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So, this big day is finally here (or just around the corner) – either way, a wedding dress is any bride’s prized possession. So naturally, it’s important to keep it packed away safely, before and after the trip down the altar.
In order to keep your dress in pristine shape, you can’t just throw it into your closet and forget about it for the next 30 or more years. Here are some guidelines to make sure that your wedding dress stays looking as good as the day it was picked out.
Related Article: 10 Ideas – What to Do With An Old Wedding Dress?
Why is it important to preserve a wedding dress?
It’s a terrible feeling when you accidentally spill a drink or food onto your brand new white top or jeans. Well, imagine it happening on your wedding day!
Wedding dresses are more often than not made out of extremely delicate (and expensive) materials, which means that you can’t just throw them into the wash or attack them with stain remover. Not only that, but if you don’t pack your dress in the correct environment, you’re just asking for that ivory to turn into a tinge of yellow. And NO ONE wants that!
What Happens to Badly Stored Wedding Dresses
While you should also care for your dress before your wedding day, if you went to the right place they would have packed it up for you in the ideal manner. And given that it has not yet been worn, you shouldn’t have to worry about any lingering stains. The greater concern is AFTER it’s been worn. Without proper care, you may not even recognize your dress in a few years’ time.
One of the biggest concerns that brides face is that their beautiful white dress which they’ve dreamed of since they were little girls starts changing color into an unsightly yellow. This can happen naturally due to the breakdown of the fabric, but can also be caused by packing the dress in poor plastic materials that actively damage the dress.
Brown, rusty spots
While you THINK you are safe from stains because you only served white wine at your reception, or you quickly managed to wipe off any food spillage – be warned! These stains are the most dangerous because if not cleaned properly, they will not only set into the fabric of your dress but they will also darken over time.
No, your food isn’t the only thing that can grow mold. When packed away in an unsuitable environment which isn’t breathable, moisture gets trapped in the fabric of the dress which allows mold and mildew to thrive.
Depending on the material of your dress, packing it up in the wrong manner and leaving it to sit for months or years can cause the fabric to crease. And these can be extremely difficult to get out.
How to Store a Wedding Dress
Prepare the Dress for Storage
The FIRST step you must take – before you even pack for your honeymoon – is to get your dress to an expert dry cleaner. The longer you wait, the greater the chance of stains setting into the fabric.
Expert is the key here. They should not only be able to handle your dress with care, but also know exactly how to look for and get out hidden stains and dirt. Moreover, make sure you check the label and cleaning instructions on your dress, because they know what they’re talking about! Double check with the cleaners to ensure that they will be following the correct instructions, and that they’re using the correct detergents.
By taking these steps, you can ensure that you won’t find any darkened brown spots in a few years when you just wanna have a look and remember your big day.
Pick the Right Storage Container
The first step to packing your dress is procuring the correct box.
Ideally, your dress should be kept in an airtight box, sealed completely shut with the oxygen vacuumed out to prevent any oxidization, which can lead to discoloration. That being said, if you are unable to get a preservation box, you can opt for a regular box. You must make sure the box is secure enough to keep dust out, but is also breathable so moisture doesn’t get trapped.
Another ideal option for storing your dress is to use a garment bag. But regardless of whichever method you choose, do not store your dress in anything made of plastic. Plastic not only traps moisture which can cause mold to grow, but it also gives off fumes that penetrate the fabric and discolor the dress.
The last and most uncommon method nowadays to store a dress is in a traditional wedding chest. These are chests designed specifically to protect your wedding dress from any and all damage, since they keep out heat, sunlight and any other harmful elements.
Packing Your Dress
Now you’ve chosen what you’ll put your dress into – but it doesn’t stop there. It’s time to pack.
Before starting the process, make sure your hands and those of anyone helping you are squeaky clean. It just came back from the cleaners and the last thing you want is any new stains. Don’t apply any lotion or perfume. You can even wear gloves if you want to be extra cautious.
To prevent any damage within the storage, you have to fold your dress with layers of tissue paper in between. This keeps the fabric from damaging itself, or getting caught on any embellishments or extra accessories. You can’t just use any tissue lying around the house. The tissue needs to be acid- and lignin-free. These elements are found in most tissue and can cause the dress to discolor.
You also want to make sure you lay your dress as flat as possible when folding it, make sure to soften the folds with tissue and not put excess pressure on the fabric as this can cause creases. If you’re choosing to hang your dress, hang it by the loops inside and NOT the shoulder straps. Hanging by the straps is asking for a newly shaped dress to emerge in a few years.
If you’ve stuck to the rules of the wedding dress packing game, you shouldn’t have much to worry about. Regardless, it’s ideal to check in on your dress once a year to make sure nothing was missed. The sooner you find an issue, the easier it will be to fix it!
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you clean a wedding dress at home?
While it is not recommended to clean a wedding dress yourself, if you’re tight on time or budget, then you may attempt to clean the dress at home. There’s a few ways to do this:
- Spot treat any visible stains with a stain remover. Make sure to check the label before starting so you use a suitable product. However, this may miss the “invisible stains” – those are the real trouble makers.
- Soak the dress in the tub. You will need a bathtub, a suitable stain remover and safe liquid detergent. Disinfect the bathtub thoroughly – we’re not trying to cause any more damage than is already done. Then, fill the tub with cool water, and mix in the stain remover and the detergent. Carefully place your dress into the bathtub, and leave to soak so the chemicals can do their magic. Leave for a few hours or overnight, then rinse thoroughly.
- Washing machine. This is the least ideal option, because such delicate fabrics can be easily damaged in a machine, and you risk any embellishments getting caught and damaged. However, if your fabric is something more durable such as cotton or polyester, then this can be an ideal option for cleaning at home.
Can a yellow wedding dress be whitened?
A yellowing dress is one of the most common issues faced by brides years after their wedding. Whether or not the dress can be whitened depends entirely on the fabric. Non-silk fabrics can be saved. Unfortunately, brides who chose silk are not so lucky.
To get the yellow color out of a non-silk dress, the immediate choice might be to bleach – but that is the least suitable option. Bleach is strong and dangerous, and is likely to cause damage to the fabric. The alternative is to simply soak your dress in lukewarm water and let the stains release themselves. Unfortunately, you may find that deeply set, dark stains are stubborn and won’t go so easily, if at all.