How to Keep Your Wedding Dress Looking Brand New

From stains to storage, here at Oxwash we've rounded up the ultimate guide on everything you should know about cleaning your wedding dress.

A guide to cleaning your wedding dress
Hannah McBrearty

Business & Insights

Your wedding dress is likely to be one of the most expensive garments you will ever own so you don’t want it to only look great for one day. Although most people won’t wear their wedding dress again, at Oxwash we know how important it is to keep it looking brand new no matter what you’re planning to do with it after the big day. Whether that be keeping it as a memory, up-cycling it into another item of clothing, reselling or renting your dress to other brides in the future.

Removing stains

As with every garment, the cleaning process for stain removal always depends on the fabric and the construction of your wedding dress. If want to try and minimise damage from staining, never rub the stain, only dab and be extra careful if your dress is delicate. Most fabrics are receptive to water-based cleaning using delicate detergents but for some silk dresses, this is not an option. In this case, you're safer to hand your wedding dress over to a professional. At Oxwash our team specialise in wet-cleaning and stain removal and this is no different for wedding dresses.

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Can I clean my wedding dress at home?

Typically, wedding dresses are constructed from fabrics which are in fact suitable for water-based cleaning. Depending on the stain and due to the delicate nature of wedding dresses, this means there are a lot more challenges and risks when washing at home. Stains we often see on wedding dresses can be embedded beyond the power of regular at-home detergents. Plus it may not even fit in your washing machine or have a programme that can tailor to your needs. The drying process is as important as cleaning. It is vital that the wedding dress is dried and pressed after washing to ensure there is no dampness. This process is almost impossible to do when washing at home without specialist equipment as we have here at Oxwash.

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How long should I wait to have my wedding dress cleaned?

The key is to try to have your wedding dress cleaned as soon as possible after the big day. It's even possible to schedule it in advance to add as part of your wedding to-do list. We ourselves consider someone to be a new bride up to two years after their wedding day. The risk with leaving your wedding dress uncleaned is that the longer it is left there is a greater chance of stains developing; even if they weren’t visible before. Having your dress cleaned is especially important if you plan to resell or rent your wedding dress out to future brides.

If left unclean marks from perspiration can turn yellow, any stains from alcohol are likely to ferment and lead to brown stains. If left for too long mould and mildew can grow which can become permanent. If your dress is silk and left uncleaned this can attract moths which will leave holes in the fabrics. This damage can be fixed but is very intricate and costly. For the best results we suggest not leave it more than 2 weeks to be cleaned, then you can have your wedding dress returned in a few days, as good as new.

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What’s the best way to store my wedding dress?

It’s important to consider how you’ll be storing your wedding dress and where to store it. A popular option nowadays is to get your dress professionally preserved. This is typically done by storing the dress in an airtight box where the oxygen has been sucked out and replaced with nitrogen. Doing this helps prevent oxidation, which may happen to clothes that have been stored for several years. Oxidation can cause ageing and discolouration as well as other issues that can cause the dress to deteriorate. When preserving your wedding dress in this way, specialists recommend that you never break the seal. If you do take it out to look at again but want to keep it for longer then you should have it properly preserved and sealed back up again.

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Preserving your wedding dress can be very expensive and isn't accessible to everyone. If you don’t want to spend a fortune on preservation, the best way to preserve your dress is by investing in a preservation box. These are often constructed from a PH-neutral board, with the dress wrapped in acid-free tissue paper. Another option is to opt for a breathable fabric zip bag. What we would advise against is storing your dress in any kind of plastic as that could create a negative environment it. This is important especially if you want to keep your dress in great condition for years to come. When it comes to opening up your wedding dress again you don’t want to be hit with a musty smell. An easy hack to avoid this is by placing a dryer sheet into the garment bag before storing it in a cool, dark place.

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