4 Critical Factors to Keep in Mind for a DIY Wedding Dress Preservation Project
The value of your wedding dress goes way beyond the price tag on it. That gorgeous white gown symbolizes the undying love and devotion in your marriage vows and the memories locked away in every pearl, bead, sequin, and delicate lace that adorns it. To safeguard the beauty of the dress with the hope that someday, you can hand it down to your kids and grandkids, you may want to consider hiring the services of a wedding dress preservation company. Such expert services can clean the fine fabric of the gown using the methods appropriate for the particular fabric and its embellishments. They will also pack in the right kind of tissues and boxes possibly with the oxygen and moisture vacuumed out so that the dress will never yellow or tarnish.
Many women, however, prefer to take care of the cleaning and packaging on their own. If this is you, it is highly essential that you keep certain important factors in mind when caring for the dress. Here’s a quick look at a few of them.
#1 – Don’t Delay the Cleaning
Experts in wedding dress preservation advise you take care of the cleaning processes within 6 weeks of the ceremony. Like this feature on Brides.com explains, any extended delays and you may find that the stains have settled in making it impossible to get them off. Research and read up all the important information you need during the days leading up to the wedding and schedule a date right after you get back from your honeymoon. If you think you may not be able to find the time, assign the task to someone you trust to do the job as efficiently as you would have.
#2 – Ask the Right Questions
At the time of buying the wedding gown, you could check with the boutique or store for directions on how to clean the dress. The Spruce magazine informs you that according to the regulations laid down by the Federal Trade Commission, the label on the outfit should have all the important directions you need for caring for it. Make sure to read them carefully and plan the cleaning and wedding dress preservation. Ask your dress sales consultant questions like:
- What kind of cleaning solution can I safely use on the fabric?
- How are the embellishments attached on the dress? Are they sewn on or stuck with adhesive? Can the beads, faux jewels, pearls, button, or sequins come off during the cleaning?
- Do I need to remove the trims before preservation? (If the consultant recommends removing them, you may need expert assistance to put them back on after you’ve completed the wedding dress preservation.)
#3 – Collect the Supplies and Set them Aside
Having the necessary supplies in place will help you get on with the cleaning quickly. Here are some of the essentials you may want to collect for the wedding dress preservation well beforehand.
- A pair of white cotton gloves for handling the precious dress
- A bottle of virgin cleaning solvent (reused or recycled solvents may contain debris that can leave stains)
- A few brushes with soft bristles or soft toothbrushes
- Acid-free tissue and lignin-free paper or pre-washed unbleached soft muslin fabric to pack the gown
- Extra acid-free tissues to pad the dress so it maintains it shape
- Padded hangers to hang the dress to prevent creasing (creases can weaken the fabric over time)
- Plastic storage box made with cast polypropylene so you can store the gown flat (check for a recycling triangle with the letters “PP” or #5 inside it)
- Silica desiccant packets
#4 – Follow a Detailed Step-by-Step Procedure
Wedding dress preservation is a precise task that you must take care of slowly. Don’t rush it or you could miss critical steps that take away from the gown’s beauty and longevity.
- Examine the gown carefully for all the stains such as champagne, sweat, cream, cosmetics, grass, dirt, and any others. You need to be especially careful about stains that are not immediately visible like, for instance, white wine. Food and beverage spills or chemicals from cosmetics change color over time so the stains may show up months down the road.
- Test the solvent on a small area that is not visible. Proceed only if you don’t see any damage. Regardless of how bad the stains are, never use harsh bleaching agents.
- Separate the dress and accessories such as the belt, veil, and gloves. Work on each piece individually.
- Using the brushes, dab the stains gently to remove them.
- Wash the dress as directed and allow it to dry thoroughly. Any residual moisture can lead to the formation of mold and mildew that may ruin the dress.
- Once clean and dry, use wads of tissue paper to fill the bust areas, shoulders, sleeves, and soften the creases. Also, place tissues in the folds to prevent permanent creasing. If you removed any metal buttons or adornments from the gown before the cleaning, you may want to avoid reattaching them in case they tarnish.
- Wedding gowns can have heavy fabrics that weigh them down leading to tears and a misshapen look over time. For this reason, it is best to lay the dress in the box. Make sure to pack each accessory separately adding the silica desiccant packets to prevent dampness.
- Store the box in the driest area of the house where it is not likely to attract moisture or direct sunlight.
- Open the packaging and check the dress every two to three years. Refold to prevent permanent damage from creasing.
Or, Entrust the Precious Gown to the Professionals!
While you can take care of the wedding dress preservation on your own, there are several critical facets that are best left up to the experts. For instance, only a practiced eye can detect stains that a layperson would ignore. Further, many companies pack the dress after vacuuming out the oxygen and moisture. Above all, the folks at The Knot reveal that you’ll receive a certificate of cleaning that covers the cost of the services in case of damage within a clearly specified number of years. Using the right cleansing liquids, reattaching trims, and mending tears are all tasks for experienced teams.
Weigh your options carefully before getting started on cleaning the dress. Given the value of this irreplaceable memento, it may be advisable to hire the services of professionals in place of a DIY project.