For many women, getting the perfect dress is a crucial part of their wedding day. Choosing the right gown to get married in is a tough decision and it's often an expensive purchase - you've got to get the one
after all! With that in mind it makes sense to protect and preserve your dress once the day is over. You may want to hand it down to future generations as a family heirloom and making sure it remains in tip top condition is easy with the right care.
We spoke to Peter from The Wedding Dress Cleaners
who gave us some tips on how to clean wedding dresses and why you should prepare them for storage. With over 60 years experience in specialist dress cleaning Peter has the following advice for women looking to store their dresses long term...
1. Clean your dress before it goes into storage
It is imperative that your dress is cleaned and all possible stains are removed before thinking about storing your dress. Untreated stains and patches of dirt will set into the fabric over time and become impossible to remove, so the sooner you have your dress cleaned the better.
Check the cleaning process recommended for your dress and, before you commit to having it cleaned, ascertain whether the company you have chosen is qualified to deal with the material. You also want to check that your dress in insured against damage before cleaning commences.
2. Once cleaned, package your dress carefully
There are 5 potential issues
that can arise when a dress is stored improperly:
- Mildew - this usually occurs when a dress is exposed to changes in temperature/humidity and is especially likely when stored in a polythene bag.
- Dust - over time dust can settle on the fabric and become a permanent stain.
- Fading - exposure to light can cause fading in certain areas.
- Oxidisation - exposure to air can cause uneven discolouring.
- Fabric yellowing - much like oxidisation this occurs when packing materials are unsuitable.
Therefore to ensure that your dress is stored correctly it's important to pack it in an appropriate box. This means selecting the correct size so as not to squash and overly crease your dress - harsh creases can become permanent over time. The dress should also be wrapped in acid-free tissue paper and stored in a pH neutral box to allow the fabric to breathe (while protecting it from light, dust and air).
If you are storing your wedding dress for a short period, acid free tissue paper should be enough however a box will add extra protection (and give you peace of mind).
3. Place silica gel packets in the box
Silica gel packets (the little bags included in new handbags and shoes) will absorb any moisture in the air and protect your dress from mildew.
4. Find an adequate place to store your packaged wedding dress
Storing your dress in the loft is not advisable as it's the one place in your home that is prone to extreme temperature fluctuations. Good places for storage might include in a suitcase under the bed or in a wardrobe, ensuring the box isn't squashed.
5. Check the dress and change packaging
Checking your dress every 1-2 years is a good idea as it means you are able to adjust the storage settings if required. It's also a good idea to replace packaging (like the tissue paper and silica gel packets) to ensure your dress remains fresh. If the box shows any sign of damage it should also be replaced.
Peter's overarching advice is that your dress should be clean and kept away from light, dust and exposure to the air. Following these simple steps isn't guaranteed to keep your dress looking brand new but will certainly preserve your dress for future generations to enjoy.
If you have any tips of your own, do feel free to leave us a comment below!
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