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Cleaning a Wedding Dress at Home

I recently bought an Alfred Angelo wedding dress at a thrift store. It is very pretty, with sequins and such on the top. It has a detachable train, but I don't really have enough money to go to the cleaners. It is in very good shape, actually and only needs to be cleaned at the bottom of the dress, as well as the bottom of the train.


I got some price quotes to get it cleaned and the cheapest I got was $120, which is more than I paid for the dress. My wedding is next month and I would really like to know if there is a way I could hand wash it myself. If so, how do I go about doing this? Thanks.

Crystal from CA


Cleaning a Wedding Dress at Home

Could you detach the train and take it to the cleaners? You say the bottom of the dress also needs cleaned? Is the bottom a band of lace? If so, would it be possible to detach the lace, take it to the cleaners or hand wash, and then reattach? Otherwise, I would try and spot clean with Woolite or some other delicates wash in an area that you don't see to see how the fabric reacts to the cleaner. Good luck. (08/22/2007)

By Elizabeth

Cleaning a Wedding Dress at Home

If you want to try doing it yourself test a small spot on the bottom of the dress. Do this by securing (with pins) the dress on a hanger, hanging it from a high position and using a bowl of cold water with a small squirt of dish washing liquid. Test a small section of the dress in the water, swishing it to clean (or use a very soft nail brush if it is very dirty) then rinse the washed part in cold water and let it drip dry. If it turns out clean continue on the rest of bottom and iron the washed parts with a damp cloth. (08/22/2007)

By Donna

Cleaning a Wedding Dress at Home

A good dry cleaner will tell you if they can only "spot" clean your dress. Hope this helps. (08/22/2007)

By Patty

Cleaning a Wedding Dress at Home

You should be able to find in the detergent isle at your grocery store dry cleaning kits one has a bag too small for a gown, but there is one kit you can use in your dryer. I would go to a laundromat if you think the gown is too big for your dryer to clean it. Washing it would be a pain and you could destroy the gown in the process. Once your gown is done, try to get it out of the dryer quickly to avoid wrinkles. I would also put something down on the floor to keep it clean as you take it out of the dryer also try to have a blanket to put on the floor of your car to protect the gown. I know this sounds like a lot of work, but if you do not have the money this is the only way I can think of. And that is what I use instead of the cleaners for about 2 year's now and I have had good results. Good luck. (08/22/2007)


By Dar

Cleaning a Wedding Dress at Home

Depending on how brave you are try washing it in a front loading washing machine. A friend who works in a bridal shop said she does this all the time. Another friend had her dd's wedding dress that needed to be cleaned before a second reception and I asked her if she was brave enough to let me try. I sprayed the dirt marks on the hem with prewash and washed it on gentle, then hung it on a padded hanger from a high ceiling fan. That kept it off the floor while it air dried. The dress was beautiful. No damage or shrinking.

It's up to you, but if you are brave, give it a try. (08/22/2007)

By Katie A.

Cleaning a Wedding Dress at Home

It is your wedding and you only do it once.
Have it professionally cleaned. It will be worth it.

By Diana

Cleaning a Wedding Dress at Home

Are the sequins and pearls sewn on or glued on? Is the tag still in it that tells what kind of fabric it is? If all the embellishments are sewn on, you can see the stitches on the backside of the fabric, zigzagging all over and if it says the fabric is 100% polyester you can very carefully experiment with a small area of the lower skirt (maybe the back bottom edge that is usually covered by the train).

I had to alter a wedding dress for my sister-in-law. It was beautiful, but had a very large, very black, greasy stain on it. It looked like the black greasy stuff that is near the wheel and axle of a shopping cart.
I took a medium sized storage tub about 18 inches X 24 inches x 20 inches, placed it in my bathtub, and filled it about halfway with very warm (not quite hot) water. I dissolved about 1/2 cup of plain old powdered Tide detergent in it. I took a white washcloth, dipped it in the soapy water and started gently scrubbing the dirty spot, rinsing the washcloth often in the soapy water. The stain came out. Up to that point the rest of the dress was not wet or in the soapy water. When I had scrubbed the stain away I firmly grabbed the gown by the shoulder areas and just started dipping the gown down in the water, then lifting it up out of the water, then plunging it down in the soapy water again. I did this numerous times then drained the soapy water and rinsed the dress in warm water, changing the water several times.

I then carried the dress (in the tub) outdoors to my clothesline (make sure you've wiped off your clothesline so it's clean) and carefully draped it over the clothesline, keeping a close eye on it until it was dry. The flat, smooth areas of the fabric may need pressing with a warm (not hot) iron. Do not let the edge of the iron touch any pearls or sequins. They will probably melt and make a mess.

I was lucky. The dress I washed came out beautiful, glistening white, but there are no guarantees that the next one will. I was willing to take the chance because the trims were all sewn on, the fabric was polyester and white (no dyes to run) and if it worked I had just saved myself a huge job of making a new skirt and transferring all the "bling" to the new skirt.
My sister-in law, to this day, does not know I "washed" her wedding dress in plain old humble Tide.

Personally, I would be afraid to wash a wedding gown in a washer, I think even the gentle cycle could be too rough for some fabrics plus the spin cycle could easily put wrinkles in the fabric that could be very hard to iron out. That's just my opinion. It's a trial and error process and everyone ultimately has to make a choice and be willing to live with the outcome. Good luck. (08/24/2007)

By Grandma Margie

Cleaning a Wedding Dress at Home

For this kind of spot cleaning I recommend spray K2R , if you can still find it. The last time I did I bought a couple of cans. It is cleaning solution with a white powder which can be brushed off. It's perfect for a wedding dress. See if that works first. (08/24/2007)


By pamphyila

Cleaning a Wedding Dress at Home

Use vinegar to clean the dress. I had under arm stains on mine, the vinegar works. Just put it in the sun, after you apply the vinegar. It may take a few days. Re apply every day till spots ago away, good luck. (10/24/2009)

By kffrmw88

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