by Emily McBride
(last updated December 22, 2014)
A wedding dress is a keepsake. Not only did you wear it for one of the most special days of your life, but you probably spent a small fortune on it as well. It makes sense for you to want to take care of it. There are two different types of cleaning, depending on how long ago you were married. If you were just married, you'll want to clean and preserve your dress. If you were married years ago, you may want to clean and restore your dress.
If you were just married and want to clean and preserve your dress, you need to be aware of specific areas. If you have a floor-length dress, especially one with a train, you will need to clean the bottom of the dress. Unless you were holding your dress up your entire wedding day, the bottom of your dress most likely touched the ground wherever you were. Another part of the dress that you should worry about is the inside bodice. Anywhere that your perspiration may have soaked into the dress needs to be clean, otherwise those spots will become more and more apparent through discoloration as the years go by. Make sure you look carefully over your dress for any other spots. The dress should be completely pressed before being stored.
If you want to get your wedding dress out of the closet and make it look as good as new, you will need to restore it. Some common problems are discoloration, odor, missing detail (such as beading or lace), and difficult wrinkles. The more often you get out your dress and clean it, the better condition it will be in. Some people like to keep their dress clean because it's special; others clean it so someone else, like a daughter or a cousin, can wear it.
Some dresses are easier to clean than others. How easily your dress is cleaned is mostly dependent on what type of fabric it is made out of. If your dress is made of polyester, you can safely wash your dress by hand. Tulle and polyester organza will lose crispness if you wash them, so try to only spot clean these fabrics. Silk damages easily, so it is best to leave the cleaning to professionals instead. Whatever fabric you are dealing with, do not use bleach. It is best to just have your wedding dress cleaned by a professional. Go to your local drycleaner or look online for more information on wedding dress cleaning, whether for preservation or restoration.
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