Along years, many of the techniques people used changed. Many of them were updated in correlation with new technology, while others simply fell out of use.
In opposition, many other techniques that had become obsolete are lately striking back for many reasons.
Sometimes, new techniques require products, money or equipment that are not available for everyone, so they continue using old techniques.
One of the most popular reasons why these methods are growing popular again is ecology.
Modern ways of solving everyday chores are highly contaminating or represent a great carbon emission, so many people decide to go back to basics, using manual methods that do not require electricity or chemical products.
One of these techniques is starching clothes. But why do people starch jeans and other items of clothing, and how? Stay tuned!
What is starching?
The process of starching consists of applying starch to your clothes to make them stiffer. It used to be common in the 19th century, and it used to be applied to all kinds of clothing, but especially on shirts.
Why do people starch jeans and other clothes?
Starching was used in the past to prevent clothes from getting dirty and wrinkled. Dirt gets adhered to fabric by entering the tiny gaps between the fibers.
By starching your clothes, you fill in those gaps with starch, so it’s harder for dirt to find a place to get stuck to your clothes.
Besides, as starch makes fabric rigid, it prevents wrinkles from forming on its surface. Your clothes can stay neat for longer.
In the past, many people didn’t have constant access to water, so they couldn’t wash their clothes every day as we do now.
That’s why starching was so popular. It allowed you to have clean clothes for a longer time when there weren’t any washing machines or even water circuits in towns and cities.
Nowadays, starching is growing popular again as a way of taking care of the environment. You can use less electricity and less water, as you don’t need to wash your clothes so often.
Why do cowboys starch their jeans? Probably not for environmental reasons, but because this process makes their clothes more durable, especially considering they can be damaged in the harsh tasks they do every day.
They starch jeans so much that when you look for “starched jeans” photo on Google you can find some funny pictures of jeans that can stand on their own!
Besides from that, many people who manufacture their own clothes usually starch their fabrics before starting their projects.
Starching provides the fabric with some stability and structure, which is helpful in the sewing process. As the fabric is stiffer and firm, it’s easier to handle and make a straight seam along the surface.
After you are done sewing and your piece is finished, you can simply wash away the starch and have it as smooth as it was.
How to starch jeans or any other clothes
There are different ways to starch clothes nowadays, as you can use traditional, natural ways or use products you can get at the supermarket. The process is quite similar, but the preparation is different.
In case you want to go with the traditional way, you will need:
- A container
- A spray bottle
- A measuring cup
1- Prepare the starching solution
Grab the measuring cup and pour two cups of water into the container, together with three cups of cornstarch. Mix it well and pour it into a spray bottle.
Whenever you are making this homemade solution, make sure you keep a 60% starch, and 40% water proportion. This is also valid for commercial starch solutions.
2- Starch jeans with the solution
For the application methods, there are several options you can choose from, either with the homemade solution or commercial starch products.
The first thing you need to do is wash your clothes and let them dry as usual. After that, you can get starching.
One of the most popular ways to starch jeans is by pouring the solution into a spray bottle and spraying it all over the surface of any clothes you want.
Always remember to flip your clothes inside out, so that the starch is applied on the reverse of the fabric.
Spray the solution onto the clothes until it is fully saturated. If you like starching all your clothes, we recommend getting a pressurized spray gallon, so that you don’t need to pull the trigger repeatedly and your hands won’t get tired.
The second method you can use is dipping. Keep the solution in the container and simply put the clothes in it too. Move the fabric around so that it is all saturated with starch and there are no gaps left untouched.
When everything is damp, remove the clothes from the water. At this point, you can choose to hang your clothes dripping wet until they are halfway dry, or you can wring them.
This is totally up to you, as some people do not recommend wringing. The starch will imprint the wrinkles onto the fabric, and they will be hard to remove, even with ironing.
3- Dry your clothes
Once it is all covered in starch, you have to dry it. Again, people choose different drying methods for this.
You can either stretch it out and let it air dry, or you can simply iron it to dry the starch onto the surface. If you choose to iron, make sure you don’t scorch the starch, especially if you are using a homemade solution.
When scorched, starch will stain your clothes, and you will have to wash them again, hoping that the scorching was not severe enough to damage the fabric.
You can use these methods to starch jeans or any other item of clothing. This way, you will have stiff, more durable clothes that will stay clean for a longer time!