Corsets, like other lingerie, require special care and attention in order to ensure they maintain their shape, quality, and color. Below are some steps to make certain that your corset will last for years to come.
1. Break in the corset. Before the corset is worn for an extended period of time (more than one hour), it is best to break it in. Lace it up correctly and wear it around the house for 20-30 minutes. Repeating this two to three times will ensure that the corset has conformed to your individual body before it is worn for a special event or function.
2. When possible, wear an absorbent layer underneath your corset. For extended periods of wear, use a tube top or tank top with the straps cut off as an extra absorbent layer. This will take up any sweat, making trips to the dry cleaner less frequent and keeping the corset’s colors bright.
3. Air out the corset after use. Loosen the lacing and undo the front snaps to take off the corset, then drape it, lining side up, over a chair or door. This will let it air out and let any perspiration to evaporate. If the corset begins to smell, and it’s not time to go to the dry cleaners, a small amount of fabric refresher (like Febreze) may be used. However, make sure it is a light mist. Large drops can cause the stays (the ‘boning’ of the corset) to rust.
4. Never wash your corset. Because most corsets use steel or metal stays, washing it in a regular washing machine can cause them to rust and lose their shape. This will ruin the garment.
5. Take corsets to a dry cleaner that has corset experience. Corsets need to be dry cleaned by hand. Call around first and try to find a reputable dry cleaner that has knowledge of proper corset cleaning. Additionally, do not use at-home dry cleaning kits (like Dryel) to clean corsets. At-home dryers can damage the corset.
6. Store corsets properly. Do not fold corsets and place them with the rest of your undergarments. It is best to fold the corset over the bottom half of a hanger, laces up (distributed evenly on each side of the hanger) and lining on the outside. After making sure the corset is dry, place a plastic bag over the top of the hanger.
- Never let anyone else wear your corset. It has been molded to your body through regular wear, and letting another person wear it will distort the shape.
- Never lace up your corset tighter than necessary. Continuous strain on the grommets and lacing of the corset will cause them to break or fall off.