soo.. These stays are not taking as long as I thought they would - which, in a way is a good thing. In another way, however, it makes me question why I haven't started my new pair!
One side is done but because they were handled so much for the hand sewing they have to be washed.
To wash a set of stays you must ensure what whatever is in your stays for the boning can stand up to water.
Its very simple to wash your stays, actually! Just get your laundry room sink washed out well, fill it 1/2 way with warm water and a little laundry detergent then add your stays. Don't froth them around the tub, gently move and flex them allowing the water to get into the fibres of the the stays and outer lining. This gentle movement should remove any dirt that's landed on them.
rinse your stays off with warm water again, you don't want it hot - if your stays have been pre-washed and dried you shouldn't have an issue but hot water can cause a small amount of shrinkage, especially in canvas and cotton ticking. rinse and repeat.
If your stays are REALLY dirty (you ate PB&J, played in the sandbox AND worked in the garden then came in and worked on your stays - you deserve to be hit soundly on the head and live with your dirty stays) let them soak in the warm water bath for about 30min to an hour and then repeat the gentle movements until your stains are gone.
do NOT ever use bleach. Bleach can damage the wood boning and the protective coating on metal boning. Bleach also weakens the fibres of a material, burning them away - the more often you bleach something the weaker it becomes. Stays are one thing that really do need the strength. bleach may also eat away the hand stitching - ruining your stays and costing you lots of money for a new pair
so - in conclusion, always wear your shift with your stays. not to mention it will be a million times for comfortable with a shift between you and your stays, the shift is easily washed and keep the dirt away from the stays.
hope this helps everyone!