Cleaning a Wedding Dress

by April Reinhardt
(last updated October 29, 2012)

If you are completely sure that your dress is safe to wash, you can save money and clean your wedding gown yourself. Follow these guidelines to clean a wedding dress:

  • Examine the gown thoroughly. Repair loose hems, reattach loose beads, reinforce zippers, and restitch seams. Look over every inch of fabric, noting on a piece of paper the stains you see, and the location of the stain.
  • Carefully brush away dirt, debris, and lint from the hem of the gown. If you've determined that your gown is washable, use a solution of water and mild detergent, such as Woolite, to spot clean the stains. Do not use a toothbrush or other rough surface to clean the stains, as the agitating action may harm the fabric of the gown. If you have stubborn hem stains, soak the hem in a tub of water and Oxy Clean for an hour, and then rub the stains away.
  • Continue cleaning the stains of the dress, using the list of stains you noted earlier. You could line your dining room table with a white bed sheet and place your gown atop the table, using the table as your workspace for spot-cleaning your gown.
  • Once you've completed the spot-cleaning, turn the gown inside out and clean the bodice of the gown to remove perspiration stains.
  • Run a clean bathtub full of warm water and add either Oxy Clean or Woolite. Keeping the gown turned inside out, immerse it in the tub and allow it to soak for a few hours. Agitate the water with your hands every twenty minutes.
  • Drain the water from the tub, allowing the gown to lie against the bottom of the tub, and then rinse the gown with a hand sprayer. Turn the gown over and spray rinse again and again. Turn the gown over and over at least five times to rinse away all of the soap.
  • Place several layers of bath or beach towels across the length of your shower curtain rod. Lift your wedding gown and, distributing the weight of the dress evenly, place it across the shower curtain and allow the dress to air dry. It may take several days for your gown to dry. Make sure that you change the towels when they become saturated, and flip the dress over periodically.

Once your dress is completely dry, it needs to be pressed and stored away. You can iron the dress yourself and store it in acid-free paper, or take it to a professional cleaner to press it and store it. If you take the time to care for your wedding gown, it will look brand new for your daughter's wedding day.

Author Bio

April Reinhardt

An admin­istrator for a mutual fund man­age­ment firm, April deals with the writ­ten word daily. She loves to write and plans to author a memoir in the near future. April attend­ed More­head State Uni­ver­sity to pursue a BA degree in Ele­men­tary Edu­ca­tion. ...

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