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How to Maintain Batik and Make it Long Lasting.

Updated on December 22, 2010
Parang rusak batik
Parang rusak batik

Many people keep batik as art pieces (and UNESCO has also given its acknowledgement to batik as a world heritage in 2009) in their collections as investment. For those investors the older and well preserved the batik in their collection the more valuable.

Ann Dunham, President Barrack Obama's mother, was one example of an avid batik collector.

Other people like to wear batik due to their elegant designs and attractive motifs. For those people their precious batik will only be worn at special occasions like wedding or formal receptions, religious services, state ceremony, etc.While for ordinary occasions like going to work they also like to wear batik although not the exclusive ones.

For both purposes above, batik maintenance plays an essential role.

Quality batik, specially hand made batik (locally called batik tulis) or combination between other patterns with hand made type, are made of natural materials like bee wax, gondorukem (resins of pine trees), and resins of trees belong to Shorea sp.

Batik with its beauty and uniqueness as a fashion material has been utilized in various designs world wide. The elegant colors of batik need proper treatment and maintenance so that their uniqueness, attraction, and value can be restored for a long time.

Batik Stamps
Batik Stamps

Kinds of Batik

Based on the techniques in batik making, there are five kinds of batik :

Batik tulis (Hand made batik)

Combination batik (combination of hand made and stamped batik)

Batik cap (stamped batik)

Batik cetak (printed batik).

Batik cabut (combination of hand made and printed batik).

Among those kinds of batik, hand made batik is the most appreciated due to its intricacy and exclusivity  in design and in the making.

Batik cleaner made by KAO company.
Batik cleaner made by KAO company.
Patchouly  plant
Patchouly plant

Here are some tips for batik preservation.

Batik Washing.

Batik should not be washed using washing machine . Washing machine may damage the fiber and colors of batik, so hand washing is recommended when you wash your batik.

Batik colors, specially of the handmade batik, are made of natural dyes. Those colors can't stand chemical detergent we normally use for our daily laundry. There is special detergent to wash batik which are made from natural materials like klerak or soap fruits (scientifically named Sapindus rarak) or Nilam or patchouli leaves (Pogostemon cablin).

Squeeze some soap fruits or patchouli leaves in water until they make foam. Add some water if necessary. Soak batik in it and hand squeeze it, particularly at areas where you think is dirty.

If you can't find soap fruits at the market, you can buy ready for use batik cleaner (which are actually contains those natural ingredients) at the stores downtown.

Hang batik on a hanger inside out. Gently straighten it out to uncurl the wrinkled parts on the wet batik.

Don't dry batik under direct sun to avoid bleaching effect of sun rays,but put it hanged under shady place with flowing breeze instead.

For batik which is made of silk fabric, dry wash is more recommended.

Batik Ironing.

When ironing batik, do it on the inside part of it. Direct ironing on batik motif is not recommended.

If direct ironing has to be done due to strong wrinkles, spray some water, then put a layer of fabric as a transitional layer to protect batik from getting direct heat from the iron.

Batik Keeping and Maintenance.

Wrap batik and put it inside a transparent plastic bag.

If the area where you live is a favorable place for moths to live, there should be prevention against it. To ward off those disturbing moths you can put some peppers and wrap it with a piece of tissue paper. Put it in the plastic bag where you keep batik.

Wearing Perfume on Batik

Alcoholic perfume may give negative effect on natural color of batik. Put a layer of fabric on batik area where you want to apply the perfume and spray it on the layering fabric .

I hope that those tips will help maintain your  batiks to be always in good condition, vibrant, and valuable.


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    • swaradila profile image

      Swaradila Weesy 4 years ago from Cirebon, Indonesia

      The important thing about washing batik is at the first till three times we wash it. Batik cloth has to be soaked by the water only for about two hours to fall off the wax residue. This process is must do and don’t worry the quality and color will not be damaged because it is not faded process. Then we should use that guidance above to keep the quality. Best regards! ;)

    • Jamie Brock profile image

      Jamie Brock 5 years ago from Texas

      I have seen some very beautiful batik designs.. Thank you for this information on how to take care and preserve the fabric... I think I just may try to make some of my own batik. I think it would make beautiful printed curtains and bedding, too! Voted up and useful!

    • Truckstop Sally profile image

      Truckstop Sally 6 years ago

      My Mom was quite artistic, and she loved creating batik and tie dye. I have a few of her pieces, and I appreciate your information on preservation.

    • agusfanani profile image

      agusfanani 6 years ago from Indonesia

      @Peggy W: Since many batiks use natural dyes so knowing how to preserve it is essential so that our batik becomes long lasting. Thank you very much Peggy, I always like your comments.

      @Freya Cesare: Washing batik using fruit soap (locally known as klerek) is better than using bath soap to maintain its attractive colors. Your comments on this hub is highly appreciated, sis.

      @marshacanada: I'm sorry to know it, you can use something milder than soap like shampoo if there is no soap fruit to wash batik.

    • marshacanada profile image

      marshacanada 6 years ago from Vancouver BC

      Batik material is so lovely. I had some and ruined it because I didn't know how to wash it. Thanks for your hub.

    • Freya Cesare profile image

      Freya Cesare 6 years ago from Borneo Island, Indonesia

      Salam, Brother.

      Fruit soap? What kind of fruit soap? Is it like those fruit soap for bath? Because the last time I bought batik the seller told me to wash it with bath soap if I don't have Batik cleaner.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 6 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Batik offers very unique designs in fabrics and your information about the different kinds of creating them and also care of these special fabrics is appreciated. Rating this hub useful. Thanks!

    • agusfanani profile image

      agusfanani 6 years ago from Indonesia

      Thank you very much for positive comments my friend, I'm glad that it gives something new to you.

    • SweetiePie profile image

      SweetiePie 6 years ago from Southern California, USA

      Batik is beautiful, and I did not know Barack Obama's mom liked to collect it. That was a piece of trivia that I think makes your article very interesting, and a good attention grabber.