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Broadway Wardrobe Dresser Secrets Revealed

When you are a wardrobe dresser, you get pretty good at cleaning costumes and figuring out how to keep them looking as good as new. Here are some of my insider secrets from my years spent backstage on Broadway:

Spitting Removes Blood

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This may sound gross, but if you catch someone getting cut and then bleeding on a costume, have them spit on it and then rub gently. It will come right out. Please note that this is a remedy for small stains or drops of blood.

For larger bloodstains (or if this completely grosses you out), just use a little hydrogen peroxide or soak the garment immediately in hot water before washing it right away with detergent.

A Razor Is a Handy Pill Remover

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If a garment is starting to pill, get a cheap razor and rub it gently over the fabric to take the bumps right off.

Vodka Cures Odors

Vodka is the natural smelly fixer-upper. Put some in a spray bottle, and spray on anything that needs to be refreshed (armpits are a great place to start). Let the clothing dry before you let someone wear it again — you don’t want anyone to smell like a liquor cabinet.

You Can Use Baby Wipes to Remove Stains On the Go

When it only takes two wipes.


Remove stains by gently rubbing non-perfumed baby wipes on the garment.

Hairspray Takes Away a ‘Kiss’

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Well, not literally. But if an actor gets any lipstick on a white starched collar, just spray hairspray on it until it’s moist, let it seep into the fabric and then rub gently with a wet cloth. Rubbing alcohol works, too.

Also, hairspray is great for stopping runs in stockings and tights, as well as avoiding static cling.

Dryer Sheets Do Away With Deodorant Stains


Have a nasty white deodorant mark on your shirt? Take a dryer sheet to it. Rub gently, and it will come right off. A baby wipe will also work.

Sharpie Your Shoes

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Got marked-up shoes you can’t use shoe polish on? Clear up any scuff marks and stains by just using a Sharpie marker (or fabric/shoe paints). Sharpies come in an array of colors and can help make shoes look as good as new.

Use these tips to keep your costumes in tip-top shape, no matter what emergency befalls them.

What secrets can you share about taking care of costumes? Let us know in the comments below…

Written by Kimberly Faye Greenberg

Kimberly Faye Greenberg is the first and only actress to play Leading roles in 2 OFF-BROADWAY musicals at the same time. In addition, Kimberly's numerous portrayals of a FANNY BRICE have been critically acclaimed by the NY Times, Huffington Post and Associated Press and currently her solo show Fabulous Fanny Brice is touring the country. Kimberly has worked backstage as a Broadway wardrobe swing dresser on over 20 Broadway shows. As a Performing Arts Consultant Kimberly loves to inspire, educate and work with proactive Artists.

2 Comments

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  1. Please, don’t try to wash bloodstains with hot water away! Always use cold water first, because at a high temperature some enzymes in the blood will break and connect with the fabric, so it is much more complicated (or even impossible) to get the bloodstains out of the garment. Cold water will do the same as spitting (and is less gross). But the rest of the tips is really helpful (I’m a dresser myself and vodka and baby wipes are my working tools).

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