Learn About Wedding Dress Preservation Methods

Find the Best Way to Clean and Store Your Bridal Gown

Bride in her wedding dress

As you're planning your wedding, don't forget to work out ahead of time how you're going to preserve your dress. 

Your wedding gown is the dress you've dreamt of and imagined yourself wearing on that wonderful day. It only makes sense that you want to take care of it the best you can.

Follow these steps to make sure your wedding dress remains gorgeous throughout the years to come. Here's how to preserve it:

The following steps should be taken BEFORE getting your wedding dress professionally dry cleaned:

  1. Purchase a clean, undyed, undersized, unbleached cotton sheet. You can find this at almost any home outfitting store, like Bed, Bath&Beyond. Make sure the sheet has as little synthetic fiber as possible!
  2. Wash the sheet in hot water (without detergent) to remove any dirt or sizing.
  3. On your wedding day, as soon as you take the dress off, wrap it in the sheet. NEVER store it in a plastic bag. Plastics decompose, causing rapid oxidation of the fabric, which will leave acid residues on your dress!
  4. Keep the gown as flat as possible, away from sunlight and moist or damp areas.
  5. Take the gown to a reputable dry cleaner store (make sure they are specially trained in preservations) within two weeks of the wedding. If you will still be on your honeymoon, arrange for your mother, maid-of-honor or another trustworthy individual to take care of this for you. There are some options for home wedding dress cleaning, but I'd recommend getting it done professionally.

After you pick your dress up from the dry cleaner's, choose one of the following two methods to insure flawless preservation. Know that both of these storage options have specific details that you should follow to ensure the dress is preserved perfectly.

Vacuum-Sealed Box Storage

  1. Purchase a sturdy, archival-quality (acid-free, lignin-free) box and archival-quality, acid-free tissue paper. These materials may be found at some dry cleaners. For a synthetic fiber gown, use buffered archival paper. For a natural fiber gown, use unbuffered archival paper.
  2. Remove all fabric-covered metal buttons, pins and sponge padding. Store these items separately because metal can oxidize and stain the fabric.
  3. Fold the gown, placing the tissue paper between the folds of the gown to prevent permanent breaks or wrinkles.
  4. Box the gown. Follow the instructions that come with the storage box.
  5. Store the box in a dry place, away from heat or moisture (not in the attic or basement).
  6. Every five to seven years, take the gown out of the box and inspect it. Make sure you wear white gloves so that oily residue from your fingers won't damage the fabric.
  7. Refold the gown if necessary, box and store.

Hanging Storage

  1. Another preservation method is to hang the gown. Hang onto your sheet from before the wedding and purchase the same tissue paper (acid-free, archival-quality) as listed in the vacuum-sealed box storage method.
  2. Rewash the sheet in hot water without detergent to remove any dirt.
  3. Remove all fabric-covered metal buttons, pins and sponge padding from the gown and store separately.
  4. Lay the sheet flat on a bed or some other clean surface. Lay the gown on top and stuff it with the tissue paper.
  5. After you've stuffed the gown, wrap it in the sheet.
  6. Hang it in a dry place, away from heat or moisture.

Each of these methods will work for storing wedding dresses for long periods of time, so feel to try either method.

Congratulations! Your gown will now last for a lifetime!


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