I recently bought a wedding dress. The bodice is lace with pearl beads. It is really dirty, like a shopping cart was rolled over it several times. The skirt is unadorned, but has some dirt marks on it also. How do I clean the beads, lace arms, and bodice without destroying the dress. It says polyester, dry clean only. Any thoughts?
Jennifer from Boston, MA
If you will look at the page showing your request you will see (in green letters) the phrase "related links". Click on the one that says "cleaning a wedding dress at home". You can read my earlier response and find out how I did it. Good Luck. (01/15/2009)
OK, so I subscribe to the "cure 'em or kill 'em" theory of laundry. So take this with a grain of salt. However, I read the post about OxyClean, which sounds very good. If you were to decide that you needed to put the dress in a washer, I would turn it inside out (to protect the beading), then put it in a large mesh laundry bag (to prevent it from getting twisted or otherwise distorted. Then I would presoak it, then put it in a front loading machine that has no agitator. I have washed beaded sweaters, etc. like this with no ill effects. Theoretically, if it's 100 percent polyester, it should be fine. I would avoid the dryer at all costs, though.
Good luck. (01/17/2009)
By Gina J.
I swear by OxyClean for delicates. I usually boil a tea kettle of water, pour that over the scoop of OxyClean in a bucket, swish to dissolve, add some more hot tap water, and then the item I wish to clean. I would probably pretreat the really dirty spots with Shout or something first. I'd let it soak overnight then squeeze gently and put it in a large laundry bag and wash on delicate. I agree with Gina. If it doesn't get clean enough to wear what good is it. I wash very delicate lace that my grandmother made 80 years ago this way and it turns out nice. (01/17/2009)
If the dress is 100% polyester you can wash it with Woolite or any gentle cleaner. I just washed my beaded wedding dress by filling the washer halfway with warm water and adding the Woolite. Then I hand scrubbed the really dirty areas around the skirt by putting a little bit of Woolite and gently rubbing the fabric together until the dirt was almost gone.
I agitated the material around myself and did not turn on the machine because it would be too harsh on the fabric. When it was clean, I switched the machine on and let the water drain out. I rinsed it twice by filling the machine again, hand agitating, and draining. I put the dress on a drying rack because if you hang it, the weight of the water will stretch out the fabric and make the dress misshapen. Mine is clean and beautiful. Best of luck to you. (01/17/2009)
I have used a cleaning product on yellowing lace on my 25 + year old wedding gown as well as an heirloom christening gown. It will clean dirty items and brightens without chlorine bleach, it's called Sharon's Solution. It's the best stuff I've ever used. It cleans everything but gently, even antique lace.
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