How do you clean a tutu?
The safest way to clean a tutu would be to send it to a professional tutu-maker to be cleaned and refurbished. Tutu.com offers this service, as do other tutu-makers. Cost would depend on exactly what you need to have done.
If you decide to clean the tutu yourself, the method used to clean the tutu will depend on the fabric out of which the bodice and basque are made.
You must also take into consideration that the embellishments may not be washable or dry cleanable. Tutu net and tulle tend to be made of nylon or polyester. The skirts can be dipped in a bath tub of cold water, Woolite and Oxy-Clean. However, you must be sure that the fabric used to make the bodice, basque and panty are made of washable fabrics. You can also simply spot clean the crotch and any area with make-up stains and /or sweat. Check to see if there is a tag inside the tutu recommending a cleaning method. Many custom designs will not have a cleaning tag. In that case, call the tutu-maker and ask for cleaning recommendations.
Usually, the bodice and basque are made out of the same fabric. If you suspect that they are not colorfast or might shrink, it would be safest to spot-clean them or take them to a good dry cleaner. Do not dry clean the net, as it is very likely to soften up and be ruined from the dry-cleaning process. Dry cleaning can also dissolve certain trims.
Check to see if the fabrics used for your tutu were pre-washed/shrunk.If the panty was made of cotton bobbinet that was not pre-washed, then cleaning it could cause it to shrink up to 40%. If the panty is made of powernet or polyester net, it may still shrink a little, but not as much as cotton bobbinet.
One more thing to watch out for: If the bodice is made of a bright color fabric, like red or fuchsia, the color may “bleed” onto the tutu net if washed.
For odors, you can use any of the over-the-counter products available. Keep in mind that they all tend to have a perfumed odor of their own. A better, if old-fashioned- remedy for odors in costumes is to buy some cheap vodka, put it in a spray bottle and spray it on the fabric. You can cut the vodka with water as long as the fabric is not going to spot-stain from the water.
For make-up stains, it depends on the fabric content, but Shout wipes work well on many stains. For blood, your own saliva or hydrogen peroxide are your best bets. We also like a stain remover called “Grandmas” for oily stains as well as for bloodstains.