Welcome back, hope you had a good Fourth! Today, we are talking dresses. As in, what to do when you need your wedding dress cleaned. Finding the dress for your wedding day is a journey in and of itself – you’ve invested your heart, time and money into choosing the perfect gown and you’ll certainly want it to last a lifetime. A local bride reader of the blog contacted us asking for some tips for dress preservation as well as suggestions for wedding dress cleaners in DC, Maryland and Virginia to consider.

Photo Credits: Elisa B. Photography from hanging wedding dresses

When it comes to cleaning and preserving your wedding gown, just any local dry cleaners will do, right? Think again! Between spilled champagne and makeup stains, a treasure this precious should be handled by experts in dress conservation who will restore your dress (and don’t forget the veil!), especially if you’re thinking of passing the dress along as a family heirloom. We’ve done the research and have what you need to know for properly maintaining your dress after the big day!

Wedding Gown Cleaning & Preservation
Though dry cleaning is an appropriate cleaning method for most garments, some fibers and dyes found in couture gowns can dissolve in standard cleaning solutions. For example, sugar-based stains (think wedding cake or champagne) can turn into brown spots over time, or certain beads and buttons made of a particular plastic can discolor or dissolve if cleaned by the same product. Who knew?! Preservation provides customized cleaning and appropriate storage using methods for maintaining the quality and appearance of your gown.

The Process
Experts in bridal garment preservation carefully inspect the fabrics, dyes, and embellishments of your gown, including stains, in order to devise a custom cleaning plan. A thorough inspection eliminates the risk of damage that could easily happen at wholesale dry cleaners where multiple gowns are cleaned at once. Following expert-care cleaning of your gown, the critical step in wedding gown preservation is the storage. Any ol’ cardboard box won’t do! Look for services that provide a special folding to prevent excessive creasing and damage, as well as an acid-free tissue and box so dress can “breathe” to avoid buildup of mildew.

You’ll want to shop around for cleaning and preservation services regarding price, procedure, and warranty. Ideally, you’ll want your gown to be preserved as soon as possible – have a family member or bridesmaid assist with this, but if schedules don’t permit,  it’s generally safe to wait as long as six months after the ceremony. Until then, store it in a dry, climate-controlled area.

Protect Yourself
Problems can arise when your dress is cleaned, pressed and then packaged. Be sure to check out each cleaner’s warranty and procedure if the dress isn’t cleaned to your standards. The last think you want is your dress ruined during cleaning! Look for vendors that are members of the Association of Wedding Gown Specialists, who specialize in cleaning wedding gowns, old and new.

Here’s a brief list of DC-area wedding gown preservation and dry cleaning services that can help ensure longevity for your cherished gown:

Marie Crawford’s Bridal | Frederick, Maryland
Parkway Custom Dry-cleaning | Chevy Chase, Maryland
Gowns Remembered | Crofton, Maryland
Wedding Gown Specialists Restoration Labs | Arlington, Virginia
Schroedl Custom Cleaners | Baltimore, Maryland
Imperial Gown Restoration | Fairfax, Virginia
Sterling Cleaners and Textile Services | Washington, D.C.
Harford Cleaners | Bel Air, Maryland
Bridals by Elena | Gambrills, Maryland
The Bridal Boutique | Columbia, Maryland

Good luck and happy cleaning! If you still haven’t found “the” dress, be sure to shop our local DC area bridal dress boutiques.


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