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how men can wear a kimono

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Men in kimono lined up

How to clean your kimono or tabi from stains and dirt


Cleaning your Kimono (Kiri-arai)

Traditionally, kimonos were washed in a process called kiri arai.

unstitching the kimono① Unstitching the kimono to seperate each panel of cloth.
washing unstitched kimono② kimono being washed, alternative for clean shallow rivers
stretching kimono for drying③ The fabric is then stretched on a delicate frame hanging up to dry.


schematic streting kimono for drying You can see how flexible rods called Shinshibari (a type of bamboo needle) are used to stretch the fabric. The fabric is held by wooden clamps at each end.
kimono cleaning boardSometimes the textile is stretched out on very long boards (note, from the front hem all the way up and over the shoulder, then back down to the back hem is one very long piece of fabric, as kimonos have no shoulder seams).


restitching the kimono④ Once washed and dried, the kimono would be remade,
araihari⑤ or rolled into araihari (洗い張り) bundles and reused.


The original Japanese page where some of above images came from can be found at Kimono cleaners, Darmaya in Hiratsuka and Wafuku, about kimono


Naturally, cleaning this way is a pretty expensive process and finding such a store can be a daunting task, even in Japan. For the cleaning fee, think about $80-$150 depending on the type of kimono, being padded and what kind of cleaning you require.
Price lists of Kimono cleaners Darmaya in Hiratsuka(jpn) or Nasu cleaning Tokyo (eng).

So what to do, luckily, we are talking about Kimono for Men, kimono's that don't have beautiful designs painted on them by hand, designs that probably (!) don't smear or fade when handled with a little bit of soap.

If the fabric is silk, it is advisable to send it to the dry cleaner or a kimono cleaner, but make sure that the dry cleaning understands the delicacy of the material an decorations.
A promising site that seems to have a lot of good advice about silk handling is TexereSilk.

If you want a more enjoyfull and informative reading about washing kimono's, check out John's attic's article Kimono Care 1 – Washing Kimono (Arai-hari).

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Washing the Kimono yourself without unstitching (maru-arai)

When your kimono cloths get stained you can (carefully) try to clean the cloth yourself, but be warned, many things can go wrong. The chance of getting a stain out of a vintage kimono without damaging it, is very low.
If by chance you have a professional kimono cleaning in the neighborhood and it is a pricey kimono, please go to the shop, if only just to ask for advice.

In other words, don't get your kimono dirty !

Warnings about cleaning the different materials:
General information about cleaning:
Some stains can be removed with benzene, but caution should be exercised, for it can sometimes leave a stain itself, and has harmful short- and long-term health effects. Other products such as Dryel, Lestoil, and Oxiclean can be tried but success will probably be limited. Better is to find a (for those with luck) specialized kimono cleaner or at least ask advice of a professional dry cleaners.

Washing the kimomo! use at your own risk !

Unfortunately, lined kimono's are hard wash yourself. The kimono shrinks and extends beyond the lining, it will look terrible.
If you have hard water, you may want to add a tablespoon of borax to the water prior to washing.

Just to prepare you, an example of a "Disaster kimono washing"
youtube thumbnail of  disaster kimono washing
かめ七呉服店の被災着物 洗濯1


1. Washing the kimono by hand

① Fill the tub with old water, filling to the brim and keep water running that it keeps slowly overflowing.
② Before putting in the detergent, gently wash by hand. Be careful this time never trodden or scrubbing!
③ Turn off the water flow and put in a very mild detergent such as Woolite or Dr. Bronner’s Baby Soap, this soap will help preserve the garment’s natural oils also make sure the detergent does not contain bleach.).
④ And once again, gently wash by hand.
⑤ Turn the water flow on so that the water becomes clean again and rinse the item until all soap residue has been removed. (Add a few drops of hair conditioner to the rinse water to keep the silk soft and flexible.)
To keep silk from yellowing, add ½ cup of vinegar to the rinse water.
⑥ Press the water out of the fabric by rolling it in a towel. Do not twist or wring, as this will damage the fabric ⑦ Hang the kimono (not in the sun) on a kimono hanger to dry completely.
⑧ Iron only when absolutely necessary. Use a cool iron with a press cloth between the iron and the fabric.

youtube thumbnail
木綿着物の洗い方 あづまや式



2. Washing the kimono in a washing machine

Check the washing symbolsCheck for any symbols, if it says no washing machine then it's better to give up this approach and check for other symbols that tell what can be alternatively used.
But basically you can wash unlined silk and synthetic in the washing machine.
Fold the kimono into the netFold the kimono so that it can be placed in a kimono laundry net to preventing friction that can damage the fabric.
Add detergentUse a non bleach (chlorine or oxygen) detergent that 'offers' hand-wash mode.
Use washing machineRun the washing machine on 30 degrees.
Run a short dehydration cycleProbably you can run a short dehydration cycle (to just one minute ?)
Hang the kimono in the shadeHang the kimono in the shade in a well ventilated room on a kimono hanger to dry completely.
Wrinkles stretch out wet, by pulling by hand
Carefully iron if neededAfter the kimono has dried and there are still wrinkels left, use an iron on low heat setting (140-160 degrees) to sort them out.
Don't forget the protective paper between kimono and iron.

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The Tabi that you wear with a kimono, how do you clean it ?

There are several stories out on the internet about cleaning tabi, since i have not yet cleaned them myself very often i will give the solutions other people found.

(for cotton tabi socks)
Hand wash gentle in cold water or machine wash (but put them in a laundry bag first so the kohaze can't catch on anything else) at cold or low temperature.
Hang dry them (machine drying may increase the chance of shrinking) taking care to arrange them neatly by hooking the kohaze into the loops to give them shape as they dry. Another option is to put them on and let them dry on your feet to make sure the right shape and size remains. Dry them in the shade.

(for polyster tabi socks)
Add them together in a laundy bag with the other white laundry at 60 degrees (or keep it at 30 degrees ?) ?

Other suggestions that are made :

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Stain removal

Here are some suggestions of removing certain types of stains from a Silk garment.
I personally haven't tried these suggestions (knocks on wood) so use it on your own risk.
Use lemon juice or vinegar to spot clean, but test an inconspicuous area first to test for colorfastness.

red wine in glas Stain removal tip : Red wine stain on silk

Garments in silk cannot be treated with salt or white wine, but with corn or potato flour.
Against remaining traces of red wine help some diluted ammonia, methylated spirit or Insecticidal soap.

mayonnaise in glass bowl

Stain removal tip : Mayonnaise stain on silk
Scrape the mayonnaise first off. Do not push to limit intrusion. Then dab with Denatured alcohol / methylated spirits.
Let dry completely and was the substance in lukewarm water with a little ammonia.

grease in pan

Stain removal tip : Grease stain on silk
You can remove a grease stain on a silk item by rubbing it with white bread or some flour.

fruit basket

Stain removal tip : Fruit stain on silk
You do remove fruit stains in a silk item with Ox-soap (ossengalzeep in dutch). Make the bar of soap moist and gently rub the stain carefully in.
Withdraw and rinse with lukewarm water.
The gall can dissolve stains because it is an emulsifier, which "dissolves" fats and proteins (protein) and is miscible with water.

grass print in form of hand

Stain removal tip : Grass stain on silk
You can remove grass stains in silk with a mixture of insecticidal soap and ammonia.
Always test first on a part that isn't usually visible when wearing.

sauce in glass bowl

When you drop some food or sauce on your kimono It is better to clean it immediately. Try to get a warm towel or dip the tissue with some warm water, press it on the dirt and pick it out carefully (do not rub it hard), when the colour of the dirt turned lighter, hold that area with your hands and dry it naturally in room temp. (do not dry it with hot iron or hair dryer)

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Some video's I have found on washing the Kimono

(though in Japanese but hopefully the video itself will give enough clues)

The basic wash
第1回 基本的な洗い

1) The basic wash
Before you wash
第2回 お洗濯の前に

2) Before you wash
Type of detergent
第3回 洗剤の種類

3) Type of detergent
Partial wash
第4回 部分洗い

4) Partial wash
How to wash a nagajuban
第5回 長襦袢の洗い方

5) How to wash a nagajuban
Drying and finishing ironing
第6回 干し方とアイロン仕上け

6) Drying and finishing ironing
ow to use a dedicated laundry net
第7回 専用洗濯ネットの使い方

7) How to use a dedicated laundry net
First-aid treatment
第8回 応急処置

8) First-aid treatment
NG collection that should not be done
第9回 やってはいけないNG集

9) NG collection that should not be done