Wedding Dress Cleaning and Preservation Summary
Wedding Dress Cleaning Summary
Wedding dress cleaning and preservation should be top priority after your wedding. Procrastination can delay the proper care to remove food, perspiration and even body oils that can oxidize into brown spots. Yellowing will occur if your wedding dress is stored in an acidic environment.
When looking for a cleaner, remember that Percloroethylene (Perc.) is the most common dry-cleaning solvent but can damage beads and sequins on wedding gowns. Wedding dresses without beads and sequins can be safely cleaned with Perc. Perc is the best degreaser of the available dry-cleaning solvents, and may get your hemline cleanest. If your wedding dress has beads and sequins then wet-cleaning or the Stoddard, Hydro-carbon, Greenearth solvents are safest.
Look for a cleaner who uses virgin solvent to clean their wedding gowns. Virgin solvent is new or newly distilled solvent. It will clean best and will not leave an odor. Dirty solvent will leave a “Dry-clean smell”. Try to find a cleaner with a lot of experience with wedding gowns, especially if your wedding gown is silk. Bridal shops may be able to give you a good recommendation.
Point out any stains or spills to your dry-cleaner, even if they don’t show. Dry-cleaning fluids will not remove water based substances including sugar (such as alcohol or soda), so your wedding dress will need to be pre-treated if you know there are any of these substances on your gown.
If your wedding dress and lining are polyester, wet cleaning should be safest and most effective for cleaning. Check your care label carefully, and note if there is a hand wash or dry-clean only label, or the symbol for wet cleaning.
Wedding Dress Preservation Summary
To keep your wedding dress in the best overall condition wedding dress cleaning and preservation with archival materials will assist you to…
- Prevent yellowing
- Prevent permanent creasing
- Reduce the risk of mold and mildew
- Prevent oxidation spots
- Protect against light and dust
Wedding gowns kept in plastic are at greatest risk for yellowing because of the chemical fumes created by most plastics. So get your wedding gown out of any plastic or vinyl storage bag right away. However, it may be impossible to prevent all discoloration even with the best care.
If your wedding dress cleaning and preservation is a Box method, be certain that it is acid-free, lignin-free and unsealed so that you can refold it periodically (2 – 3 years) to protect it from permanent creases.
Acidic environments will yellow your wedding gown. So all preservation materials should be acid-free and lignin-free to prevent yellowing. Lignin is not acidic but releases acid as it decomposes. So a box that is acid-free but not lignin-free will become acidic in a few years.
Hanging wedding dress preservation in an acid-free bag is excellent protection against mold, mildew, permanent creases developing. It also does not need the refolding maintenance that boxing requires.
Both box and bag wedding dress preservation will protect your wedding gown from dust and light. All preserved wedding gowns should be stored in a climate controlled environment and not in the garage, basement or attic where temperatures fluctuate or in closet adjacent to exterior walls (unless you have a newer home with a vapor barrier).
Inspecting your wedding gown occasionally ensures that it remains in the best condition. The sooner problems are discovered, the more likely they can be fixed.
*Disclaimer: Check your wedding dress care label carefully. The manufacturer’s directions should take precedence. Our advice is given in good faith but is without warranty.