Monday, May 6, 2013

DIY: How To Clean a Hair Bow

I'm pretty sure, no, I'm positive that dirt is naturally attracted to clean objects. Especially when it comes to our children! Much like the sock monster hiding in the dryer the dirt dilemma is an unsolved mystery.

Let's say you just purchased an adorable bow to perfectly match her outfit and now it has dirt, ketchup, spaghetti sauce or some other exotic condiment stuck to it. Or maybe it just has lots of dirty finger prints on it that have quickly turned her white bow gray. 

"How can I clean my bow without destroying it?" you ask.

Good news, my friend. I HAVE THE ANSWER! And I'm sharing it with you today!

Today I am focusing on how to clean a grosgrain (grow-grain) hair bow. Grosgrain is the most common type of bow available. It's a great ribbon because it's durable, easy to work with, lasts forever, and still looks feminine and girly. Grosgrain hair bows are perfect for every pretty princess and bow lover alike.  The bad news is that grosgrain has lots of ridges. The kind of ridges that like to collect dirt and grime. If you choose to use these instructions on more fragile materials such as satin or organza please know that your bow may lose its shape and or have water spots and end up looking worse than when you first started.
This is the texture of grosgrain ribbon. See the ridges?

I've seen people recommend putting bows in garment bags and washing them in the washing machine or placing them on the top shelf of the dish washer on the gentle cycle. I've had many Unbowlievable bows survive the washing machine (and dryer too) but because I'm a bow guru and know exactly how bows are put together I think these methods are a crapshoot. You might get lucky and have your bow survive one time and you might not be so lucky the next. In my opinion, it's not worth the risk. The cleaning method I'm about to show you will work every single time.

Start with a good cleaner. Spray evenly over entire surface of the bow and then focusing on trouble spots.  I HIGHLY recommend OxiClean Baby! I love it because it's fragrance, dye and chlorine free. This stuff usually ALWAYS gets the stains out (think all baby stains not just dirty hair bows). Just keep in mind that it's powerful and if you leave it on any material for too long it will eat holes in your clothes and bows! Trust me. I learned the hard way!
I usually purchase my OxiClean Baby at Babies R Us but it's carried in many stores.

Let the solution soak into fabric for 5-10 minutes.
NOTE: You do NOT want the solution to dry onto the fabric before you've rinsed it so make sure you have enough solution on your bow that it won't completely dry out in 5-10 minutes.
Spray with solution. Focus on stains.
Let bow soak for 5-10 minutes.

No matter what the size of your bow you don't want to scrub too hard or you could pull threads in the ribbon and ruin the look of it.  You want to use your thumb and fingers to to rub the stains away.
Rub ribbon between pointer finger and thumb to work out dirt and stains. If there are stubborn stains repeat steps 1-3 until the stains have been lifted.

After you have gently worked the dirt and stains out of your bow you will need to rinse off the cleaning solution. You can get the entire bow (clip included) wet so no need to be cautious. I run mine under the kitchen sink.

Once your bow is clean and rinsed you will need to dry it. I recommend blow drying your bow instead of letting it air dry because if it air dries it may be shapeless and flat. If you blow dry it you can form the ribbon with your hands and as it dries it will have much more shape. 

1. Be careful not to burn your fingers while blow drying. That sucker gets hot!
2. Do not overheat the bow! If you make the bow too hot the glue may begin to melt and the bow could detach from the clip.
3. Be cautious when handling the metal clip. Keep in mind that metal gets hot very quickly so please be cautious when handling it.
4. Overheating ribbon can cause it to brown PERMANENTLY! Remember that you're drying it, not frying it! 

Congrats! You're done! You've just cleaned your hair bows!

If this tutorial was helpful for you I'd love to know! Leave me a comment below or post pictures of your little ones in their newly cleaned hair bows on our Facebook page! It'd also be AMAZING if you would share this tutorial with your friends and family! Tweet about it, Share it on Facebook or Pin it on Pinterest.

Do you have questions about bows that you'd like to have answered?  Leave them below in the comments and I'll do my best to answer them in an upcoming blog! 

As always, if you're in the market for NEW hair bows stop by my website



  1. Very well done! I have forwarded the info to my daughter.

    1. Thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed it and I appreciate you passing it along! If you or your daughter have a chance to try this method let me know how it works for you!

  2. Hey babe wld this method b applicable to cleaning the vara bow (grosgrain) on my ferragmo shoes? However I won't b able to run the bow under a running water though. Thanks and appreciate ur reply!

  3. Hey babe wld this method b applicable to cleaning the vara bow (grosgrain) on my ferragmo shoes? However I won't b able to run the bow under a running water though. Thanks and appreciate ur reply!

  4. Thanks. I thinks this is specially useful for girls who has hair bows

  5. um.. It seem that I get a good skill on how to clean Hair Bow

  6. It seems much beautiful this Hair Bows after it's cleaned.