How To Clean A Corset
‘Give your corset air and sunshine if you want it sweet and odorless. You should not expect the best results from your corset without a second one to wear alternately. Any corset needs a rest; two corsets worn alternately will give more satisfaction and service than the same two corsets, each worn continuously until they are worn out, just as two or three pairs of shoes last longer when worn alternately.
To keep a corset sweet and odorless it should be laundered when necessary as is any other garment. Washing will not injure a Spirella corset in the least, if done under the right conditions, and laundering a corset made of cotton fabric is very simple. There is no reason why Spirella corsets should not be washed as often as is necessary.
Related: Victorian Laundry – Washing And Stain Remover Recipes
To launder a Spirella corset use plenty of soft, luke-warm water, a pure soap, like Castile, free from alkali and acids, and a stiff hand brush. Remove the lace, spread the corset on a clean wooden or oil cloth covered table, and scrub vigorously with brush and good soapsuds on both sides. Rinse well in luke-warm water until all the soap is removed, changing the water often. Then rinse in cold water, using a little bluing.’ (Spirella Consumers’ Manual, 1913)
‘To keep corsets clean and fresh, it is advisable to wash them from time to time. However, corsets of expensive material or of colored material should not be washed; rather, they should be dry-cleaned or French-cleaned in order to keep the material new and fresh in appearance.
To wash a corset, proceed as follows: Lay the corset out on a clean table or in a wash tub, and then scrub it with a brush and good, hot soap suds. A corset should not be boiled, because boiling will ruin the elastic in the hose supporters; nor should it be run through a clothes wringer for fear of injuring the clasps. After scrubbing it well, rinse it several times in order to remove all the suds.
When the corset is rinsed, pull and stretch it lengthwise so that there will be no wrinkles in the stays; then hang it in the sun, and when it is almost dry put it on for a few minutes so as to stretch it into correct shape. Finally, hang it on a line and allow it to remain there until it is perfectly dry, when it will be ready for wear.’ (Corsets And Close-Fitting Patterns, 1915)