To that, my mom told me a HORROR story this weekend about a customer of hers whose daughter took her dress to a cleaners and they RUINED IT. Can you imagine? To add insult to injury, this was not a budget bride, this was a $5K and up dress, that was RUINED, it was a one of a kind, gone, poof just like that. I tell you this not to scare you, but so you ask for a reference before you go through with it. Ask friends who they trusted their dress to and ask LOTS of questions.
Here is how the cleaning and preservation process work:
- Find a dry cleaner that advertises expert cleaning of wedding gowns. Ask the cleaner if he/she uses different solvents on gowns than on regular clothing. Standard solvents are too harsh for wedding gowns. These gowns must be cleaned with the gentlest cleaners in an acid-free environment.
- Ask if you can see the dress before it is packed. That way, you can see for yourself if all visible stains have been removed prior to storage.
- Wedding gowns should be stuffed with clean, acid free tissue. Acid-free tissue placed between the folds of the dress and stuffed in the bodice will prevent permanent wrinkles and folds as well as help stabilize the environment of the box.
- All shoulder pads, perspiration shields, and anything else made of foam should be removed from the gown. These materials don't have a good shelf life, and when they deteriorate, they can ruin the material next to them.
- Also, avoid packing your gown with plastic or metal buttons, pins or buckles. You should NEVER keep mothballs or crystals near your gown, since the chemicals in these products can ruin the fabric over time. The gown may be wrapped in muslin and folded neatly into a cardboard box.
- Never hang your wedding gown for long-term storage and never seal the box completely. The gown will need proper air circulation. Once your gown is cleaned and boxed, store it in a closet or under a bed.
- Don't put the gown in a hot attic or a cold basement. Extreme temperature changes can also damage your gown.
- Don't be afraid to take your gown out of the box and look at it from time to time. That way, you'll be sure the most important dress of your life is successfully standing the test of time. The gown should be refolded to prevent permanent creases and white cotton gloves should be worn while handling the gown to prevent oily fingers from making contact with the fabric.
- The cost of professionally cleaning and storing your dress can range from $75 - $600, depending on its size, fabric and detailing.
No other garment will ever mean more to you than your wedding gown. Whether you choose to pass it on to your daughter or simply keep it as a permanent record of your wedding day, your gown deserves special attention. By cleaning and storing it properly, you will have a lasting and well-preserved memento that you can treasure forever.