Maintain the pristine condition of your gown, ensuring it looks as fresh as the day you purchased it, even after the rigors of an entire ceremony and reception, by following these expert tips.
While your wedding dress may appear flawless when first worn, it’s common to discover a few stains after the festivities conclude. White and ivory fabrics, being susceptible to stains, are particularly prone to showcasing imperfections. Bridal gowns undergo various activities during the few hours they are worn, including eating, drinking, dancing, and socializing, making it nearly inevitable to avoid staining the ensemble in some way. Therefore, having a grasp of how to clean a wedding dress becomes essential if you plan to store, preserve, donate, or sell your gown post-celebration.
When seeking the optimal cleaning method for your gown, it’s crucial to acknowledge that wedding dresses pose a greater challenge than regular clothing, especially if they feature lace, tulle, or intricate beadwork. Additionally, the cleaning approach can influence whether your dress retains its original allure or sustains damage. While opting for professional cleaning is typically the simplest solution, it doesn’t rule out the possibility of cleaning the gown yourself if the care instructions permit.
Regardless of whether you opt for professional or DIY cleaning, we’ve consulted with two experts to provide exclusive insights on what you need to understand. Continue reading for valuable guidance on cleaning your wedding dress, ensuring it retains a brand-new allure long after you’ve said “I do.”
Breyana Wright serves as a personal and professional fashion stylist and also the CEO of Styled by Breyana.
Sarah Ghabbour is the founder of Loved Twice Bridal, a posh bridal consignment boutique situated in Los Angeles.
DIY Wedding Dress Cleaning
While the idea of self-cleaning a wedding dress may seem daunting, it is indeed feasible and offers a cost-effective solution for brides. According to Breyana Wright, the founder of Styled by Breyana, “While certain wedding dresses may necessitate professional help, the majority can be effectively cleaned using just four basic items: steamer, toothbrush, laundry detergent, and a stain remover. Additionally, the bathtub is noteworthy, as it becomes essential for soaking the dress.”
Ready to begin? Keep on reading and follow the steps below to restore your dress to a pristine condition, all from the convenience of your home.
Manage the stains
Even if you believe your gown emerged relatively clean, it’s advisable to scrutinize it thoroughly for any stains, allowing you to promptly address them post-celebration. According to Wright, considering that a majority of wedding dresses are notably long and frequently come into contact with the floor, the likelihood of stains is virtually inevitable.
She suggests addressing stains with a stain remover, highlighting that white vinegar or baking soda can be effective alternatives. “While applying the stain remover, it’s prudent to place a paper towel beneath the stain to prevent it from permeating other layers of the dress,” adds Wright. This preventive step guarantees that the stain won’t transfer to a different section of the dress.
Begin the cleaning process
Wright advises starting the cleaning process with the hemline and train of your dress, as this area tends to accumulate the most dirt and is the most challenging to clean. Begin by filling your bathtub with warm water and a mild detergent. Submerge the hem and train, allowing them to soak for a few hours. If a more thorough cleaning is needed, delicately scrub the hem with a toothbrush and detergent after the soaking period.
Proceed to clean the bodice, which is generally easier than the lower part of the gown. Wright recommends preparing a mixture of warm water and a gentle detergent in a spray bottle for the bodice. Turn your gown inside out and, while in this reversed position, gently scrub the bodice with an unused toothbrush for effective cleaning.
Wash and Finish
After deeming your gown sufficiently clean, Wright advises draining the tub and refilling it with warm water to thoroughly rinse off the detergent from the dress. She suggests gently swishing the dress to eliminate any remaining soap, emphasizing the potential need for repeating this process several times until all the soap residue is removed. Once the dress is free of soap, hang it on a curtain rod for drying, as its weight may be too much for a standard hanger. After the dress has completely dried, use a steamer to carefully remove any wrinkles, and store it appropriately.
Get Your Wedding Dress Professionally Cleaned
When dealing with delicate dresses susceptible to damage or alteration if improperly cleaned, opting for professional cleaning should be your primary consideration. Ghabbour emphasizes that gowns adorned with intricate details like embroideries and lace appliqués necessitate a specific cleaning approach, and seasoned dry cleaners possess the expertise to handle the task without subjecting your gown to experimentation.
For a reliable cleaner, Ghabbour suggests perusing online reviews and seeking recommendations from friends or family members who have had positive experiences with gown cleaning services. In cases of uncertainty, she advises reaching out to the bridal boutique where you purchased your gown, as they likely maintain a list of trusted vendors.
An alternative worth considering is wedding dress preservation—a meticulous process involving the cleaning and proper storage of a white gown to ensure its enduring quality over the years. While this option may incur higher costs, preservationists with expertise will not only clean your wedding dress but also address any issues and carefully package it for prolonged storage.
Mistakes to Avoid While Cleaning Your Wedding Dress
Mistakes in the cleaning process can significantly impact the future appearance of your dress, and the primary error to avoid is delaying the cleaning procedure. Whether you opt for self-cleaning or seek professional assistance, it is crucial to initiate the process within a few days of the wedding to prevent permanent stains.
According to Ghabbour, leaving your gown in a bag for weeks or months expecting it to retain its original look is a mistake. If you’re heading for your honeymoon immediately after the wedding, entrust a reliable family member or friend with the responsibility of delivering your gown to the cleaners promptly. The turnaround time plays a pivotal role in the effectiveness of cleaning, as stains can set into fabric fibers shortly after appearing.
Moreover, if an unexpected stain surfaces on your wedding day and you attempt an emergency spot cleaning, Ghabbour advises against using a fizzy drink as a quick fix. She notes that sugars in drinks can worsen the stain, making it more challenging to remove. Instead, gently blot away any excess fluid and accept the presence of the stain. Enhance the longevity of your cherished gown by entrusting it to professionals. Consider Wedding Dress Preservation, a trusted name in preserving the beauty of bridal gowns. Visit their website Trusted Wedding Gown Preservation for expert cleaning services tailored to ensure your gown remains impeccable for years to come.
By taking your gown to them untouched immediately after the wedding, it stands a better chance of successfully eliminating the stain. When uncertainty arises, trust the expertise of professionals. And while you’re here, explore our curated selection that seamlessly blends tradition with modernity, offering a range of styles to suit every bride’s unique taste.
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