* You should aim to dry clean your dress as soon as you can after your wedding. This helps avoid the danger of untreated stains becoming oxidised and increases the likelihood of successful cleaning.

* Always have the dress dry cleaned prior to storage, even if the dress looks clean stains such as perspiration and drinks stains can evaporate, but over time begin to affect the fabric.

* On the day avoid rubbing stains, if you spill something on your dress blot it gently, rubbing can damage the fabric permanently. As far as stain removal goes – give the dry cleaner the first chance to remove the stains.

* Experience is the most important factor in the successful cleaning of your dress – find a reputable dry cleaner.

* Ask to see the dress before it’s packed, even if the cleaning results are not perfect it’s best for you to inspect your dress after it’s been cleaned. Then you can discuss the possibility of further treatment. No dry cleaner can be 100% successful 100% of the time (any dry cleaner who offers you cleaning guarantees over the phone should be a magician not a technician), however experience and the latest techniques can help deliver the best results

* Find a dry cleaner before the event – in case disaster strikes on the day you can have the dress attended to quickly. Also in the event that you are going away for a long honeymoon you can send a friend/relative in with your dress.

* Labels are important to the professional dry cleaner, if you remove them – keep them so you can supply the dry cleaner with the necessary information

* Trimmings and beads – often wedding dress makers will embellish dresses with additional items. This may cause a number of problems for the dry cleaner. Some beads are not suitable for dry cleaning and may melt/dissolve during cleaning; a reputable dry cleaner will test before cleaning. Other items such as glitter can be glued on; often the glue will dissolve during dry cleaning removing the adornments . One way to minimise these problems is to speak to the wedding dress maker before cleaning and confirm the care instructions for the dress.

You’ve had your dress cleaned – now what?


* Don’t leave your dress in the plastic from the dry cleaners – over time plastic can give off chemicals which discolour fabrics

* Remove the safety pins – over time they can oxidise and mark the dress with rust marks

* If you are having your dress boxed, make sure it is being packed in acid free tissue paper. This helps prevent yellowing of the dress (remember that even with proper care it may be impossible to prevent all yellowing over time).

* Check the dress periodically while in storage, in case the dress is deteriorating through inappropriate storage. It’s good to refold the dress to prevent permanent creases.

* Don’t use plastic storage boxes – while these are great for seasonal storage, they are not suited to long term storage. If any moisture develops inside the box the fabric can develop mildew

* It is important that the textile can breath – if so the humidity around the dress remains constant and the likelihood mould/mildew is reduced

* Ideally the dress should NOT be stored in an area which is prone to high humidity (like your attic) or damp (like your basement), fluctuating temperatures increase the risk of deterioration. Often a wardrobe or under the bed is the best place.

* If the dress is not boxed make sure it is stored away from sunlight and artificial light, in the long term they can cause degradation and fading of the fabric

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