Your wedding dress is probably the most expensive piece of clothing in your wardrobe. It has a lot of monetary value, emotional attachment, and fond memories attached to it. But in a snap of a finger, your precious dress could be permanently damaged by stains. Your gown’s fabric is delicate and needs proper handling so that it can last for many years.
While some brides rent out their gowns immediately after saying “I do,” others prefer to keep their gowns. They have the dress altered into a cute cocktail attire or keep it stored away for their daughters to wear on their special day.
If you want to preserve your wedding gown, these techniques will help you clean and store your precious dress properly. Remember that these kinds of gowns cannot be washed like regular clothes.
Most clothes have cleaning instruction labels attached to them. Look for that label on your wedding dress and follow all the instructions. You can also consult with your dressmaker on dry cleaning instructions, including the best solvents to use and how best to dry clean the dress.
The instructions will also tell you if you can iron the fabric after dry cleaning. You can also research how to best store it. When taking this special dress to a dry cleaner, choose one who truly understands the process.
Weddings are filled with drinks, food, and makeup, all of which might stain your dress. Some stains are hardly noticeable, but they become stubborn stains when left to dry on the dress for some time. Waiting for weeks to clean your dress after the wedding could cause more damage because the stains set in permanently.
Although your dress might still look clean and spotless after your big day, make sure you clean it before storing. A good dry cleaner will remove makeup, food, and drink stains. Since your dress is likely long enough to touch the floor, dirt or soil should also be removed from it.
A professional wedding dress cleaner knows the right places to clean. The cleaner should also check for hidden dirt and stains around loose trims and buttons. They thoroughly clean all of the gown’s parts, including the veil.
When your dress is clean and dry, the cleaner will preserve it in an airtight bag. However, ask to see your dress before storage so you confirm that the gown is yours and all the stains are removed. Also, ensure that the wedding gown is completely dry before storage to prevent mold growth.
Once it is ready to store, the cleaner puts it in an airtight bag to prevent oxidation. First, oxygen in the bag is removed and replaced with nitrogen. Oxygen causes oxidation on clothes, which leads to aging and discoloration.
Once sealed, store your gown in a dark and dry place. Natural and artificial light is not suitable for the gown’s fabric because they weaken and damage it. The light also fades the material and could make it turn yellow.
You should also avoid storing your wedding gown in a plastic bag. These bags hold moisture which can discolor the dress or lead to mold and mildew, causing permanent stains.
When storing the dress in the airtight bag, do not throw in the jewelry, metal buttons, or other decorations. These could tarnish and stain your special dress forever. When buying a storage box, get the biggest size to ensure fewer folds. It reduces fiber breakage caused by creases as well.
You should never break the seal once your dress is stored in the airtight bag. However, if you do, have it once again stored in airtight bags.
If you want to preserve the entire look for your wedding day, don’t forget to store the shoes and preserve the bouquet. You can gently scrub your shoes with a cloth and sponge or simply take them to a dry cleaner for professional cleaning. If your shoes are made of leather, polish, dry, and wrap the shoes with white tissue before storing.
Preserving your bouquet can also be done by coating the flowers in wax or by drying and displaying in a frame.
If you don’t live near a professional dry cleaner, you can DIY preserve your wedding dress. However, note that this approach is not as efficient as taking the gown to professionals.
When handling the dress, always wear white cotton gloves. Wash the dress using a soft-bristled brush. Some stains are hard to remove, and you might be tempted to use bleach. However, wedding dresses are made of delicate fabric weakened by bleaches with harsh chemicals. Simply go over the stains diligently until the dirt is completely removed.
Once cleaned, make sure your dress is completely dry before storing to avoid mold growth. Use acid-free white tissue paper to wrap the gown. Don’t forget to stuff the bust and sleeves with tissue, as this will keep your dress’ shape even when stored away for so long.
Also, place the tissue paper on the layers of the dress to prevent permanent creases from forming. You can also store the dress in an acid-free container and add silica desiccant packets to absorb all moisture.
For storage, choose a dark and cool area in the house to ensure the dress is not exposed to direct sunlight. Avoid using a hanger on the dress because it is heavier than everyday clothes. When the weight pulls the dress down, its shape will get distorted.
An ideal way to store your dress is by laying it flat on a secure surface. Avoid placing the storage box directly on the floor because plumbing problems may occur, causing dirty water to stain the dress.
If you are going on a honeymoon immediately after the wedding, ask your maid of honor or any trusted friend to take care of your gown. Simply request that they drop it off at the dry cleaners for proper cleaning and preservation.
Wedding dresses are expensive, and they hold a lot of emotions and memories. If you want to keep your wedding gown for many more years, consider taking it to a professional who provides preservation services for wedding gowns. You could try DIY methods, but for something as precious as your wedding gown, a professional will guarantee the best results.