Expert Tips to Care for and Preserve your Perfect Gown
By Brian J. Harrell, Shores Fine Dry Cleaning
Everyone dreams of the flawless wedding day, but be prepared just in case you hit a snag.
Always . . . hang your wedding gown by loops inside the gown that are connected to sturdy side seams, never by fragile shoulder seams that can stretch or sag.
Always . . . have safety pins on hand. All too often someone steps on your gown or you catch your gown on something, and pins will get you through the day. Be prepared for a broken bustle loop, torn strap, or broken zipper. In fact, full-service bridal salons often put several safety pins into the underside of your gown for just such accidents. In a pinch you can use sticky tape or even staples, but you run the risk of damaging the fabric of your wedding gown.
Always . . . order our Perfect Day Emergency Care Kit that includes pins, needles and thread, solvent, scissors, buttons and blotting towel.
Always . . . know your gown fabric in case of a spill. Your consultant at the bridal shop should be able to advise you on the fiber content and what to do in case of a spill. There should also be a care label in your gown. When you spill something on artificial fiber, it is much easier to get rid of the stain than if you spill something on a natural fiber, such as silk, because natural fibers are hollow and absorb the spill. Stains are more easily removed from synthetic fibers, such as polyester, than natural fibers like silk. Regardless, Shores recommends that unless the stain is large and noticeable that you leave it alone.
- On synthetic gowns, if you must try removal and the stain is water soluble (coffee, mud, blood, tea), dab the spot gently with cool water and air dry. Do not rub it. Rubbing hard will damage the finish of your gown. Club soda can also be effective.
- CAUTION: silks and rayons, particularly silk and rayon velvets, are water-sensitive and you may have permanent water spots.
- Camouflage spots with something white and harmless like baking soda, cornstarch or baby powder.
- Grease, lipstick, and make-up can only be dissolved by solvents like lighter fluid. However, solvents can also dissolve dyes, so test an unseen area. Again, Shores recommends leaving these stains alone until you can seek professional help.
Always . . . avoid storing your wedding gown in plastic bags or vacuum-sealed, plastic wrapped containers because plastic emits fumes that can yellow your gown and trap moisture that mildews your gown.
Always . . . ask what precautions the specialist takes to protect delicate trims and decorations on your gown and how the cleaner guards against latent stains on your gown.
Always . . . choose a specialist who will guarantee and personally process your gown, never one who sends your bridal gown away to be cleaned.
Always . . . ask to inspect your gown personally before it is put into the preservation container, which should be a completely acid-free, museum-quality, archival wedding chest lined with fabric or acid-free tissue.
Always . . . avoid storing your gown in the attic or basement where there are extreme changes in temperature or humidity.
Photo by Ashley Stone Photography
Expert tips by Shores Fine Dry Cleaning