Kimono washing (arai-hari)
Not your typical laundry day, kimono washing is part of traditional Japanese culture also known as arai-hari. It is a unique process where the care consists of unstitching the kimono to separate each panel of cloth before being washed, dried and sewn back together again. Taking particular care and attention to the fabric throughout this washing process ensures that the kimono is properly cleaned and will last for many years to come.
Back in the day, unstitched kimonos were washed in shallow rivers; however today, the same practice applies with special equipment that has been designed to make the process faster and easier. For instance, once the kimono fabric is washed, it is stretched on either a delicate frame, long board or flexible bamboo rods held by wooden clamps before being hung to dry properly.
It is of utmost importance that the kimono is washed properly as kimono fabric is typically made of very delicate materials, such as silk with decorative touches including hand stitching and even hand-painted designs that might be ruined if not taken care of properly. Although this might seem like a lengthly process, this teinei way and attention to detail ensures that these important garments are properly taken care of and that you are always guaranteed to have a well-washed garment. With arai-hari, we can see the true spirit of Japanese craftsmanship where no effort is spared to create the best product and experience possible.