Corsets 101 Part 8: Storage and Care

Chocolate, pizza sauce, wine…

Pizza and Wine (both things you don't want on your corset!)

All these things have their (delicious) place in life – but hopefully you can keep them off of your corset. If you failed at this task, however, have no fear. I’m here to help!

How to spot clean a corset

There is a product that I swear by, when it comes to caring for and cleaning my cosplay clothing. It’s Clorox 2 liquid. The image below (an affiliate link) will take you to purchase on Amazon – but you can get this at your local Walmart too.

I don’t know how many 50’s housewives they sacrificed to achieve this… 😉 But I swear, this stuff will remove the worst stains from white – while colors either remain unchanged, or look brighter afterwards!

I recommend testing a spot first to be safe. If your corset has a modesty panel, there is a line along the attached edge that will be underneath the grommets when you lace up. Take a toothpick, dip it in Clorox 2, and put a tiny bit in an inconspicuous spot. Let it dry for 30m to an hour, then keep wetting the spot with water and blotting it with paper towels. Keep repeating, and be sure you don’t have a bleached spot. If not, you are good to go!

You’ll need the following:

  • Clorox 2
  • A couple Q-tips
  • A bowl of water
  • Plenty of paper towels

When the stain first happens, if you can, get as much out as possible by blotting it with dry paper towels, wetting just the stained portion, then blotting again until it lightens. Before you start with the Clorox 2, get the spot as dry as possible. The magic seems to happen only when it’s extremely concentrated.

Use a q-tip to apply Clorox 2 just to your stain. Let it sit for 15m. If the stain is still there, apply more Clorox 2, and let it sit for another 15m. Repeat until the only added color in the spot is blue – up to an hour total. Remove the Clorox 2 by applying water to the spot with your second Q-tip, and blotting it out with paper towels. Repeat a butt ton of times, until the blue is gone and the water spot is barely visible. It should disappear once the corset dries all the way.

I’ve used this technique to remove a black ink stain from an ivory corset (as well as less taxing stains) – with perfect results.  It’s time consuming, but it does work!

How to Wash a Corset

My official recommendation: Don’t!  Corsets should be dry cleaned.  If you live near a big city, there may even be a dry cleaner who has experience with them.  You can call around and check.

Confession, however: I hand wash my own corsets.  One of these days, I plan to open up the banding on a couple of them that have been thru the process at least three times, and pull out the steel bones to see if I’ve ruined anything using my technique.  If I find no rust, I’ll post a tutorial outlining the process.  It is a rather long undertaking – and requires owning some specialized equipment (namely, a tailor’s ham designed for ironing sleeves) – but the end result is a corset that looks and feels brand new.  If and when I post the tutorial, I’ll update this post with a link.  🙂

Best Storage Practices for Corsets:

If you wear your corset on a warm day (or if you sweat a lot on a cold day) be sure to air it out before putting it away. Flop it over the back of a chair (with laces spread wide so the modesty panel can breathe too) and put it away the next day.

It’s best not to wrap the laces around the corset when storing it. It will sometimes leave random weird looking dents in the waist area, and I’ve heard it isn’t good for the corset either. If you buy a corset from me, it will come with a fabric storage bag, like this:

The bag included with each of my corsets.

Rather than simply stuffing the corset in the bag, I recommend lacing it up first. Fold the strings, then fold the corset around the strings, and put it inside the bag. The bag will keep the corset safe from other items, and your other corsets if you store them together. If you’re packing the corset for a trip, it will also keep the corsets busk and/or any hardware from messing up any of the items in your bag.

And that’s it! I hope you enjoyed my Ultimate Guide to Corsets. If you think you may have missed one of the parts (there are 8!) you can access each via the links below.

Part 1: History

Part 2: Types

Part 3: Real Corsets

Part 4: Anatomy of a Corset

Part 5: Pattern Matters

Part 6: Sizing

Part 7: Comfort