Do you Know How to Clean a Wedding Dress

Your wedding dress is a beautiful reminder of a special day. Over time, dirt, dust, and stains can accumulate. Proper cleaning helps preserve your dress for years to come, allowing you to cherish it or pass it down as a treasured heirloom. Here’s a detailed guide on how to clean your wedding dress at home or professionally.

Assessing Your Dress Before Cleaning

Before cleaning your wedding dress, it’s important to assess its condition. Here are some things to consider:

Fabric type:

Different fabrics require specific cleaning methods. Look for the care label on your dress, which will indicate whether it’s hand-wash or dry clean only.

Level of Soiling:

Minor dirt or dust might be manageable at home, while heavier stains or extensive cleaning needs are best left to professionals.

Beading, embroidery, or delicate details:

These embellishments require special care during cleaning.

If you’re unsure about any aspect of cleaning your dress, it’s always best to consult a professional cleaner experienced with wedding gowns.

Preserve your memories! Expert guide on gently cleaning your wedding dress, from delicate fabrics to intricate beading, ensuring it remains pristine.

Gathering Cleaning Supplies (For Home Cleaning)

If your dress’s care label allows for home cleaning and you decide to proceed, here are the supplies you’ll need:

  • A large basin or bathtub
  • Mild laundry detergent
  • White vinegar (optional)
  • Baking soda (optional)
  • Soft bristled brush
  • Clean white towels
  • Drying rack or clothesline

Important: Avoid harsh chemicals, bleach, or any cleaning products not specifically recommended for delicate fabrics.

Spot Cleaning a Wedding Dress

Before submerging the entire dress, address any visible stains. Here’s a general approach:

  1. Blot, don’t rub: Gently blot the stain with a clean, absorbent white cloth to absorb excess liquid. Rubbing can spread the stain.
  2. Test a hidden area: Before applying any cleaning solution directly to the stain, test it on an inconspicuous area of the dress, like the inner seam.
  3. Treat the stain: Depending on the stain type, you might use a mild detergent solution, white vinegar solution, or baking soda paste. Refer to online resources for specific stain removal methods.
  4. Rinse thoroughly: After treating the stain, rinse the area with clean water to remove any cleaning residue.

Always check the care label for specific stain removal recommendations.

Handwashing Your Dress

If your dress is labeled hand-wash only, here’s how to proceed:

  • Fill your basin or bathtub with cool water and a small amount of mild laundry detergent.
  • Gently turn your dress inside out and place it in the water.
  • Let the dress soak for 15-30 minutes, depending on the level of soiling.
  • After soaking, gently swish the dress in the water to loosen dirt. Avoid aggressive scrubbing or wringing.
  • Drain the soapy water and rinse the dress thoroughly with clean cool water until all suds are removed.

Drying Your Dress

Never put your wedding dress in a dryer! Here’s how to dry it properly:

  1. Lay the dress flat on a clean white towel.
  2. Roll up the towel with the dress inside to absorb excess moisture.
  3. Unroll the towel and lay the dress flat on a drying rack or clothesline in a cool, well-ventilated area out of direct sunlight.

Avoid hanging the dress by the straps, as this can cause them to stretch.

Professional Cleaning

If your dress has extensive stains, delicate embellishments, or you’re unsure about cleaning it yourself, consider professional cleaning. Here’s what to expect:

  • Reputable cleaners specialize in wedding gown cleaning and preservation.
  • They will assess your dress and recommend the most appropriate cleaning method.
  • Professional cleaning can be more expensive than home cleaning, but it ensures the safest and most effective care for your gown.

Storing Your Clean Dress

Once your dress is clean and dry, proper storage is key to preserving it. Here are some tips:

  • Choose a cool, dry, dark storage location.
  • Avoid storing your dress in plastic, as it can trap moisture. Opt for a breathable cotton garment bag.
  • If possible, store your dress hanging, but use a well-padded hanger to prevent stress on the straps.

By following these steps, you can clean and preserve your wedding dress, ensuring it remains a cherished reminder of your special day for years to come.

Additional Tips for Home Cleaning (If You Choose To Do So)

Here are some additional tips to keep in mind if you decide to clean your wedding dress at home:

  • Work in a well-lit area: This allows you to see stains and any cleaning mishaps more easily.
  • Have good ventilation: Open windows or use a fan to circulate air and prevent moisture buildup.
  • Work carefully and patiently: Take your time and avoid rushing the process. Rushing can lead to mistakes or damage to the dress.
  • Don’t hesitate to stop if you’re unsure: If you encounter any difficulties or unexpected issues, stop cleaning and consult a professional.

Remember, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. If you’re unsure about your ability to clean the dress without damaging it, opting for professional cleaning is the recommended course of action.

Preserving Your Dress After Cleaning

Once your wedding dress is clean and dry, proper storage is key to keeping it beautiful. Here are some tips:

  • Choose a cool, dry, dark location: Avoid attics, basements, or anywhere with extreme temperatures or fluctuating humidity. Sunlight can also fade the fabric over time.

  • Breathable storage: Don’t store your dress in plastic, as it can trap moisture and create a breeding ground for mold or mildew. Opt for a breathable cotton muslin bag or a special wedding dress preservation box.

  • Supportive hanging (optional): If you decide to hang your dress, use a well-padded hanger with a wide shoulder area to prevent stress on the straps. Some dresses are better suited for flat storage on a clean, acid-free folded cardboard box.

Additional Tips:

  • Stuff the bodice: Gently stuff the bodice of your dress with acid-free tissue paper to help it maintain its shape during storage.

  • Label it: Label your dress with your name, wedding date, and any specific cleaning instructions for future reference.

By following these storage tips, you can help keep your wedding dress looking its best for years to come.


Your wedding dress is a beautiful reminder of a special day. Following these steps can help you properly clean and preserve it, ensuring it remains a cherished keepsake. Remember, if you’re unsure about any aspect of cleaning your dress yourself, professional cleaners specialize in wedding gown care and can provide the safest and most effective cleaning for your gown.

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