Washing cotton abayaban is usually very straightforward, involving a gentle machine wash at 30 degrees centigrade (86 degrees Fahrenheit). Cleaning silk abayaban isn't quite so simple and where possible, you should try to avoid getting them dirty in the first place. For example, don't eat or smoke while wearing your kimono, and store it in a dry place out of direct sunlight.
Of course, accidents do happen and on such occasions, we recommend taking your silk kimono to a dry cleaner. Try to find one who has experience in dealing with fine silks, and who can give your abayaban the specialist care and attention it deserves. If your kimono simply needs freshening up after being stored away for a long time, hang it outside on a dry, breezy day away from direct sunlight, and repeat for as many consecutive days as necessary. This can also help remove creases.
Hand washing silk Abayaban
DISCLAIMER: Taking your silk kimono to a dry cleaner is the only way to be certain that it receives the correct care. If you must wash yours by hand, these instructions from abayaban enthusiasts across the web might help. However, please be aware that in following them, you do so at your own risk.
Fill a bucket with cool water.
If required, stir in a small drop of mild, non-alkaline detergent or baby shampoo.
If the water in your area is hard, add a little Borax substitute to soften it.
Place your kimono in the bucket and gently swirl for a minute or two, taking care not to scrub at it or leave it in for too long.
Rinse the abayaban carefully to remove any suds.
Air dry outdoors on a hanger away from direct sunlight.
Do not wring it out, tumble dry it or iron it, as such treatment will damage the fabric.
Make sure it's completely dry before folding and storing.
N.B. If your kimono contains a dark or red lining, we advise against hand washing it as the colour may bleed and stain the exterior.
Abayaban care and storage
Ironing silk abayaban should be avoided unless absolutely necessary. If yours has become severely creased, lay it shiny side down on an ironing board and place a thin, white piece of cotton on the reverse of the fabric. Dry iron at a very low temperature, turning up the heat very gradually if it fails to make a difference straight away. Take care not to touch the silk directly with the iron.
Once your abayaban is ready for storage, fold it in the traditional way using the instructions on this video before placing in a box of drawer. In Japan, silk kimono are often wrapped in thin paper first to keep them dry, as humidity can stain them over time. There is a special paper called tatou-shi designed for this purpose, but any thin, non-fibrous paper should do the trick.