5 Things to Know About Wedding Dress Cleaning

a row of dresses from a swinger

For an item of clothing designed to only be worn once, wedding dresses are expensive. Beautifully constructed, these dresses capture the essence of how you want to look and feel on your big day. Most brides want to hold onto their wedding dresses for decades to come and within good reason. And while you may never wear your dress again, it’s still important to clean and preserve the garment over time.

If you haven’t cleaned your wedding dress since you’ve worn it, now is a good time to remove the garment bag from your closet and learn how to properly care for this beloved item. Here are five things you should know about wedding dress cleaning.

1. Cleaning Vs. Preserving

If you sought advice on wedding dress cleaning, you likely received mixed results when it comes to establishing the best way to approach this process. Most brides prefer to clean their wedding dress and leave it at that, though some like to go the extra mile and preserve their garment after the cleaning process. Ultimately, the decision is based on your preference.

You can have your wedding dress cleaned by a professional right after your big day or several months later to maintain its beauty over time. This removes any dirt, discoloration, and staining that may have occurred throughout the course of your wedding. It’s recommended that you clean your dress right after the wedding to remove stains and to schedule follow-up cleanings as needed.

Preserving your wedding dress is an added step that most find unnecessary. This process is entirely optional but you may find you enjoy the added security it provides you. When you preserve your wedding dress, you safely pack the item away in an archival box for long-term storage. This is a good option if you want to pass along your dress to any children you may have when they get married in the future.

2. Cleaning at Home

You can clean your wedding dress at home if you don’t want to take it to a professional cleaner. If you’re looking for new ways of staying busy while at home during the lockdown, add “wedding dress cleaning” to your list of tasks for a great, time-consuming activity. Be sure to follow protocol here as you don’t want to inadvertently destroy your dress by using the wrong products. If you simply want to remove stains, spot cleaning with a durable stain remover does the trick. Test the stain remover on a small square of fabric first to ensure it reacts well with your wedding dress material.

If you want to wash the hemline of your dress, or the entire piece, soak it in your bathtub. Use warm water and a little liquid detergent and submerge the dress. You can periodically pull it out to rub the fabric together to remove deeply set dirt and impurities.

3. Store your wedding dress.

Once your dress has been cleaned, it’s time to store it in your closet. Place it back into a clean garment bag and keep it tucked into an area that isn’t easily accessible by small children and animals. You’ll want to select a safe location, especially if you’re in the process of learning how to restore a historic house and anticipate an influx of debris to come showering down from the ceiling.

The last thing you want is for your wedding dress to get dirty again after you spent all that time, money, and effort rejuvenating it. The first step toward restoring a historic house is to honor its history, and it’s important to do the same thing for your wedding dress by storing it somewhere out of the way.

4. Dry clean with a specialist.

If you choose to have your wedding dress dry cleaned, refrain from dropping it off at any nearby location. You’ll want to select a dry cleaning specialist who understands how to properly handle wedding dresses. A specialist assesses the type of material, construction, beading, and other features of your dress to determine how to best dry clean the item to perfection. It may cost more money to go this route but you’ll be thrilled with the end results and it’s worth every penny.

5. Remember, it’s essential.

Cleaning your wedding dress may seem like a frivolity, but it’s actually an essential step when committing to the purchase of this special item. If you invest hundreds or thousands of dollars into your wedding dress, you’ll want to treasure the garment and honor the memories that go along with it. Even if your dress looks fine at a first glance, many stains take weeks to fully set into the fabric. Do yourself a favor and clean your wedding dress now so it looks beautiful six months, six years, or six decades from now.

Now that you know these five essential tips for wedding dress cleaning, it’s time to dig into your closet and pull yours out for restoration!