Your wedding dress is perhaps the most important fashion investment you will make in your lifetime. Because of its significance, it is important to clean and preserve it properly to be able to enjoy it for decades to come. According to the care label on many wedding dresses, expensive professional dry cleaning is not advised. Instead, there are a number of home remedies you can try that will help you clean your wedding dress from home at a fraction of the price.
Read the product label on the dress to find out what it is made out of. Knowing the material will help you know how best to clean it. For example, if the dress is made of satin, it can often be spot-cleaned, unlike a dress that is made of lace, which can be too delicate for this type of abrasive cleaning.
Check the label for the manufacturer's suggestions on the best tips for washing. Some might say the garment is machine washable, but this is really only an option if you have a commercial-size washer. Most will warn against dry cleaning, as this method of cleaning can damage the dress, whether by discoloration or tearing. If you have a very large tub of water, you can use it to wash your dress if the manufacturer allows machine washing.
Turn your dress inside out to test how different cleaning agents will affect the fabric. Some common home spot-cleaning remedies include vinegar, soda water, Borax and baby powder. Before risking damaging the outside of your dress, dab the inside of your dress with these materials and allow them to dry fully before proceeding with your stain removal.
Analyze the stain you want to remove. There are different methods for tackling different stains. For example, if your dress has an ink stain, spray it with hairspray and let it rest for a few minutes before wiping it with a cloth. If your dress has a champagne or wine stain, dab the area with soda water and wipe away. Food stains can be removed with a solution of 2 tablespoons of Borax to 1 cup water. Makeup stains should be sprinkled lightly with baby powder and scraped away with a cloth. Perspiration stains can be removed by filling a spray bottle with vinegar and spraying the affected area.
Dry in direct sunlight if possible. While your wedding dress is probably more durable than you would think, it is never a good idea to dry it in a machine dryer. Hang your dress on a line during the day. Hang the dress on a padded hanger to avoid causing the material to stretch. Hanging your dress inside will protect it from the elements, but if it does not dry fully, it might also mold or mildew.
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Liza Hollis has been writing for print and online publications since 2003. Her work has appeared on various digital properties, including USAToday.com. Hollis earned a degree in English Literature from the University of Florida.
Wedding bouquet the bride on background of wedding dress image by Aliaksandr Zabudzko from Fotolia.com