In Korea today, a rice water solution containing starch is applied on a variety of fabrics before ironing. It is commonly used on old Hanbok & Hemp or cotton in the summer months. The application of rice starch to fabric smooths and crisps the surface while increasing the fabrics ability to resist wrinkling. The treated fabric feels cool, smooth and has a high sheen on the surface. The rice starch also provides a barrier to stains that might penetrate the cotton fabric thus making it easier to remove any stains that would attract bacteria, fungi and insects.
To make rice starch at home, finely powdered rice is needed. Either cooked cold rice or uncooked rice grain can be processed until completely smooth. In a large bucket of cold water, add the rice starch and mix until completely dissolved. Add clothes to soak for a period of time and then transfer the clothes to an empty bucket. Pour any remaining starch water over the clothes and let sit for 10 minutes, patting down clothes to ensure absorption. Then, hang up the clothes and allow to air dry, straightening them to eliminate any large creases. When the clothes are fully dry they can be ironed with a good steam iron. Use a low setting to avoid browning the starch and spray with water if needed. The clothes will have a super crisp look and feel!