How to Get Last Minute Stains Out of Your Wedding Gown
Your wedding day is approaching, and you’re certain you’ve prepared for the worst of the worst, the best of the best, and every single little thing in between. You’ve delegated and personalized and handled and dealt with and assigned and solved and fixed so many things thus far, and you feel confident you’ve handled any potential disaster that might come your way on your big day. The caterer is late. The chairs aren’t right. The music stops playing. The weather isn’t ideal. You can do this, and you know it. You’ve been preparing for this day for months.
But, what happens when you finally zip up your wedding gown, turn to face yourself in the mirror tears already forming in your eyes, and you realize there is a stain on your gown? It happens more often than you might imagine. This beautiful (and expensive!) gown is the epitome of perfection, and yet here it is with a little stain. Whether it’s deodorant or lipstick or self-tanner or foundation or a little champagne from your flute, you now have a stain. You can’t walk down the aisle like that, so what is a bride to do? Calm down – we’ve got this covered for you.
Do Your Research
The first thing you should do prior to your wedding day is research your gown’s material. We don’t know what kind of material your gown is made of, but you do. Now is the time to take a few moments to peruse the internet, to call the designer or the boutique from which you purchased the gown, or ask a professional how to keep your specific fabric clean. Lace is more delicate that something like satin. Silk is delicate. Beads are sturdier. You should know everything there is to now about your gown, and you should even jot down a few cleaning tips for that specific material to make sure you are prepared. You don’t want to be caught with a stain on your wedding day going over articles online to figure out how to clean things. That takes time, and stains love time to make themselves deeper, darker, and even bigger.
Preventing The Most Common Pre-Ceremony Stains on Your Wedding Day
Before we get into how to clean the most common pre-ceremony wedding day stains, we want to start at the beginning for those brides coming up on their big day. One of the easiest tasks you can take on for your dress is to be mindful of the stains you can easily prevent before you walk down the aisle. Let’s be honest, you simply won’t be able to prevent all stains on your wedding day, and that’s OK!
You might not spill anything notable on your gown or get any visible grass or dirt stains on your hemline, but you’d be surprised by what even your own invisible deodorant, underarm sweat, and tiny perfume molecules can do to the delicate fabrics of your gown over the years. Yellowing, browning, and even fabric decay are the common results of wedding dress stains that are left untreated. You can, however, prevent major stains before your wedding day ceremony, and we can give you some helpful tips so there’s less chance of walking down the aisle with an unsightly stain on your beautiful dress.
Here’s how you can prevent stains on your wedding gown leading up to your wedding:
- Don’t take your gown out of your garment bag to admire it. It’s hard, we know. But, avoid it if you can. You have a wedding to think about, and you don’t want the grease, makeup, oils or dirt on the floor to get on your dress.
- Do not store your gown in a place that is in direct sunlight, musty or damp, or too hot and humid. It must be somewhere dark, dry and generally a place in your home where you are most comfortable as well. It’s in your best interest to store your wedding gown in a master bedroom closet or a first floor coat or linen closet.Also, remember not to leave your gown hanging for too long or the shoulders of your dress may start to stretch.A few weeks are fine, but if your wedding day is a year or more away, you might want to consider a wedding dress storage box.
- Avoid stains on your wedding day by getting dressed at the last possible moment. We know you probably want to spend as much time in your beautiful wedding dress on the day of your wedding as possible, but hours before your ceremony is definitely not the time. If you can, make sure your dress stays safely in the garment bag while you’re being transported from your salon to the hotel or venue of your choice. You’ll have plenty of time to put it on when you arrive. Just as important - do not eat or drink in your gown until after the ceremony and cover your gown before you touch up your makeup.
- Don’t let your flowers get on your dress! Did you know that one of the most difficult stains to remove from your wedding day is the pollen in your flowers? Lilies are by far the worst, due to their high pollen count, but you can ask your florist to nip the buds. However, there could be residual pollen inside that can get on your gown which will require some extra attention by a trained delicate fabric cleaner. So, if you have flowers, don’t carry them yourself until it’s time to walk down the aisle. Let a bridesmaid carry them for you, hand them to you as you get ready to walk, and help you avoid the potential stains.
Prepare an Emergency Stain Kit
Now that you know how to prevent stains, let’s learn how to pack and prepare for one. It’s not always easy to remove certain stains, but doing it as quickly as possible is the best case for you and your gown. This mean you need to have everything you might need on hand so you can tackle the problem as quickly as possible.
- Chalk – white and off white
- Cotton balls
- Safety pins
- White dish soap
- White towels
- Baby powder
- Corn starch
- Rubbing alcohol
- Tape with double sides
- Stain remover wipes
- Stain remover pens
- White vinegar
- Baby wipes
- Nylon tights
- Baking soda
Make sure you have a bag with each of these items in it so that you can handle stains as they come. Hopefully, you won’t deal with them at all, but this bag of supplies is all you need to make sure you can fix this problem as quickly as possible.
Rules for Handling Stains
Never, ever rub a stain. The best way to remove a stain on your wedding gown is to blot. You want to soak it up, not rub it in or spread it. Place a white towel or cloth over the stain and press gently. Move the cloth or towel every few seconds so it’s a clean spot mopping up the spot.
- Use baby powder to clean up oily spots first
- Spot treat from the outside in
- Use cotton to dab spot with stain remover
- Blot only with clean fabric
- Always test cleaning your gown in a spot no one can see
Now that you know how to prevent stains, how to handle them, and what you need for them, it’s time to delve into specifics. There are many different types of stains you might find on your gown on your big day, and you want to be sure that you know how to approach them for cleaning purposes.
That mimosa or champagne or red wine, soda, or juice stain is going to leave a mark if you don’t get to it right away. The best way to handle a stain like this one is to mix three parts water with one part clear dish soap. Dab the solution on the stain – do not rub the mixture into the stain – and see what happens. The faster you get to it, the greater your chances of removing the stain.
Dirt, grass, and other earthy materials can easily get onto your dress while you’re walking or taking photos. The best way to remove stains like this is by using a dry towel. Do not wet or dampen the towel in any capacity. Blotting the stain with a dry towel – for dirt – can help remove it quickly. Otherwise, you can use a damp towel to try and blot the stain off the dress.
If the stain is a grass stain, you should not touch it. First and foremost, no one will notice it since the stain is likely near the bottom of your gown. Messing with this kind of stain is not easy, and it might cause damage to your dress material. Leave it alone, and let the pros clean it.
Whether it’s olive or baby or any type of sauce, you need to get this out right away. The best way is to use a mixture of white vinegar with dish soap (1 part each). Place a clean white cloth beneath the stain and then use a Q-tip or cotton ball to gently dab the mixture onto the dress. The stain will push through and end up on the towel you placed under. Once the stain is gone, dab it with some warm water so help remove the scent of the vinegar from your gown.
One of the most common problems on your big day is a lipstick disaster. This is a tough one, but you can help your dress look so much better if you catch the stain quickly and treat it right away. Unfortunately, all lip color, stain, gloss, sticks, and everything in between are made with different ingredients, and it’s not easy to remove these stains.
Start by blotting, and see what happens. Try soap and water to be safe, but don’t rub this problem. Unfortunately, there is so little you can do to remove lipstick. You might get lucky with one specific type of color and material, but you won’t with others. The best thing to do is to cover up when you put your lipstick on. Don’t rub. Blot. If it’s located in the right spot, you can try to cover it up with a beautiful broach, but that’s about all you can do if you cannot get this stain out.
This is a fairly simple solution. Foundation and other makeup are easy to remove with a damp cloth using makeup remover. This should come out without any issues, and it should be quick and painless. Just remember – dab…never rub.
You never know what might happen on your wedding day, but you do know that there is something you can do for almost anything. From a bloody nose to a cut to a ripped fingernail, to anything in between, blood can happen. Fortunately, you can easily remove blood with quick action, cool water, and a lot of blotting. Just blot with a clean white cloth that’s been dampened with cool water over and over again until the stain is removed. Don’t forget to use different areas of the cloth so you’re always using clean fabric.
The good news is that it’s often white, and the best news is that at least if you have one of these stains, people know you’re wearing it, right? The best option for this type of stain is to use a baby wipe and a pair of tights. Baby wipes are good for almost any material, but you do want to be sure you use nylon tights if your stain is located on some type of delicate fabric (think silk). Dab, don’t rub, and see it come off in no time at all.
Here is one caveat to every single stain mentioned above. If you have a lace dress, the best way to clean any spill is with baking soda. Dampen the spot and then place baking soda on top of the stain for at least five minutes. Once the time is up, you’ll rinse the area with cold water – be sure you are using very cold water and nothing warm or hot – and then dab the spot with a clean towel or cloth.
Next, you’ll want to add some warm water to the cleaned spot. Let that soak in for a moment, and then add a drop of clear dish detergent to the area. This might not get the stain completely out, but it will help prevent it from spreading further and deeper into the delicate lace. This means it will be easier for a professional to clean after your wedding, and it will be far less likely to spread.
Desperate Times Call for Desperate Measures
If we can offer you one piece of advice, it’s to keep an arsenal of items on hand during your wedding day. Remember when we recommended that you place some thread and a needle in your emergency dress repair kit? That’s in case you need to sew something onto the gown at the very last second.
Some stains, sadly and very unfortunately, simply will not come out. Depending on where the stain is located and what your dress looks like, you might be able to salvage the situation with some creative thinking. A piece of your lace cut from a very difficult to see place on the side or back or bottom of your gown can be sewn quickly over the stain and most people won’t notice.
A beautiful flower or brooch can cover a stain in many locations. Beads can always be added to the gown to take away from the look of a stain, and most people will never notice you have something additional on your gown.
For additional measures, there are a few things you can do to help your dress look perfect. For a zipper that won’t move, rub bar soap across the teeth. Use a safety pin or double sided tape to help keep a tear from being made obvious, or to keep a veil or train in place to hide a stain or imperfection or even keep a rogue strap where it needs to be.
We want to remind you that this is a day that’s meant to bring you happiness and joy. While a stain on your gown might seem like the most horrible thing in the world before you walk down the aisle, it won’t matter that much in a year or twenty years. You’ll look back and laugh at how panicked you were, and you’ll remember all the good times and the love you felt that day. Most stains won’t end up front and center, and most people won’t even notice them because they’re so enamored with the beauty of the day.
We've Got You Covered!
Want one more reason not to worry too much about that little stain on your wedding gown? We've helped over 3,000,000 brides both clean and preserve their wedding dresses after their wedding to bring them back to their original brilliance. Our Wedding Gown Cleaning Kit and Celebrity Wedding Gown Preservaiton Kit will give you peace-of-mind in knowing your wedding dress will be in good hands after your wedding day is over.
So, relax. Enjoy. Have fun. Make memories. Dance, toast, and love. And, be sure you ask your grandmother for help with stains. Aside from your dressmaker, she’s probably got an arsenal of ideas – and a lot of magic in her handbag – that will help you with your stains.