Wedding Dress Cleaning and Preservation - Common Mistakes and Myths Busted

You put a lot of careful thought (and money) into choosing your wedding dress. So naturally, you don't want it yellowing or the fabric decaying over time. The best way to prevent that? Wedding dress preservation.

Wedding dress preservation is a two-part process that includes cleaning the dress and then storing it in a specialized box that prevents aging. If you're going to partake of this post-wedding service, you don't want to risk doing anything that could interfere with it actually working. So definitely avoid these common mistakes brides make while preserving their dresses.

After your wedding gown is carefully inspected, cleaned, repaired, and placed in the preservation chest, it is ready to be placed in our crush-proof, double-walled, water-resistant shipping container and safely shipped back to your home for you, your family, and future generations to enjoy.

Wedding dress preservation can keep your gown looking just as stunning as it did on your wedding day for years to come. Yet many brides still hesitate to have their dress preserved for several reasons. Here is a look at five of the most pervasive myths about wedding dress preservation. 


Common Mistakes to Avoid When Preserving Your Wedding Dress

There are lots of reasons to preserve a wedding dress. The majority of customers we serve plan to keep their wedding gown as an heirloom item to pass down to their children. We've seen a rise in repurposing gowns into other items such as veils, baby blankets, christening gowns and more. Even if you're unsure what you're going to do with your gown, preservation helps you keep your options open.

For Wedding Dress Cleaning in Melbourne check out our wedding dress cleaning services here. 

Waiting too long.

Remember that stains (even those you can't see at first) can set over time, so the longer you wait to have your gown cleaned and preserved, the more likely your dress will become discoloured permanently. Within three to four weeks after the wedding is an ideal time frame to clean and preserve your wedding dress.

In fact, many brides research wedding dress preservation companies before the wedding, so they already have a plan in place, and all they have to do is send in or drop off the gown after the honeymoon.

You are using someone who's a wedding gown cleaner but isn't a specialist.

Wedding dress preservation starts with a really good cleaning, but this isn't a task for just any ordinary dry cleaner. Make sure the cleaner is truly experienced and specializes in wedding gowns. A good pro will use multiple methods to clean different bridal gown fabrics and embellishments and can choose the right one for your dress.

Ask for recommendations and referrals, and check reviews from other customers before committing.

Storing the wedding dress improperly after the wedding.

It's okay not to rush your gown off to get preserved the day after the wedding—you're a busy newlywed. But you should neatly hang your dress in a safe place until you return from the honeymoon. You don't want to add to the stains and wrinkles by leaving it on the floor.

Many wedding dress preservation companies are mail order; you simply put your dress in a special mailing bag and have it shipped to them. If drinks were spilled on the gown, make sure they dry before you place it in the bag since that could worsen the stain as well.

For more information on how to preserve your wedding dress check out our blog.

Not storing a preserved gown correctly.

Once your wedding dress is preserved, you'll receive it in a handy box for safekeeping. Don't stash it in the basement or attic. The box should be in a temperature-controlled room (air-conditioned is best), out of direct sunlight, and away from dampness or humidity. Usually, a closet shelf or under the bed will do just fine. Preserved wedding dresses shouldn't be hung on a hanger since that could stretch the fabric over the years, especially if the gown is heavy.

The preservation box will be airtight and sealed for safekeeping, and if you open it, you risk discolouration due to oxygen exposure. Don't break the seal until you're ready to pass it down or repurpose it, or only if you're willing to have it preserved and sealed all over again.

Put your wedding dress in a safe spot as soon as you take it off.

Preservation of your wedding dress begins the moment you take it off. So while you're figuring out exactly what to do.  We recommend keeping the gown in a closet in your normal living quarters where it's protected from light exposure and extreme climates. Long-term, hanging is not a good thing because it promotes distortion of the weave. All the weight falls on the shoulders. It's fine for the short-term, up to a year. Additionally, he suggests using a padded hanger and taking your wedding dress down every so often so you'll avoid deeply embedded wear.

Do some research.

Now that the dress is tucked away, it's time to do your homework and figure out which process is right for you. This is often easier said than done. Preservation is really a misnomer because anyone can use the name for anything and so it means nothing. 

But if your gown is silk, linen, cotton, or has a leather belt and a dramatic feather skirt, it will need a bit more care before going into storage, and that doesn't involve a vacuum-sealed solution. The best that can be said about that is that it's incredibly silly. The worst that can be said about it is that it's disingenuous.  Dresses in a sealed environment will trap air. There is moisture in oxygen molecules, and that trapped air promotes a wonderful environment for mould or mildew that will accelerate the aging process. So not only is it not an evidence-based solution but when it comes down to it, this isn't a practical one either. Why save a wedding dress you can't share with future generations? 

Share everything you know about the dress.

Once you've pinpointed the right process for preserving your wedding dress, be prepared to give the preservationist as much information on your wedding day as possible, as treatment plans are developed on a case-by-case basis. Some brides jump in the ocean. Some roll around in the grass. Some get married in a rainstorm-each assignment is unique. During this conversation, don't be afraid to ask what materials they intend to use throughout the process, including the tissue tucked in the dress and the box itself. Chemical reactions with the environment are to blame for yellowing, so it's important that the materials used are certified acid-free. Acid-free and acid neutral is not the same, so make sure that the answers are specific and to your liking.

Know that it takes time and that long-term care is up to you. You can expect the gown to be cleaned and repaired before the preservation process itself even begins. Prices and timelines vary widely depending upon the service chosen, but we recommend an estimated turnaround in 14 to 16 weeks. From there, be sure to keep your gown in a temperate environment-not the attic or basement. Keep it protected from water damage and direct sunlight. Above all, remember that even the most carefully researched and dutifully carried out the treatment plan isn't a silver bullet against the aging process. 


Myths About Wedding Dress Preservation

Here, we are going to share some myths on wedding dress preservation and fact behind it so you can preserve your wedding gown or wedding dress in the best possible manner.

"I won't be able to see or touch my dress ever again"

The most common myth about wedding dress preservation is that you will never be able to see or touch your dress once it is preserved. Outdated preservation techniques required vacuum sealing the wedding dress in a bag within the preservation chest. However, this technique actually increased the fabric's yellowing. In fact, to stay pristine and true to its original colour, the fabric needs to be able to "breathe" in an acid-free environment.

What most people don't know is that when your dress is professionally preserved, you will still be able to open the preservation chest to view it at any time. You can even touch the dress and gently sift through the layers of fabric. The only thing you will not be able to do is completely remove the dress from the chest. In most cases, dresses are secured in place to protect the dress from shifting inside of the preservation chest. Most companies will void their guarantee only if the gown is completely removed from the preservation chest. This way, they can ensure it has not been re-worn. However, this should not prevent you from opening the preservation chest to inspect and adore your precious wedding dress at any time. 

"I already waited too long to preserve my dress"

Most people don't realize that it is never too late to preserve your wedding dress. Even a dress that has been hanging in the closet for several years can be easily brought back to pristine condition unless it has been damaged. Gowns that are older may require restoration services as well, which can result in remarkable improvements. Stains are harder to remove as time passes. In fact, initially invisible stains due to perspiration, white wine, or frosting can show up as brown spots over time. These types of stains can slowly deteriorate the fabric if left untreated. As a result, it's best to have your wedding dress preserved sooner than later.

"Sending my Wedding Dress in the mail is too risky"

It is highly unlikely for a dress to become lost, stolen or damaged in transit. Reputable companies will offer insurance to cover these unlikely events, which can offer more peace of mind. Wedding dresses are typically difficult to resell, making them unattractive to thieves. It is practically impossible for a dress to be lost with the tracking capabilities that exist today. What most bride's don't know is that their local dry cleaners often send off their customer's wedding dresses behind the scenes. Most dry cleaners are not wedding gown specialists and can't risk damaging someone's wedding dress. It's almost always best to use a reputable wedding dress preservation specialist over your local cleaners.

 "Wedding Dress Preservation is too expensive"

There are indeed some companies that charge over $1,000 for wedding dress preservation. However, for wedding dress preservation, of even the finest of dresses, price does usually not equal quality. There are very reputable preservation companies that are also very affordable – starting as low as $179, including three accessories (such as a veil, garter, gloves, handkerchief or purse) and insurance. Because of the high volume of gowns they handle, they can offer a lower price without sacrificing quality. Your wedding dress is likely the most expensive piece of clothing you will ever own. Why not give your investment the long term care it deserves?

"My Dress is way too expensive or delicate"

Some brides are concerned that the preservation process may damage the lace, fabric or elaborate beading on their wedding dress. However, a reputable preservation company will have in-depth expertise in cleaning even the most delicate and intricate bridal fabrics. Regardless of the price of fabric, almost any wedding dress can be safely cleaned and preserved by a reputable wedding dress preservation company.




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