Your wedding day is the biggest day of your life, and of course, every bride wants to feel special in a beautiful dress. Throughout the day mishaps do happen as emotions are running high, and it’s easy to spill food and drink onto your gown. Or maybe you’re celebrating outside and get a bit of mud on them. Either way, it’s important to know about washing a wedding dress.
Although many should be dry-cleaned, and it can be tricky to dry clean a wedding dress at home, some may be appropriate for home-washing depending on the fabric and construction. Washing wedding dresses at home requires attention to detail (and, ideally, a large wash bag), but it can be done if the fabric and any embellishments are safe to machine-wash or wash by hand.
Trust us, even years after the wedding you would like to be able to see your dress and reminisce how it took so many months to find your dream dress and how it was a big part of your precious memory about the big day. So, of course, there are many things you need to consider before cleaning your wedding dress to avoid any damage to the delicate pieces of clothing; the material used, the colour and also the intricate details or embellishment. Here are some tips on how to clean it properly and keep everything perfect.
Your wedding dress is perhaps the most important fashion investment you will make in your lifetime. Because of its significance, it is essential to clean and preserve it properly to be able to enjoy it for decades to come. According to the care label on many wedding dresses, expensive professional dry cleaning is not advised. Instead, there are several home remedies you can try that will help you clean your wedding dress from home at a fraction of the price.
If your dress is fairly simple and the fabric can take it, you can put your dress in a garment bag or duvet and stick it in your washer on a gentle cycle. My dress had a bit too much beading for this, and there was no way it would fit in my eco-sized washer so that this option wouldn’t work for me.
If you have a sensitive fabric like silk, you can also put your dress in a garment bag and dry clean it at home or do it yourself at a laundromat if it is a large, voluptuous dress.
I learned that beading and crystals could melt from the chemicals used by professional dry cleaners, which put me further off from using a dry cleaner here. There was no way I was paying for someone here to wash my dress by hand, either!
The easy option for cleaning your wedding dress used by many women is to spot treat only the stains without washing the rest of the dress.
With a large, heavy Bordeaux taffeta dress, including lace, flowers, crystals, and beads, none of the methods above were right for my dress. After researching and buying a few laundry products, here is how I got to work hand washing my wedding dress. Read the product label on the dress to find out what it is made out of. Knowing the material will help you know how best to clean it. For example, if the dress is made of satin, it can often be spot-cleaned, unlike a dress that is made of lace, which can be too delicate for this type of abrasive cleaning.
Check the label for the manufacturer’s suggestions on the best washing tips. Some might say the garment is machine washable, but this is really only an option if you have a commercial-size washer. Most will warn against dry cleaning, as this method of cleaning can damage the dress, whether by discolouration or tearing. If you have a very large tub of water, you can use it to wash your dress if the manufacturer allows machine washing.
Turn your dress inside out to test how different cleaning agents will affect the fabric. Some common home spot-cleaning remedies include vinegar, soda water, Borax and baby powder. Before risking damaging the outside of your dress, dab the inside of your dress with these materials and allow them to dry fully before proceeding with your stain removal.
Analyze the stain you want to remove. There are different methods for tackling different stains. For example, if your dress has an ink stain, spray it with hairspray and let it rest for a few minutes before wiping it with a cloth. If your dress has a champagne or wine stain, dab the area with soda water and wipe away. Food stains can be removed with a solution of 2 tablespoons of Borax to 1 cup water. Makeup stains should be sprinkled lightly with baby powder and scraped away with a cloth. Perspiration stains can be removed by filling a spray bottle with vinegar and spraying the affected area.
Dry in direct sunlight if possible. While your wedding dress is probably more durable than you would think, it is never a good idea to dry it in a machine dryer. Hang your dress on a line during the day. Hang the dress on a padded hanger to avoid causing the material to stretch. Hanging your dress inside will protect it from the elements, but if it does not dry fully, it might also mould or mildew.
Check out our ultimate Melbourne Wedding Dress Shops to take away some of the stress of finding the perfect gown.
The Do’s and Don’ts in cleaning a wedding dress at home
Do: Ask the expert
When you bought your wedding gown, you should ask your designer or shop assistant on what treatments are needed for the delicate trims and embellishment. By doing so, you won’t have to worry about ruining your lovely dress when you wash it.
Don’t: Take every matter in your own hand
Don’t assume that you know how to wash your wedding dress just because you have a dress with similar material. If you’re not a designer or a fabric expert, some treatments you choose might only damage your dress.
Do: Investigate the spot
The different stain will require different treatment. So, you need to firstly know the kinds of stain on your dress, whether it is oil or water-based.
Don’t: Treat every stain the same
Don’t clean your dress without first finding out the type of stain. You might end up with worse dress condition without cleaning the specific spot well.
Check out our post on How do you take a wedding dress on a plane?
Do: Handle it with care
Many little parts need more attention, especially if you opted for a dress with complicated details; guipure or embroidered with sparkling gemstones. These materials need hand-washing. However, if you find it troublesome, just go to your nearest trusted laundry service and ask them to clean it for you.
Don’t: Dump everything in the washing machine
With such a beautiful and delicate piece of dress, choosing just to wash it using your regular washing machine is definitely not an option. If you do so, it would surely bring a big disaster to your dress.
Do: Dry it correctly
After you’re done with the cleaning, always hang your wedding dress with the loops provided in the dress. It will keep your wedding dress in shape perfectly. If you want to use a dryer, ask the professionals on the best setting. If you end up washing the dress yourself, it’s better if you could dry it outside.
Don’t: Simply hang it
Don’t try to hang your wet wedding dress without using its loops because it will surely ruin your wedding dress shape and, if it is ruined, it’s hard for your dress to get to its initial shape.
Do: Understand the fabric
It’s crucial for you to know whether your dress was made 100% polyester or silk. If it’s silk, then you should wash it using only lukewarm water, because too hot or too cold water can cause silk to stretch or shrink.
Don’t: Use bleach to your ‘white’ dress
There are many different shades of white; porcelain, frost, or ivory. Don’t bleach your ivory dress just because you see hard-to-remove stubborn stains unless you want to change your ivory white dress to chalk-white purposely.
Your wedding dress is probably the most precious item of clothing you will ever own, so of course, you’re going to want to make sure it’s always in great condition. By using a combination of wedding dress stain removal and full washing methods, you can get some great results.