How to Preserve and Clean
The big day is over, and there lies your beautiful dresses that you spent a lot of money on. Rather than placing it on a hanger and shoving it in the back of the closet to yellow, you might want to go for cleaning your gown and displaying it in a nice box. After all, someday your daughter might ask you if she can wear it.
The best possible way to thoroughly clean a dress before storing it is to take the dress to a high-quality, professional cleaner that specializes in wedding attire and evening gowns. However, if the gown is still very clean with only a few small stains, there are ways a person can treat or spot-clean the dress at home.
- Determine which fabric the wedding dress is made of. If the garment is silk, lace or a vintage gown, it's better to have it cleaned by a professional.
- Inspect the dress thoroughly to locate any stains, including stains from perspirations, foods, liquids and makeup. If the wedding dress is full-length, the hem will most likely have collected dirt.
- Use a white, dry, absorbent cloth to gentle bolt the satin after applying an appropriate cleaning fluid, as described in the next step. Before applying any liquid or cleaning agent to a stain, test it on a less visible section of fabric to avoid discolouring the dress.
Apply hydrogen for wine, sweat and blood stains. Hydrogen peroxide can bleach fabrics, however, so don't let it sit on the fabric for too long if the dress is any colour other than white. For ink stains, apply a light spray of hairspray. For oily stains such as makeup or food, apply a dry cleaning solvent or a mixture of soap and water.
- After blotting up as much of the stain as possible, apply a few drops of white vinegar and blot again. Next, flush the area of fabric with water, blot again and then allow the area to dry.
- To clean a dirty hem, soak the hemline for a few hours in warm water mixed with detergent, being careful to keep the rest of the dress out of the water. With a toothbrush, gently rub the hemline with the sudsy water to loosen all dirt. Flush thoroughly with water.
- Don't hang a wedding dress on a hanger to dry after spot cleaning it. Wet fabric is heavy, and the dress could stretch or rip. Instead, place the dress over a clean drying rack. The rack should be plastic coated or vinyl coated, as splinters from a wooden one could tear the dress or rust from a metal one could stain the dress.
If you take as much care in preserving your dress as you did in choosing it, it can be enjoyed as a family heirloom for generations to come.
- Save the bag your dress came in, or bring along a plastic bag to protect the dress en route to the cleaner.
- Select a professional dry cleaner, preferably one that specializes in formal gowns. Ask for recommendations from friends and your bridal shop or seamstress.
- Get the dress to the cleaner as soon as possible after your wedding.
- Alert the cleaner to any stains - a drop of bubbly, a smudge of lipstick from that first kiss - as well as to any ornaments that were glued rather than sewn on (these pieces are prone to fall off during the cleaning process) and to loose stitches. This information will ensure that your cleaner can give your dress the best care possible.
- Ask your cleaner for a special acid-free box to store your dress in, and pack it in acid-free tissue paper. You can also hang the dress by the bodice by sewing straps that are a bit shorter than the bodice onto the waist, placing on a padded hanger and wrapping in a clean white cotton sheet.
- Store the dress in a temperate, dry place, out of direct sunlight.
- Inspect your dress on each anniversary to check for any discoloured areas or missed stains and to allow your dress to "breathe."