Belly Dance Costume Smells!

The audience may like to think we're glamorous goddesses who glow rather than perspire, but unfortunately that's not the reality - and that means sweat soaks into the fabric of costumes.  Heavily embellished costumes can't be washed and some can't even be dry-cleaned, so what on earth do you do?

Prevention is better than cure, of course:

  • Take your costumes out of their bag as soon as you get home and hang them up to air and dry fully.
  • If you have a clothes steamer, run the steamer over your costume the next day.  The steam will kill the bacteria which cause the odour and make it less likely to return.
  • Pack them away with something to absorb any lingering moisture.  You can save the silicon packets from  products you buy, or make your own packets with a mixture of rice and baking soda.

If you know you perspire a lot, you may want to add a cotton lining inside your bra and belt which you can change easily.

But what if the costume is already smelly?  Perhaps you've left a costume packed away without airing - or maybe you've bought a costume from another dancer.  How do you get rid of the odour?

A good first option is simply to hang the costume in strong sunlight for several hours.  Sunlight will remove moisture AND disinfect.   If that's not enough, try a supermarket odour-killing spray like Febreeze, (after checking to make sure it doesn't stain your material).  Apply a generous spray, then leave the garment to air for a few hours before checking the result.

Still not quite gone?  Some dancers swear by vodka - mix it half-and-half with water in a spray bottle, spray lightly and leave to evaporate.  Vinegar (especially apple cider vinegar) is also popular.

Note:  if the costume has been worn to dance in restaurants, then sweat may not be the only smell.  Kitchen and food odours may be clinging to the fabric all over, so don't assume you only need to treat the inside.

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