prevent those minor accidents and like snags or holes in delicate fabric. It can also help specialty fabric like holograms and sequins from abrading and becoming dull over time. On performance day, wear warm-ups over your costume to prevent accidental food spill - pop or pizza stains are nobody’s friend!
Looking for more information on how to wash your garment or deal with specialty items like sequins, rhinestones, fringe? Download the full garment care instructions PDF from our website!
Check our more of our Garment Care Series on the blog this month: Garment Care 101: How to Wash Your Performance Costume