Preserving Your Wedding Dress

For most women, their wedding day is one of the most emotion-laden days of their lives. Given that background, the sentimental value by which the gown is regarded is considerable. And the expectations placed on professional cleaners to properly care for these gowns is high.

Do Your Homework

Waiting until the last minute to select your gown is not a good idea. It is recommended that brides begin shopping at least six months before the big day. They will need the time to search for and select the gown’s style, fabric, and accessories they want.

Contemporary gowns use various fabrics, such as satin, taffeta, chiffon, organza, brocade, and lace. Many gowns are accented with delicate trims of beads, seed pearls, sequins, embroidery, lace, and applique.

Now consider the practical issues when you decide to purchase the gown, ask the salesperson about cleaning methods, both for the dress itself and for the trim. Can the entire gown be safely and effectively dry-cleaned? Wedding gowns are covered by the Federal Trade Commission’s Care Label Rule, which compels garment manufacturers to include cleaning instructions for that particular garment. But you should also ask the retailer if there is additional printed care instructions issued by the manufacturer. That is very important, because while the dress itself may hold up under dry-cleaning, the trim may not. For example, some beads dissolve in dry-cleaning solvent, which would effectively ruin the gown.

Cleaning and Storage

Wedding gowns should be cleaned as soon as possible after use. As is the case with other garments, stains and soiling on wedding gowns stand the best chance of complete removal when they are “fresh.” Regarding stains, it is critical that you identify the location and origin of every stain or spill, including beverages, foods, and body oils. If these stains are not pretreated, they may very well become permanent. And, in the event you attempted a “home remedy,” let the cleaner know exactly how you tried to remove the stain.

Given that gowns are constructed of fabrics that are quite fragile, you can take steps to minimize or eliminate damage due to perspiration. Brides might consider using perspiration shields to protect the gown, particularly if it is constructed of silk.

Many dry-cleaners offer wedding gown packaging and storage. Box storage will help to protect the gown from atmospheric soils and contamination. Even though no process or storage method can guarantee against yellowing, mildew or fabric deterioration, here are some tips brides can take to protect their gowns:

Store your gown in a cool, dry place in your home’s interior. Avoid storage in the basement or attic.

If storing on a hanger, sew straps to the waistline of the dress to relieve pressure on the shoulders from the weight of the skirt. Wrap the dress in a protective white sheet or muslin covering.

Stuff the bodice with white acid-free tissue paper to prevent wrinkles. Fabric-covered buttons, pins, metal fasteners, sponge/foam padding, and perspiration shields should be removed and stored separately.

Never store headpieces, veils, shoes or other accessories with the gown.

Inspect the gown occasionally during storage. Stains not initially apparent could appear later and should be tended to immediately.

We appreciate the opportunity to make your clothes (and you!) look and feel their very best. We look forward to working with you to keep your wardrobe at its finest.

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