Most pageant girls will tell you that one of the most difficult pageant items to keep clean is their sash. Since most sashes are white, wearing them out to appearances provides a ton of opportunities for them to get a bit dirty. People, especially children, may end up reaching out and touching your sash, leaving spots.
Miss Delaware High School America 2019 titleholders. Photo: Amelia Blaire
There's also the possibility of makeup or spray tan solution transferring onto it. Here are some tips from The Sash Company on how to clean your sash. What would you do if you encountered a child with sticky fingers?
Cleaning your sash at home
If you have a non-rhinestone sash from The Sash Company, you can simply put your sash in the washing machine. Before you do so, make sure the velcro is together to prevent it from snagging your sash. Wash your sash on delicate with no more than a few other items and it will look good as new! Allow your sash to air dry on a hanger once you're finished (do not put it in the dryer!).
Another option for a white rhinestone-free sash, like a local title from the Miss America Organization, is to use a plastic storage tub with some water and one cup of Oxi-Clean. Let it sit for an hour or two, then rinse it and put it on a hanger to dry in your bathroom. You will likely see it "whitened" right away and it will look brand new the next time you wear it.
Be careful if your sash is not from The Sash Company. These sashes are more durable than most other sashes, so if you are not sure if yours is okay to wash in the washing machine, it is better to be on the safer side and wash it by hand. When cleaning a sash with rhinestones, a bit more time and effort are needed. The Sash Company recommends using Shout, or a bleach pen if the sash is white, in order to remove any stains.
Once you apply the solution, use a baby wipe to rub out the stain. If the stain isn't too dark, you can try using just a baby wipe to remove it. Spot treatments with Oxi-Clean work really well for white sashes to take out stains or areas of the sash that have started to look dirty. Be very gentle with your sash. Often, your sash will be made of a delicate material, so you do not want to scrub too hard and damage the fabric. Spend some time and work slowly to ensure your sash stays in pristine condition.
Ironing your pageant sash
If necessary, when the pageant sash dries from cleaning it, you can iron it out, but I recommend using the iron on cool or a very low heat setting so that you don't destroy any of the details on the sash. If your sash is white, I also recommend putting a clean sheet over the ironing board so that you don't pick up any dirt or other stains that you might not realize are already present on the ironing board. Put the sheet over the board, check your iron for any stains or problems that might do further damage to your sash, and proceed carefully. Don't be distracted when you're working on this task since sashes can be stained, ripped or burned easily. I have heard of people getting their sashes dry cleaned, but personally, I have been burned by dry cleaners who returned sweaters with beading on them utterly destroyed. I'd rather save the $1.99 dry cleaning fee and do it myself rather than return and find that a favorite sash has been completely ruined by accident.
Cleaning your sash on the go
Tackling any spots on your sash as soon as they happen is the best way to prevent any lasting stains from forming. To clean your sash on the go, place a baby wipe in a small ziplock back and take it with your on appearances. This way, you can remove any spots that appear on your sash promptly. Both baby wipes and Shout Wipe and Go packets are good to keep in your purse or crown box when you are out making appearances with your title. You never know when you may spill your drink or kick up some dirt, so it is better to be prepared than walk around with a dirty sash! Keep a spot-treatment pen with you in your crown box so that you can quickly address sudden stains.
If you're able to carefully treat the stain and remove as much as possible early on, it will be easier when you do your full cleaning. As a titleholder, you're not only representing your community, but you're also representing your system. It's important to make sure your sash is always appearance ready. With these tips from The Sash Company, you can keep your sash clean at home and on the go!