When a dry cleaning service is not available for you, cleaning a formal dress can be difficult. This guide is about cleaning a wedding dress.
How can I get a 30 yr old wedding dress white again?
Bee from LA
Some of the cleaning methods on this site are very worrisome. Please check out a website that I just found. They have a "museum" method of cleaning and storage that makes more sense. The name of the company is "Heritage Garment Preservation" 1-866-268-GOWN or www.HeritageGown.com/restoration I have been searching for information to clean and preserve my Mother's 62 year old wedding gown and to display it at my daughter's shower. Good luck to all
Help! My wedding is in 7days now and I just pick up my wedding dress from the dry cleaner and my dress are still have yellow spots because its old! Is there something I can do or should I just buy I new one?
Any ideas for how I can clean my dress? I attached the stock photo of it.
Thanks so much!
By Stephanie from Anchorage, AK
Gorgeous dress! I'm sure you can use some type of fabric steamer to deodorize and get small specks of dirt out. If you know anyone who has a hand held shark steamer that would be perfect since it has a fabric attachment. Good luck, and what a thrifty find!
After my daughter's bridal portraits were made, we noticed a few blemishes on her gown; including grass stains. We took the gown to the bridal shop that it was purchased from for suggestions and the owner pulled out a container of Clorox "Bleach free" disinfectant wipes and proceeded to clean every blemish; even the grass stains. She stated it could even be used on colors. I never would have believed it if I had not witnessed it firsthand. Needless to say, I now keep these wipes in my home and office just for this purpose. If you are skeptic and I wouldn't blame you for being so, with your wedding gown, try this on another piece of clothing in your wardrobe. Congratulations on your upcoming marriage. Remember, if you try this, bleach free wipes.
How would I go about cleaning an old wedding dress (30+ years) at home? Could I use the Dryel and do all the metal and buttons need to come off?
By Pam C. from Appleton, WI
What is the dress made of-chiffon, silk, shantung, satin, velvet, what? Is there beading or delicate embroidery on the dress-it's not just buttons and metal that can cause a problem in cleaning as lustrous beading and embroidery likely contain metals also, to add the lustre.
How much fabric is in the dress-is it going to be extremely heavy (and thus unmanageable) when saturated with the cleaning fluid? Read the Dryel label to see if you can clean your fabric with it, and don't be surprised at any disclaimers absolving them of responsibility should the cleaning job be unsatisfactory-there may be hidden stains from spills, perspiration, etc, that cleaning will unfortunately expose for all time.
If you can afford it, a professional fabric restoration service would be the best way to clean an heirloom wedding gown.
Please don't try to do this at home. Likely this dress is sentimentally valuable to you-invest in having it professionally cleaned. Go to a cleaner that specializes in cleaning antiques and can then package it in a box and tissue that is archival quality.
My sister-in-law gave me her gorgeous wedding dress to wear and I love it, the only problem is it has dark red embroidery and my future hubby and I do not want red of any sort in the wedding. Can a dry cleaner bleach out the embroidery to make it white? The fabric is 100% polyester as is the lining.
By Anna A
Be sure to ask before you do anything to alter the dress! She may have loaned the dress to you or even given the dress to you but, she may not expect you to alter it in this matter.
The red embroidery floss may be able to be bleached but, it will never be white, and there is a very large chance that the bleaching process will ruin the material in the area of the floss. If you are insistent on using the dress and changing the red floss, do not skimp by taking it to a discount person! Take it to a company or business that has proven success in altering material.
Another option would be to have the entire dress dyed which could change the red to a different color but the dress would not be white.
How can I clean my wedding dress at home?
By Diana from Lincoln
You'll ruin it if you try and clean it yourself. Please take it to a professional dry cleaner.
I agree with MCW. It's too important to take chances.
The only other thing I can think of is using Dryel, that home dry cleaning kit. I use it all the time and about the third time around have my clothes professionally dry cleaned.
But again, don't risk it. I know it's expensive, but if you ruin it at home, you might have to buy a brand new wedding gown and that'll be really expensive.
Do you guys know how to whiten dresses that have yellowed with age because I want to be able to wear my mother's dress for my wedding?
By Sveta from West Springfield, MA
How to safely restore the white to the dress depends on the fabric. It also depends on your budget, professional restoration is pricey and skyrockets the more detailing like beading, flounces, netting and/or lace, etc, there is on the dress.
At home, all cotton wedding dresses can be carefully soaked then washed in lukewarm water with a gentle soap+a whitening agent like OxyClean or a laundry 'blue' product. Some cotton wedding dresses have lace or net made from synthetic fibres and may not clean as well as the natural fibres, so make sure any lace or net detailing has been done with an all cotton fibre.
Carefully follow the product measuring directions-you use less product in hand washing than in a machine. Too much product in the hand wash water makes a lot harder to completely rinse.
And because even a 'simple cotton wedding dress' will usually have fragile detailing like embroidery and/or beading, it's best to do this by hand in a sparkling clean and well rinsed bathtub. The large space of the bathtub will ensure plenty of room for the many yards of fabric in even the simplest vintage wedding gown to be completely covered with water-the fabric should be able to float loosely during the soaking and washing. Use a very gentle squeezing from neckline to hem, over and over and over again to work the soap and whitening agent through the fibres.
Be sure to rinse well to get all the soap and whitening agent out of the fabric as the residue can cause the fabric to still look dingy and pressing will make things even worse by ironing the residue into the fibres.
Drain the wash water, gently squeezing the excess soapy water as the water drains. Refill the tub with cool water and gently swish and squeeze the gown in the rinse water-repeat the draining and refilling the tub until the rinse water is no longer soapy when you gently swish and squeeze the fabric.
Squeeze as much of the excess water as you can from the dress, then put sections of it between thick absorbant towels and press to remove more of the water. Then place the dress on a flat surface out of the sun (use a clean spread out bed sheet or comforter to protect the gown from the surface you lay it out on). Hanging it may cause distortion of the shoulders and hem, so avoid that if you can.
If the dress is silk, natural fibre satin, or a synthetic like polyester, rayon or taffeta, really your best hope for restoring the white is a professional dry cleaner who specifically advertises expertise in restoring antique and vintage wedding dresses. Again, this can be an expensive option but is the best and usually safest way to ensure your heirloom gown is wearable for your wedding.
Be sure to get all the details of the promised work in writing from the dry cleaner so that you have recourse in case the dress is ruined-it has happened to brides and the only time the courts will award damages is if there is a written promise agreeing all the details.
Make sure you read all the fine print before signing and before leaving your dress; take good photos of the dress before leaving it with the dry cleaner, too.
I need help! I recently took my wedding gown to the dry cleaners and they told me my dress had too much bead work to be dry cleaned there and that the colour may run and ruin the white. They showed me what they were going to put it in and it looked like a glorified front loader washing machine. I need to wear the dress again for a parade in two weeks and am unsure how to get it clean!
I would call some more dry cleaners and find out who has experience in cleaning wedding dresses with bead work on them.
How do I get a stain out of my wedding dress? It is white satin and lace. The stain is along the bottom, It's probably grass and mud stains.
Andreadjulian from Kettering, OH
If it is washable - there is great stuff called ZOUT - which was orginally made for grass stains on things like kids sports uniforms - Try it on a small are before you clean it otherwise - Most "satin" nowadays is polyester - yours probably is, too - & easier to clean than silk -
I use one scoop of Oxy Clean (or other brand thereof) to 1 cup warm water in a spray bottle I bought at the dollar store. DO NOT shake to mix as it will bubble and fizz. Once the powder is mixed, spray on the stain liberally and blot up excess with dry towel.
This has taken care of countless organic stains problems and also works GREAT for pretreating laundry, cleaning windows of "dog nose spots" (followed by standard window cleaner to get rid of streaks), and so many other pre-treat issues that we've had. It's by far more cost effective than over-the-counter treatments, and isn't just a uni-tasker!
Mothering is my chosen profession.
Proud mother of:
one Heavenly Angel (3/14/04 - 3/15/04)
one Earthly Angel (11/10/04)
one Angel in the Making (1/17/07)
I have a satin wedding dress that has had its train walked on by the family dog. A few muddy paw prints are in place. The wedding is in a few weeks. Please help.
Oh wow! The bride must be in a complete panic! I would try the dry cleaner first. They'll be able to let you know if it's even possible to get the stains out.
You can try one of these methods, too, if you're on a tight budget:
But I'd really consider having a professional do this job.
I am trying to figure out how to clean my mother's wedding dress that I have, still in a box for almost 70 years. It is made of a slipper satin fabric and I'm afraid to give it to a dry cleaners. The lace veil is rotted and I had to throw it out, but the dress seems to be pretty sturdy, I just don't know how to clean and store it. Any advice is appreciated!
By Mary Moo from Wilmington, IL
I would look in the phone book and see if you can a dry cleaner that specializes in wedding dresses and special occasion dresses. I wouldn't try anything myself. (10/18/2010)
I would call all of the bridal stores in your area and ask them which dry cleaning service they would trust the most (you're bound to hear at least one dry cleaners name more than once) and pay the extra for the special tissuing and storage boxing that the ultimately chosen specialist dry cleaner recommends/offers after the cleaning is done. (10/20/2010)