Is it Ever too Late to Have Your Wedding Dress Cleaned and Preserved?
One of the most common questions we receive from our customers is whether or not their wedding dress is too stained, too yellowed, or just plain too old to be preserved. While there is one exception to the rule, we can tell you that 99.9% of wedding dresses that are sent to us to receive our wedding dress restoration service are able to be restored back to their original beauty, even when the customer believes their wedding gown may be many years beyond repair.
Why Have Your Vintage Wedding Dress Cleaned, Restored, and Preserved?
While every family has their own personal reasons for having a past or present wedding dress cleaned, restored, and preserved, there are a few of these reasons we come across quite often.
The most popular reason is to keep your wedding dress perfect and pristine so that it can be cherished as a passed down heirloom by current and future family members. A wedding dress often represents a pivotal moment in the life of a couple, the moment in time you declared your love for your spouse and a lifelong commitment to that love. Knowing that your wedding dress will be able to be shared with future generations as a reminder of that love gives peace of mind to many brides. Without taking the proper care after your big day, you will more than likelyfind yourself with a stained, yellowed wedding dress in just a matter of a year in storage.
Another common reason for preservation is to give a future bride in the family an opportunity to honor your memory by re-wearing your dress in their own wedding as fashion trends come back into style over the years. We’ve restored countless timeless, stunning wedding gowns worn anywhere from 40 to over 100 years in the past that a bride has chosen to adorn once again as a special tribute to a very loved family member.
How Stains and Yellowing are Removed from Your Dress
While you may not realize it, the delicate materials your wedding dress was crafted from will begin to yellow as soon as six months after your wedding day. Along with overall yellowing, invisible stains on your wedding dress, such as white wine, icing, perfume, and makeup will end up becoming very visible brown and black stains which will slowly begin to break down the core fibers they’re embedded in.
To prevent yellowing and future staining, our team goes through intense, multi-station inspection and cleaning procedures to remove all stains and prevent future yellowing. This is achieved through a process of one or all of the following: wet cleaning, spot cleaning, and dry cleaning.
Wet Cleaning a Wedding Dress
Wet cleaning offers distinct advantages over dry cleaning in that wet cleaning is extremely effective at removing organic stains such as food, wine, and dirt. Sophisticated wet cleaning machines are utilized to remove those organic stains along with neutralize the fabrics your wedding dress was comprised from.
These machines are very different from your typical home washing machines and are specially designed for delicate fabric cleaning. Specific wash cycles along with strictly maintained temperatures allow for minimum water exposure while providing optimal results. Wet cleaning is extremely safe and effective for popular synthetic wedding dress fabrics such as polyester, however, natural fabrics such as silk and taffeta are easily damaged by water and require extra care and caution.
Dry Cleaning a Wedding Dress
Unlike wet cleaning a wedding dress, dry cleaning directly addresses and removes oil-based stains such as grease, body oils, deodorants, dressings, makeup, and moisturizers. 20 years ago, PERC (Perchloroethylene) was commonly used in the dry-cleaning process to remove these difficult stains. While traditionally effective, PERC is a very dangerous chemical for both your wedding dress, and the environment, even going as far as to melt delicate sequins and beads.
Today, advanced wedding dress cleaning facilities use organic compounds that not only work as well and even better than PERC, but are also completely safe for your wedding dress and the environment – a win-win. Just as with wet cleaning machines, our dry-cleaning machines are far and away from the typical machines you’d find at your local dry cleaner. Our wedding dress dry cleaning machines are imported from Germany and specially designed to clean and process delicate fabrics.
Spot Cleaning a Wedding Dress
Before your wedding dress is either wet cleaned, dry cleaned, or both, the inspection process may indicate that spot cleaning is necessary before either process. We use an ultraviolet light to help us identify deep-set invisible stains that will likely become a problem if left untreated.
Spot cleaning is normally reserved for deep staining on a wedding dress, where wet or dry cleaning will not be as effective, or commonly soiled areas such as the hemline of the dress. We utilize a multitude of fabric-safe chemicals depending on the type of stain, the degree of staining, and the fabric the stain is embedded into.
What is the One Case Where it is too Late to Have My Dress Cleaned and Preserved?
The only time your wedding dress may be too far in disrepair to be cleaned and preserved is when the actual fabrics of your dress have become decayed, rotted, or damaged. While our team of highly trained experts can work miracles to get out just about any stain your wedding dress is soiled with, the limitations come into play when fabric rot or decay is identified, and further stain treatment and cleaning may make matters worse. It’s important to note that this is an extremely rare occurrence and we’ve been able to clean and preserve wedding dresses worn over 150 years in the past.
If you’re concerned about certain areas of a vintage wedding dress, your best option is to send your dress to us for professional examination and assessment. At worst case, we’ll send you your dress back and refund you the cost of preservation minus the cost to ship your dress to us.
Will it Cost More if You Wait to Have Your Wedding Dress Preserved?
Waiting to have your wedding dress cleaned and preserved should not cost you anymore whether you wait 3 months or 5 years after your wedding day. The one example where the cost of preserving your wedding dress will cost you more is when you wait 10 or more years to preserve. At that point in time, the age of your wedding dress will bump it up to our wedding dress restoration service. Remember, the sooner you have your wedding dress cleaned and preserved after your big day, the less overall yellowing it will endure and the less processing your dress will need during preservation.
What Happens if You Can’t Remove All Stains from a Wedding Dress?
If a very stubborn stain is encountered, and we’ve attempted to process the stubborn area up 3 times, we will leave the area as-is and include a stain letter in your returned kit which documents the nature of the stain, where it is, and the procedure(s) attempted to remove it. Again, this is an extremely rare occasion, and most stains are processed successfully without issue. Your dress will still come with our 100-year anti-yellowing guarantee and be picture-perfect in the viewing window. You get the peace-of-mind in knowing your wedding dress was handled with the utmost care by the world’s leading preservationists to be cherished by future generations.
It is Never Too Late to Send in Your Wedding Dress for Cleaning & Preservation
Regardless of whether your wedding dress has been hanging in your closet for a few weeks, or a few decades, our team of preservation experts can restore your wedding dress to the beauty and elegance of the moment you first fell in love with it at the boutique. Choose from our Celebrity Kit, Traditional Kit, or Restoration Kit to get started today.