The very first thing you may be asking yourself is: “Why would I ever want to try and clean my own wedding gown?” If you noticed the wear tag in the dress it says something like: “Dry Clean Only”. So if you’re thinking of doing your own gown cleaning isn’t that taking an awfully big risk. Do you want to take the chance of damaging or destroying your cherished gown?
Probably the reason you’re trying to clean your own wedding gown would be to save money. Everyone wants to save money….so let’s examine this situation a little further.
Go ahead and read your fabric labels carefully. If your wedding gown is silk or is a silk blend then don’t even attempt to clean it yourself. If your gown and the lining are polyester then it is actually possible to do your own gown cleaning.
Before you start the process you should consider: Does the dress have beads on it? Are the beads sewn on or glued on? Does the gown have sequins? Are they sewn on or glued on? You need to be extra careful if the wedding gown is beaded or has sequins.
Ok, you still want to proceed!
The dirtiest place is around the hem of the gown. You’ll need to use a detergent mix, or even “oxiclean” made into a paste. Gently scrub the dirty hem with your mixture. Next pay special attention to the neckline and “arm pits” of the wedding dress. These areas also become more soiled than other areas and tend to stain easily.
Examine the rest of the gown carefully for any other spots or stains. Some wines spots will not leave a stain but should be scrubbed as well. Cake, food or natural oils from your hands can also leave areas that need special attention.
If you are going to use a washing machine to clean your dress instead of hand washing, turn the wedding dress inside out before placing in the washer.
It’s best if you have a large capacity front loading washer. Then just place the wedding gown inside and wash on the gentle cycle.
If all you have is a top loading waster you’ll need to be extra careful. The washing action tends to twist your dress up considerably.
Something also to consider before you start this process: are you going to try and press the gown yourself or have it professionally steamed/pressed after you clean it. If you are planning on hand pressing with an iron it can be very tedious and can damage – even scorch the fabric and it can melt the sequins and some beads.
However, if you’re going to have your wedding dress professionally steamed/pressed check before and see what you will be charged. Sometimes your local dry cleaner will charge nearly as much for this gown steaming and pressing as they do for their whole preservation service. (see the article on local dry cleaning compared to professional Wedding Gown Preservation on our website).
Usually if you actually want to save money, time and stress you should consider having your wedding gown professionally cleaned and preserved.
Several companies provide a complete kit that they will send you to make it easy. The wedding gown preservation kit should contain everything you need. It should contain a shipping box, a customer invoice, and complete instructions.
You’ll place your dress in the box provided with the invoice. Seal up the box with the sealing tape and place the pre-paid shipping label on the box. Everything is pre-paid so all you need to do is take the completed package to any UPS/Fed Ex. Store.
Your dress will be shipped back to you (no extra cost) to any address in the US (whatever address you have placed on the invoice).
Go ahead and Google “Wedding Gown Preservation” and you’ll find several options. Look over the websites and prices and choose the best option for you.