After your big event, you may want to preserve your wedding gown properly to pass down to your future generations as an heirloom, or you may decide to sell it off second-handed.
Whether you used your bridal gowns for wedding photoshoots, or for your wedding day, it can be hard on a gown. Therefore, it is important to properly clean and store your wedding gowns as soon as possible after wore to ensure your gown remains in its best condition. After all, over the time, stains will set, gown may turn yellow, and the fabric could be damaged.
The most common problems require a wedding dress for cleaning are:
Depending on the gown fabric, professional cleaners may use either dry-cleaning or wet-cleaning. Check your bridal gown care labels carefully, as it usually specify which type of cleaning will be best for that particular gown. The manufacturer’s directions should take precedence.
Things you should know before deciding on wet/dry-cleaning:-
Wet-cleaning is simply cleaning with water and has several advantages.
If your bridal gown fabric and lining are polyester, you should easily be able to clean your own wedding dress by hand-washing it carefully.
If your gown is polyester organza or tulle, consider spot cleaning only. Many polyester organza and tulle fabrics lose their crispness after any kind of cleaning.
For silk fabrics, professional dry-cleaning is recommended
Most dry-cleaning uses Perchloroethylene (known as Perc for short), the petroleum based solvent -Stoddard formula or Hydro-carbon, or the Greenearth (a silicon based solvent). Dry-cleaning fluids will not remove food stains (such as sugar, wine or soda), so remember to point out any stains to the dry-cleaner so that the dress will be pre-treated.
If your gown fabric and lining is silk/rayon/acetate but does not have beads or sequins you should be able use a dry-cleaner that uses Perc. That will be a plus if the dress is really dirty, as Perc is the best degreaser. Stoddard formula or Hydro-carbon, or the Greenearth will be the safest for silk/rayon/acetate dress with beads and sequins. It is not advisable to use Perc as this chemical is more likely to damage sequins and beads, or melt the glue if they are glued on.
A very experienced dry-cleaner will know how to protect the sequins and beads on your dress.
Also, you should find out if the cleaner will be using a freshly distilled or virgin solvent for your dress, because old solvent often picks up oils from previous garments that causes the “dry cleaner” smell. Your gown should have no odour after the dry-cleaning process.
Follow these recommendations for worry-free wedding gown storage:
It’s perfectly fine to remove the dress from storage and air it out once every couple of years to check its condition. Wearing white cotton gloves will help preserve it from oil stains of your skin. To help prevent permanent creasing on the fabric, boxed gowns should be refolded into a different position every 2 – 3 years.
NOTE: DO NOT KEEP WEDDING GOWNS IN PLASTIC BAGS OR VACUUM SEAL!!
Most plastics give off damaging fumes that actually promote yellowing to the gown. But, even with proper care, some fabrics may still be impossible to prevent all yellowing. Generally, silk fabric yellows more than synthetic fabrics, such as polyester, rayon and acetate. However, nylon, which is a synthetic, has a tendency to yellow more than other synthetic fabrics. Gowns that can be wet cleaned have an advantage, in that if they do yellow, they may be able to be whitened for future use with a fabric whitener.
If you are getting a hoop petticoat as your gown underskirt, this is the simplest way of folding and storing it for smaller space storage and easier transportation:-
STEP 1:Holding both ends of the hoops flat with hands facing in opposite directions
STEP 2:Turn your right hand in clockwise and left hand in counter-clockwise directions simultaneously such that the hoops become a shape of “8” .
STEP 3:Immediately folding two circles of “8” towards each other, pressing it down to a circular shape.
Practise the fold once or twice you will get the hang of it. It’s pretty much like folding a car sunshade!!
Here is a video from youtube showing the steps.