Your wedding; that wonderful sweeping romantic event that starts your life down the path of discovery of your eternal love with your new husband.
And let’s face it; you, as the bride, were the spectacular centre of attention and beauty at that event. Indeed, weddings are designed to accentuate the bride and yours did exactly that, didn’t it?
Why Clean And Preserve Your Wedding Dress?
Of course, a huge part of accentuating your beauty was your wedding dress. This is now one of the most important gowns in your life; loaded with memories, memories of the search for it, the trying of many until you found the perfect one you fell in love with, the memories of the delightful day of the wedding and the fun had by all at the reception after it.
And now you want to preserve those memories forever.
Why do it now?
So now that happy day is over and relegated to your storehouse of wonderful memories.
After the excitement and stress of the wedding and all things leading up to it, most brides just want to kick back and relax a bit. They are in honeymoon mode!
Although the best intentions are to deal with the cleaning of them very soon, over half of all wedding gowns suffer the same fate at this time. They are simply folded and stuffed back into the box from whence they came. Only this time, it is not the brilliantly clean and crisp garment it was when it came out. Stains both visible and invisible remain lurking on the fabric to do their damaging work. About 4 to 5 months later, the bride or mother of the bride finally may decide to do something about it.
However, damage can already be present from these stains after only a few months. Yellowing and browning can occur within just a couple months. Stains can also migrate to other places on the garment. After the wedding, immediate attention to the garment is of utmost importance.
With all the details preparing for the wedding and reception, it would be a shame to cut this level of attention to details short in relation to your beautiful wedding dress.
You wouldn’t want to inspect your dress months or years down the road only to find it is too late to do anything about its deterioration.
The Grit And Stains Assaulting Your Dress
With all the beauty and grace at your wedding, there was grit and dirt there too as well, wasn’t there? How could there not be? It is almost a certainty that your matrimonial dress was assaulted and violated by some foreign grime.
In and out of the car (or limousine), the floor length hemline of your gown may be caught in the door, picking up grease! If it is left sticking out of the door during the trip, then heaven knows what you picked up in terms of road dirt. Simply walking across lawns and parking lots, dirt and grass stains may be ground into your hemline as well. And this can happen just during the wedding photographs!
Then, of course, there is the reception.
Eating, drinking, dancing, talking and bumping into people, sober and otherwise. Of course, this is the occasion of yours and your husband’s nuptials where you are the centre of the celebration and everyone wants to have a piece of your attention! Your friends and loved ones close to you wanting to touch, grab, pull and tug you and your gown. And who knows what your beautiful bridal attire picked up in the washroom? It is inevitable; some undesirable stain is going to be slopped, ground or otherwise transferred onto your bridal gown.
There will be the visible grime of course; grease, road filth, grass stains, dinner and dessert blotches, colourful drink splashes, and maybe even some mysterious makeup intrusion.
Then there is the invisible and insidious soiling; champagne, sugars and colourless alcohol. Even your own body can betray you with perspiration which can introduce acids, body oils, salts, ammonia, enzymes and bacteria to the fabric of your gorgeous gown. These stains are all unseen until they yellow after a time.
What’s more is all of these stains can be transferred to other parts of your garment if left alone. It is absolutely best to address the cleaning and preservation of your wedding dress immediately.
Other Dress Damage
Of course physical damage can occur as well such as stepping on the garment hemline, by both you and others. Dancing, bending and tugging will stretch and stress the seams in your waist, bustle, sleeves and neckline. Your delicate endowments such as lace, embroidery and beading on your matrimonial dress, sequins, belts, sashes and jackets can easily be damaged by the events of the day.
A Quick List Of Troubles For Your Wedding Dress:
- food, drink and make-up smudges and stains
- ground in dirt
- grass stains
- yellowing and browning
- ripped and stretched seams
- permanent and unwanted creasing
- bad odour
So what do you do to keep these undesirables from damaging your wedding gown?
Here Are 9 Easy Tips You Can Do On Your Own (after cleaned by a Professional):
1. Don’t store your dress in a plastic bag including dry cleaning bags and the bag your dress came in when your purchased it. Good only for transport or short term storage, the plastic in these bags will exude chemical fumes that can damage your dress over a period of time.
2. Store your dress in a box with tissue; both the box and the tissue completely acid-free. Don’t be fooled by boxes promoted as acid-free, when all they have is an acid-free coating.
3. Seal the box with tape. This can help prevent unwanted fingers from handling your dress, curious pet investigations and bugs and other pests from making themselves at home in your matrimonial gown.
4. Although promoted by some cleaners, do not use a vacuum sealed bag.
5. Once cleaned and preserved, store your gown in a cool dry dark place. Your basement can be damp and will promote the growth of mold and mildew. Your attic can get very hot and promote yellowing. The ultraviolet in sunlight can accelerate the deterioration of the delicate fabrics in your wedding dress.
6. If you are storing your dress long-term on a hanger, be sure to sew some straps to the waistline to reduce stress and stretching on the shoulder straps. Again, no plastic. To use what’s called a muslin covering or white sheet is the best.
7. Prevent wrinkling in the bodice by stuffing it with acid-free tissue paper.
8. Take your garment out from time to time to inspect it for stains that may appear over time. This way you can address them immediately before they cause irreparable damage.
9. Be generous with tissue when packing the dress to prevent permanent and unwanted creases from occurring.
What Process Does a Qualified Wedding Dress Cleaner Use On Your Dress?
Every dress is different; from a simple dress to a complicated designer full length wedding gown. The design, construction, and the use of various fabrics and accoutrements sewn, weaved and otherwise attached to the ensemble is all important in the determination of a proper cleaning and preservation plan.
Of course, the knowledge of all visible and invisible stains and how to remove them is absolutely important as well.
Every dress should be individually inspected by the cleaner, preferably with you or someone you trust in attendance. Your intimate knowledge of the dress and of the accidents resulting in the stains and other damage is paramount to getting the job done right.
A thorough investigation of the entire garment is essential to identify the stains both visible and unseen. A black light should be used to identify the invisible ones.
The fabrics and the various stains in them will determine the most precise treatment to be used on your dress.
The hem should be inspected for dirt and grass stains.
The gown should be inspected for tears and other damage. In addition to recognizing these for repair considerations, this inspection protects both the bride and the cleaners. Both you and the wedding dress cleaners will be aware of all damage to the gown before the cleaning begins.
It is critical as well that you make sure you are not using a cleaner that is a mass-production wedding dress cleaner. Your gown is unique and should not be involved in an assembly line affair.
Once you have selected the best wedding dress cleaner for the cleaning and preservation of your family heirloom, the first thing they should do is approach the stains that require special attention with the appropriate cleansing agents. The hemline should be soaked to deal with its stains. The sugar, salt and acid stains in the garment should be hand-cleaned. Inspections between the cleanings to ensure the removal of the stains is critical and may have to be repeated several times.
Whether your gown will be dry cleaned or wet washed will be determined by its fabric content. Some gowns are entirely made up of silk; some entirely of polyester or other materials. Many are made up of a combination of a couple or several of them! Even though most dresses have cleaning labels, they are not to be trusted because sometimes they are simply wrong. The cleaner should test all fabrics to ensure proper treatment.
Like the spot treatment, there should be an inspection done post-cleaning to ensure as perfect as job possible.
Before final packaging of it, you should be invited to inspect the dress yourself. This way you can see that the cleaning and preservation was completed to your standards. This also eliminates surprises down the road when you unpack your garment and find something wrong. If there are further touch-ups to be done, it is easier to leave your dress there, than to bring back to the cleaner for corrections.
Wedding Dress Preservation
Once you have made the final approval, then your gown should be layered with the acid-free tissue. It should then be packed into an acid-free box. There varying boxes at varying prices for your pleasure.