Whether you purchased a wedding gown or are wearing a family heirloom, you've probably considered preserving it for your daughter, niece or other family member. A dry cleaner can help you preserve a wedding gown so that many future generations can use it, but there are some types of damage they can't undo. Gowns require special handing and care. After the ceremony and before you get it to the dry cleaner, there are three things you should never do to a wedding gown.
1. Don't cover it in dry cleaning plastic or use a plastic garment bag.
Even though the plastic garment covers supplied by dry cleaners are meant to protect clothes, they aren't intended for fragile garments like wedding gowns. Furthermore, these covers are only meant to protect a garment from dust or raindrops while transporting the garment from the cleaner to your home.
Plastic covers and bags actually create unhealthy environments for both synthetic and natural fibers and are especially damaging to garments that have not yet been cleaned. They keep air from circulating, and they trap moisture as well as vapors produced by the breakdown of synthetic fibers. If the gown hasn't been cleaned, mildew can form on the moisture from perspiration, stains and spills and cause permanent staining.
2. Don't try to "protect" it with makeshift materials or containers.
You might think that you're protecting your gown by placing it in a plastic storage tote or a black plastic garbage bag, but these containers can harm your gown. Garbage bags can shed minute plastic particles and transfer color to the gown. Plastic storage totes are too airtight and won't allow the gown to breathe.
Also avoid placing the gown in tissue paper, bed sheets and cardboard or wooden boxes. Most of these materials are acidic and can damage or discolor the gown. Organic materials like cotton sheets, cardboard and wood can leach acid, deposit stains and turn white wedding gowns yellow. Colored materials such as fabric or paper can also transfer dye to the gown unless they are acid-free and designed for archival storage. Keep gowns away from metal and wood objects, including wooden hangers, shelves and drawers. Store and transport the gown in the box that it came in.
3. Don't attempt to clean it.
If you get a stain on your gown, don't try to remove it. Most home stain removal methods can spread the offending substance or set stains permanently. For instance, warm water can set organic stains such as blood or grass. Blotting or rubbing oily stains like lipstick or grease can spread the stain and grind it deeper into the fabric. Even though your instinct might be to try to lessen the stain, it's best to leave it alone and let the professionals treat it properly.
If you've decided to preserve and pass on your wedding gown instead of doing a "trash the dress" photo shoot, you need to care for it properly until you get it to the dry cleaner. Don't wait to have it cleaned and preserved. Stains, dirt, oils from your skin, perfumes, light and improper storage materials can all damage and degrade your gown. Damage and discoloration will get worse with time, so make an appointment for your wedding dress cleaning as soon as possible. The future brides in your family will appreciate the care and proper handling and investment in fine dry cleaning. For more information, talk with Dry Cleaner's in Calgary.