Wedding Dress Cleaning, Preservation & Restoration Blog

From DIY to Professional – All About Wedding Dress Dry Cleaning

From DIY to Professional – All About Wedding Dress Dry Cleaning

We understand that having your wedding dress dry cleaned after your wedding can be a pretty daunting task for a newly married bride.  After all, your wedding dress is the one keepsake from your wedding day that was featured in all your wonderful photos, took the most consideration at the bridal boutique, and ultimately, made you look and feel like a princess on the most special day of your life.  The thought of taking your wedding dress to the same corner dry cleaner who has pressed your fathers shirts for over 20 years doesn’t exactly sound like the best of ideas.

Do You Need to Have Your Wedding Dress Cleaned?

The only true way to be sure your wedding dress will remain in pristine condition to share with your children, and your children’s children, is to have it professionally cleaned and preserved before storing your wedding gown.  The number one reason wedding gowns will yellow as they age are stains that may or may not be visible on your dress that occurred on your wedding day such as soda water, deodorant, white wine, sugar, sweat, and oils from your skin.  In addition, the process of neutralizing the fibers in your wedding dress before placing it into storage is the only guarantee your dress won’t experience overall fabric yellowing.  A professional wedding dress cleaning company has the advanced delicate fabric care equipment and experience to identify these nasty stains and create a plan of action to restore your beautiful wedding dress back to its original brilliance.

Wedding Dress Cleaning Options

When you’re ready to have your wedding dress cleaned, you do have a few options available to you.  While we’d like to see every bride have their dress professionally cleaned and preserved, we understand that not all brides will be up to the task after the expense and busyness surrounding their wedding day.  Your options are the following: store your gown until you’re ready to have it professionally cleaned, attempt to clean the gown yourself, take it to a local dry cleaning company or have it cleaned by a an online wedding dress preservation company which is properly equipped to clean the delicate fabrics of a wedding dress.  Regardless of which option you go with, be sure to do your research beforehand and be sure you’re comfortable in your decision.

The Cost of Dry Cleaning a Wedding Dress in 2021

The cost of having your wedding dress cleaned can vary greatly depending on several factors.  The current average cost of having your wedding dress professionally dry cleaned can range from $180 - $250.  It’s important to note the cost of wedding dress dry cleaning is much different than the cost of wedding dress preservation, which can add an additional $100 or more to the cost of dry cleaning your wedding dress.

The factors that can influence the cost of having your wedding dress dry cleaned include which part of the country you live in and how old or damaged your wedding dress is. 

You may end up paying much more to have your wedding dress cleaned at a bridal boutique if you live on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, as compared with a bridal boutique in Upstate NY, even though both establishments send your gown to the same 3rd party wedding dress cleaning service.  Online wedding dress cleaning services allow you to eliminate cost of living upcharges, as you’ll pay the same rate no matter which part of the country you live in.

Some companies may also charge additional rates if your dress is badly stained, yellowed, or considered a “vintage wedding gown”.  These wedding dresses require additional care and hand processing to ensure the delicate fabrics are not damaged during the cleaning process.  We don’t charge additional for extra staining, however, if your dress is badly damage or was worn over 20 years ago, we’d recommend upgrading to our Wedding Gown Restoration Kit™.

wedding dress dry cleaning costs how much

Cleaning Your Wedding Dress Yourself

If you’re the DIY type and if your gown isn’t comprised of any delicate materials like silk or taffeta, then cleaning your gown may be an option for you.  We often hear of brides attempting to clean their own gowns when they don’t have a big emotional attachment to the dress, such as a gown purchased second hand.  Here are a few words of caution and advice when cleaning your own wedding dress:

Delicate Materials – Silk and other sensitive materials don’t respond well to traditional cleaning detergents which can cause permanent damage to the fibers of this delicate material.

Polyester Organza - If your dress has any organza details use extreme caution when pressing the material.  Organza will more than likely lose its crispness from high heat when hand pressing the material.  Keep the iron on the absolute lowest settings.

Brushes – Be sure you use very soft bristled brushes on your dress.  Hard brushes can cause delicate material to fray and in some cases, even lead to pulls in the fabric.

Bleach – Never use bleach on any materials of your gown.  Bleach is one of the harshest chemicals you can use to clean a wedding dress and the results, whether positive or negative, will more than likely be permanent.

Cleaning Your Dress at Your Local Dry Cleaner

Another option for cleaning your wedding dress is to take it to a local dry cleaning company.  Below are some tips on having your wedding dress cleaned locally.

  • Is the cleaning performed on site? Ask if they clean your dress on the premises or send it away to be cleaned through another company.  Most local dry cleaners haven't invested in the proper equipment needed to clean the delicate materials of a wedding gown.  This leads to them having to send it off to a professional wedding dress cleaning company, marking up the cost to you in the process.  If this is the case, skip the middleman and go straight to the company who will be doing the cleaning and you’ll save yourself hundreds of dollars in the process.
  • Shop around.  You’ll find that local wedding dress dry cleaning costs can vary by hundreds of dollars, even if some use the same exact service to have your dress cleaned and preserved.
  • Ask if they have a warranty and ask for referrals.  The best way to see if a dry cleaner will stand behind the work they perform is if they can issue you a certificate of guarantee.  They should also be able to provide a list of other brides who have used the service in the past who you can speak with to put your mind at ease
  • How do they package the dress after cleaning?  Some dry cleaning companies will place your dress in a simple dry cleaning bag rather than placing the gown on a bust and placing into a preservation box.  Hanging your gown in a closet can cause permanent stretch to the fabric where the gown sits on the hanger.  Also be sure there is a viewing window so others can see your gown without having to handle the dress and transfer oils from their skin onto the delicate material.  Most importantly - be sure to ask if your gown will be placed in an acid-free box with acid-free tissue paper.

  Bride Beware! - We received this e-mail from a father of a bride who had entrusted his daughters $3,000 gown to a local dry cleaning service that was ill-equipped to treat the delicate fabrics of his daughter’s gown. 

“Hi, I was wondering if there is anything you can do to help me repair my daughter’s wedding gown.  She asked me and her mother to have her gown cleaned while she was away on her honeymoon and the dry cleaner we took it to ensured us they could clean and preserve it.  As you can see by the photos attached the silk is now crinkled and grey.  I’m not an expert but it looks like they cleaned her gown like they would a man’s shirt.  Please tell me there is something you can do to help!”

Unfortunately the delicate fabric of the gown was too far damaged for even our exclusive SYSTEMK4 cleaning technology to correct.  We can only assume the cleaners used PERC on the gown which is the chemical 95% of dry cleaners use in their cleaning process.

Read More: Is Taking Your Wedding Dress to the Dry Cleaners Safe? 10 Questions to Ask

Online Wedding Dress Dry Cleaning

Over the past decade, online wedding dress dry cleaning has become an increasingly popular method for brides to have their wedding gowns professionally cleaned and preserved.  The benefit is that these types of companies are dedicated solely to cleaning wedding dresses and have invested in the equipment and continued delicate fabric educations methods to ensure the highest quality cleaning of your wedding dress. 

The best part of online wedding gown cleaning is that you never have to leave your home.  Simply order your preservation kit online and the insured shipping box arrives at your doorstep in less than a week.  Your gown is safely shipped to the preservation studio where it receives a museum quality cleaning and preservation and is shipped back to you in pristine condition in its own a beautiful wedding gown preservation box.  

cleaning wedding gowns at the preservation facility

What to Look for When Cleaning and Preserving Your Wedding Dress Online:

  • Be sure the company has been in business for a substantial amount of time and make sure 2-way shipping costs are included with your package.
  • Make sure your preservation allows for extra items such as a veil, purse, shoes or other keepsakes from your wedding day.
  • Make sure you’re not paying over $400 for your cleaning & preservation.  Even the most couture gowns can be cleaned and perfectly preserved for under $400.

Do I Have to Prepare My Wedding Dress to be Professionally Cleaned?

You absolutely do not need to do anything to your wedding dress before you send it in to be professionally cleaned. In fact, professional cleaners prefer you do not try and pre-process or treat your wedding dress before sending in it to them for cleaning. The fact of the matter is any professional cleaning service will have better treatment products, equipment, and skilled hands which a DIY approach can’t come close to. Even if your dress is visibly yellowed or has yellow, brown, or black spot stains, it’s always best to leave treatment of these soiled areas to the professionals.

The only task you need to do to perform in order for your wedding dress to be sent in for cleaning is to remove it from the plastic dry cleaning bag or the wedding dress storage box and give it a good examination. We recommend using cotton gloves for this task as to not transfer any bodily oils to the gown and to examine your gown on a clean service such as on top of the comforter on your bed. Make notes of where your dress is stained, and which areas may need extra attention. While our team is sure to find these same trouble spots, you can transfer your notes to your paperwork that comes with your kit as a reminder to you of where to inspect your gown after it comes back to you in the same beautiful condition as it was on your wedding day.

When is the Best Time to Send in My Wedding Dress to be Cleaned?

The while it is usually never too late to clean and preserve your wedding dress, the absolute best time to have your gown cleaned is the day after your wedding.  The earlier you have your dress cleaned and preserved, the less of a chance stains will have to really set in.  When ordering with us, most brides choose to pre-purchase their kit so they can quickly box it up and send it in to us the day after their wedding and before they’re whisked off on their honeymoon.

We’ve successfully preserved gowns that are up to and over 100 years old and have over 3,000,000 brides across the country who have trusted our process and technology with their precious gowns.  Even if you have a gown that has been sitting in your closet for over 10 years, it’s never too late to have your keepsake cleaned and preserved for future generations to enjoy.