Home | Care And Maintenance Of Garments - Starching

Chapter: 11th 12th std standard Textiles And Dress Designing Cloth stitch Higher secondary school College practical steps methods Notes

Care And Maintenance Of Garments - Starching

Starches make clothes stiffer, crisper and shiner or glossy surface, which is resistant to dirt and dust.

Care And Maintenance Of Garments




A garment that is properly cared for may be expected to last considerably longer than one that is not cared for adequately. It will look better all through its wear-life.


Care includes three elements namely cleaning, refreshing and storage. Cleaning is usually a more technical and more involved process than storage or refreshing. Washing and dry cleaning are two major overall cleaning methods. Washing may be either hand or machine. For either process there are variations in the required water temperature, the nature of the detergent used, the use of bleach, the length of soaking and agitation time, the method of moisture removal and the method and amount of pressing required.



Starches make clothes stiffer, crisper and shiner or glossy surface, which is resistant to dirt and dust.


Starch is by far the most frequently used stiffening agent, which consists of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen and is similar to sugar is composition. Starch is manufactured by plants. There are two general types of starch. Vegetable (made of white vegetables and corn mixture) and plastic (made of resin). The plastic type is of comparatively recent origin and is sometimes considered a starch substitute.


Suitable starches are stored by nature in the stems of certain plants Eg., (Palms) but more often in grains or seeds (Eg. Rice, wheat, maize etc) and in roots and tubers such as potatoes. Sweet potatoes, arrow root etc. starch is a carbohydrate and the physical appearance of the starch from all these different sources is very much the same, even chemical tests are not helpful, only a microscopic examination of the grains reveals the fact that they differ in shape and size.


 Rice starch: These starch grains are the smallest and make a viscous solution which is suitable for stiffening the fabrics with pliability. This starch is suitable for cold water starching is the size of the grains is small enough to effect an easy penetration in to the fabric.


Wheat: The starch grains are large and small sizes, give a strong viscous solution which produces stiffness with pliability in the fabric. But it is very expensive and so it is not economically useable in laundry work.

 Maize: This starch gives viscous solution but produces undesirable stiffness which feels rough to the touch. It is cheap and may be used after blending with other starches.


 Potato: These starch grains are very big and so it is not suitable for laundry work as commercial starches. Various brands of commercial starches are available, usually manufactured by blending two or three different kinds. The chief advantage of these synthetic starches gives a stiffening which lasts even after the fabrics are washed several times.


            Starch substitutes or Extenders


The shortage of starch has given rise to a variety of products which are claimed to be starch extenders or starch substitutes. Eg. Calcium alginate & barium sulphate as a paste, possible to obtain the same amount of stiffness with less starch.


In Malabar and south west coast of India polished tapioca powder and tamarind seed powder are blended with some commercial starches.


Boiling water Starch


When starch is cooked in water the granules swell and become almost clear. The degree of cohesiveness depends upon the kind of raw starch used.

Recipe for starch jelly,

1 tablespoon starch

teaspoonful of borax 2 tablespoon cold water 1 part boiling water


Method of preparation : Mix the starch to smooth paste with cold water, pour over boiling water, stir until the appearance of transparent liquid and must be diluted at once by adding an equal quantity of hot water. A little formalin can be added to prevent the starch stain becoming sour.


Use: For cotton and linen, starching process is simple. The articles are dipped up and down in the starch solution till they are thoroughly saturated, wring out and put to dry. The strength of starch required for various kinds of articles depends on,

          The thickness of the fabric

          The stiffness required in the fabric and

          Personal taste

Cold Water Starch




1 teaspoon rice starch

teaspoon borax to give more stiffness 3 drops turpentine (instead of wax)

part cold water

1 teaspoon boiling water

Method: Dissolve the borax in boiling water. Add cold water and turpentine. Mix to a smooth paste. Strain through muslin, cover and leave for half an hour before use, to soften the starch grain.


Use: This starch is employed where greater stiffness is required. The material must be dry for this type of starching. The starch mixture is absorbed in to the mesh of the fabric, squeeze out. Rub off surface starch grains with a muslin wring out tightly in cold water. Iron with a quick movement.


Laundry Blues


White fabrics often lose their original, sparkling whiteness and develop a yellow tint. This tint may be due to one of the following causes:


          Incomplete washing.


          The deposition of lime or iron particles from soap on fabrics.


 The reappearance of the natural colouring of the original fibres after repeated washes in which no bleach has been used, or the effect of coarse alkaline soap upon fabrics damaged by over bleaching.


Contrary to belief, bleaching does not whiten clothes; it merely corrects the yellow ting that clothes may develop owing to one of the above - mentioned reasons.


Blues are chemicals used during the wash cycle, either at home or by large laundries to correct the yellowing of white fabrics. Ultramarine is a commonly used household blue. It is insoluble in water.

Most laundries use soluble blues: Ultramarine is a safe blue to use. It is not affected by alkaline soaps. it is sometimes used together with soap in boiling water so that the blue is 'boiled in'. Blueing with ultramarine may, however, cause trouble by large particles forming streaks on the fabric. This may be avoided by applying the blue before the last rinse. The care required with ultramarine has caused the abundant of its use by many laundries in favour of the soluble blues and fluorescent washing powders, which are simpler to use.


The soluble blues are actually aniline dyes and are marketed in a great variety. They are easy to prepare, control and apply, producing an even colour and leaving no sediment. They are widely employed inlarge-scale power laundries. These can be obtained as concentrated solutions or as powders. Purplish-blue is the most popular shade, as it gives a whitish appearance. The aniline dyes have a strong affinity for materials and must be used with care. However, owing to their high solubility, the are easily removed by thorough rinsing, so that correction of over-blueing is no trouble.


Blueing must only be done when the fabric is free from soap. The process, therefore, follows the last or second last rinse. The blue is tied in a piece of muslin and squeezed in cold water until the required depth of colour is obtained. Ultramarine, being insoluble, is held in suspension; so the water must be stirred each time before use.


The article is dipped up and down in the solution once or twice. Any water retained in pockets or other bagshaped parts is shaken out. The articles should be moved constantly, and not allowed to rest in the bath. Blueing and starching may be combined if necessary.


Yellow articles should be blued, since they turn greenish. Over blueing can be removed by treatment with acetic acid. It should be noted that blueing is not really necessary in India, where there is strong sunlight for nine months of the year. Sunlight is the best natural bleach for properly washed articles.

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