How to clean and preserve a Wedding Dress

Since it’s all about the dress, care and preserve your wedding gown.

Let’s face it. It’s all about the dress. It’s the day most women dream of–looking so beautiful in their white gown that it takes the groom’s breath away and leaves him speechless. Your gown will most likely be the most expensive dress you’ll ever buy. A study by the Knot shows the average cost of wedding dresses in the U.S. last year was $1,600. With a price tag like that, you’ll want to have it professionally cleaned and preserved so it will stay beautiful for future generations or a walk down memory lane.

Wedding Dress Care

Wedding Dress Care

A wedding gown with its luxurious fabrics, lace and beading, bodice, train, embellishment and veil, needs to be cleaned and preserved professionally to stay in pristine condition. You should take it to a professional cleaners, like Fox Cleaners in the Tulsa area, with experts who know how to care for delicate fabrics and beading. If it’s not cleaned within days of the wedding, stains and grime can set in the material, and over time, the fabric can break down and yellow.

How it’s done


A professional wedding dress cleaner will inspect the gown, identifying stains, loose embellishments and damage. Experts will scrutinize the unique detailing like lace and beads, and remove them, if needed, before the cleaning.


Experts will test small sections of the fabric, usually on a hidden inside layer, to see how the material reacts to safe cleaning solvents.

Spot Cleaning

Experts will wash the bodice, then spot clean the outer layer of the dress. They’ll focus on difficult stains like wine, food and dirt.

Soft Stain Removal

Experts will prepare the gown for soft–stain removal by putting the gown in a protective bag.


Next, the technician will clean the dress with wet cleaning or dry cleaning, depending on how the garment label says the dress should be cleaned.


After cleaning, they’ll inspect the gown for remaining stains, spot clean it again if necessary, and re-attach any beading that was removed.


Finally, the experts will wrap the dress in acid-free tissue and pack it in a sealed box. The tissue will help protect the fabric, prevent long-term yellowing and repel stains.

Read more on few common wedding dress fabrics and our recommended cleaning techniques for each.

Before and after care tips

Use a padded hanger so that the dress doesn’t stretch or get twisted. Hang it up in a dry, cool place.

Experts recommend getting the dress cleaned as soon as possible after the wedding. Brides usually wait for at least two months before getting their gowns cleaned. That’s too long. The faster you take the gown to a professional cleaner, the earlier they can work on stains and repairs, and the more likely they can make it perfect again.

On the other hand, it’s never too late. If your wedding dress has been in your closet unwashed for years, a professional cleaner can help restore it back to its original luster.

CAUTION: Do not try cleaning it yourself. You might end up doing more harm than good.

How long does it take to clean?

Cleaning your gown can take some time depending on the detailing, stains and damage. You can expect it to take up to two weeks.

How much does it cost?

Cleaning costs vary depending on the materials involved and amount of heavy beading. Dry cleaning alone will cost from $100 to $500. If you also have the dress preserved and boxed, that will cost an extra $50-$125, according the

Where do I store my dress?

Store your wedding gown in cold, dry, and dark place, away from sunlight. That can be in the back of a closet or in the basement, but not in a hot attic. Musty, damp conditions can ruin the dress.

If you want to show off your gown post-wedding, handle it with care wearing cotton gloves to keep it free from any oils in your skin.

Read More on how to best preserve your wedding dress.

Question to ask while choosing a professional cleaner

What is your experience cleaning fine garments?

Do not trust just any cleaning service. Ask if their technicians are experts in wedding gown restoration and preservation.

What solvents do you use for cleaning?

Ask about the solutions that will be used to spot and wet clean or dry clean your gown. Make sure they’re using eco-green solutions that won’t harm your skin or the earth. Double-check the garment label to make sure the solvents are allowed on the material.

How do you preserve gowns?

Many cleaners just put your dress on the hanger after dry cleaning, which won’t help keep the gown in good condition in the long run. Ensure they use acid-free packaging formed in the shape of a bust, along with a museum-quality box and wrapping for preservation.

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