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Preserving Your Memories: An Introduction to Wedding Dress Cleaning and Preservation

Bride N Queen Team | 12 April, 2022

            Preserving Your Memories: An Introduction to Wedding Dress Cleaning and Preservation

It's the day you've been waiting for and dreaming of – your wedding day! You've spent months planning every detail and now it's all coming together. After you walk down the aisle and celebrate with family and friends, you're aglow with happiness, but then you see it – the stains on your wedding dress.

Don't worry – we're here to help! At Bride N Queen, our wedding dress cleaning and preservation experts will not only clean your gown with impeccable care but also preserve it for you. Your wedding gown is a big part of your wedding day and you should take great pride in keeping it in ready-to-celebrate condition so it can be used again by a loved one someday.

History of Wedding Dress Preservation

Wedding gown preservation first began in earnest in the 1700s with royal weddings. At that time, the wedding gown was a brand-new article of clothing. It had to be cleaned and reconditioned before being presented as a gift to the new couple's first child.

Wedding gown preservation became more common in the 1800s, with off-the-rack dresses becoming available for purchase by anyone who could afford one. A bride could preserve it as a memory of the big day.

What Happens as Wedding Dresses Age?

If you do not preserve your wedding dress, you are taking a significant risk. The following can happen:

  • Permanent creasing of your gown.
  • Rust stains caused by oxidation of the gown.
  • Mildew and mold growth due to humid and moist conditions.
  • Odors and discoloration due to insect damage
  • Weakening and fading due to sunlight, leading to tears or rips in garments.

What Does a Preservation Expert Do?

The job of the wedding gown preservation expert is to care for delicate fabrics, such as those that are usually used for wedding dresses. Many brides spend hundreds – even thousands – on their wedding dresses so they want to preserve it in excellent condition for years to come.

The wedding gown specialists at Bride N Queen are wedding dress cleaners and preservation experts. We use modern technology to clean intricately designed gowns and offer complete bridal services in order to properly care for your dress.

Dry Cleaning vs. Preservationist Methods

There are several differences between using classic cleaners and wedding gown preservation specialists.

  1. Dry cleaners use chemicals such as petroleum distillates to clean fabric, while preservationists use only water and non-toxic, biodegradable soap. At Bride N Queen, we use a special formula made with 100% organic coconut water.
  2. Dry cleaners use high heat from machines to process garments, while preservationists use steam presses that release steam slowly, preserving fabric colors and fabrics.
  3. Dry cleaning leaves the dress with an unpleasant odor while preservationists clean your dress by hand, restoring its original scent.
  4. Dry cleaning chemicals may cause excessive dryness or allergic reactions to the wearer.
  5. Dry cleaning can fade fabric colors over time while preservationists preserve the original look of the dress.

Common Methods of Storage

Your wedding day is unique. It requires planning, patience, and compromise – but it's all worth it when you walk down the aisle! Wedding dress preservation ensures that your gown will still be in great shape for your first anniversary or that your daughter will be able to wear your gown for her big day.


Preservation methods range from ancient to modern ones. Early methods used for wedding dress preservation included:

  • Placing the gown in a monk's casket.
  • Hanging it on church walls or storing it underneath church altars.
  • Placing it in a museum.
  • Placing it in storage in family vaults

Modern options include:

  • A preservation box is a long-term method of preservation. An acid-free wedding box saves the gown from air or light. Light causes bleaching of the fabric or yellowing of the gown. Other boxes are chosen as a cheaper alternative.
  • Wedding dress bags are skinny, breathable bags that can be sealed shut. These are usually used for just a few months.
  • Hanging a wedding dress using a padded hanger – hanging offers the best circulation and ensures no creasing on the fabric.
  • Wedding dresses fitted with covers have hanger pockets sewn into them, so you don't have to store your gown on a hanger.
  • Non-woven polypropylene wedding dress bags are more durable than the usual bridal garment cover. These can be used for more extended periods, around a year or more.

Our modern preservation process entails:

  • The wedding gown is wrapped in acid-free tissue paper and put inside an acid-free keepsake box. It has inserts that hold the garment away from its lid and sides – this allows for air to flow freely around the gown, preventing moisture from accumulating inside the storage unit. All of the materials and supplies used to clean and preserve the dress are made from acid-free materials to ensure that your dress is safely protected against water damage, oxidation, mold, mildew, and other contaminants.

The Problems With Dry Cleaners

A dry cleaner offers various cleaning services, but there are a few disadvantages of using dry cleaning services:

  • Dry cleaners use an automated system to spray the garment, brush it down, and test for any stains or spots that may need attention.
  • Dry cleaning uses hazardous chemicals such as petroleum distillates which are non-biodegradable and cause harm to the environment.
  • The chemicals used by a dry cleaner can cause excessive dryness or an allergic reaction in the wearer – plus, they fade fabric colors over time.
  • Dry cleaning also damages your wedding gown with excessive heat from industrial dry cleaning machines. Such dry cleaning services destroy the fabric of the wedding gown.
  • Dry cleaners can leave your dress smelling unpleasant, while a preservationist will restore the original scent of your dress.
  • Dry cleaning can fade fabric colors over time, while a preservationist will protect the original look of your wedding dress.

      Natural vs. Artificial Cleaning Agents

      Many natural agents are strong enough to remove heavy stains, but gentle enough not to damage the fabric. Commonly used natural cleaning agents include:

      • Sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) and water – this is a good combination for removing stains, especially red wine and makeup. It is also effective in removing perspiration smells from fabrics.
      • Salt and lemon juice – dissolves oil and protein-based stains and is particularly effective with sweat stains.
      • Distilled white vinegar – is used in one part to four parts water. Sometimes added to the final rinse for silk, rayon, acetate, or triacetate fabrics will not cause these fibers to deteriorate.
      • Laundry soap powder – must be used in an intense concentration and with plenty of water to remove yellowing, protein-based stains.
      • Detergent – is not as effective as soap powder, but many people who want to use a more natural cleaner still prefer it.

      Artificial cleaning agents are usually strong enough to remove ordinary soil, but can also cause damage, especially if they contain bleaching agents, perfumes, or alcohol.

      The following artificial agents are NOT recommended:

      • Household detergents on silk rayon – their strong alkalinity can cause these fibers to deteriorate.
      • Bleaches and bleaching agents – there is no safe bleaching agent for natural fabrics as each of them can damage certain fibers.
      • Chlorine – may damage silk and wool and should never be used on cotton or linen.
      • Solvents and petroleum products – they can dissolve the binder that is applied to stiffen tissues and satins.
      • Alcohol – denatures protein fiber and causes it to lose its elasticity.
      • Hydrogen peroxide – will damage most types of natural fiber.
      • Liquid oxygen bleaches – very aggressive and may harm certain fibers.

      What Is Wedding Dress Restoration?

      Wedding gown restoration is the art of restoring a wedding gown to appear as it once had, either in part or whole. Wedding gowns may require restoration after extensive wear and tear, damage due to stains or burns, or even past repairs that no longer support the garment's structure.

      A wedding dress is often worn only once for an entire day. Some dresses still appear heavily worn and show many signs of wear. Stains, burns, rips, and tears can all be removed with restoration work if caught early enough. Many brides choose to have their dress restored soon after their wedding for this reason.

      Bodice Damage

      A bodice with boning or one that has been stiffened may need to be "unstiffened" before restoration can begin. Removing the boning and inserting a wire into the seams helps to support them while they are being worked. Replacing torn or burned seams requires thread matching the dress.

      Replacing torn or burned seams requires fine invisible thread. If a seam has been ripped all of the ways through,  it may need special hand stitches.


      Applying oil can remove older stains if followed by washing the garment in water and then drying it. If an older stain has become ingrained in the fabric, there may not be any way to remove it without damaging the dress's fabric. Many stains become less noticeable and may be easier to remove with time.

      A steam cleaner can be used to remove fresh stains if caught early enough.

      Rips and tears

      Stains and tears can be sewn up using first silk thread and then invisible thread. It is vital to reinforce the seams that have been torn or ripped by inserting a wire into them.


      You can remove burns with time; some burn marks will completely disappear. If this does not happen, they can usually be covered by embroidery.

      Wedding Dress Preservation for Other Garments

      Wedding attire for both the bride and groom have sentimental value. These garments are essential to married couples as they are emotionally attached to them. Wedding dress preservation for other garments allows these clothing items to be kept around without fear of being damaged over time. Wedding dress preservation for other garments keeps these clothing items safe from damage.

      While the wedding dress is typically preserved using a particular fabric cleaner that does not cause it to be yellow or become damaged, other items are usually stored in boxes to protect them from damage as well. Besides storage, there are also different ways that couples can preserve their wedding dress and other garments.

      Sourcing a Wedding Dress for Other Garments

      It is not uncommon for brides to need or want to use their wedding dress for another garment, maybe because they want the dress's material for some other project.

      First, some planning will go a long way in making the conversion successful and enjoyable.

      It is helpful to know what garment you want to create your wedding dress into, whether a cocktail dress or a beautiful handbag. If you are converting into something else yourself, it is essential to determine which wedding dress design you want to use for the garment and what size you will need to make.

      If you plan to send your dress off for a conversion, it is wise to find a company that offers custom patterns to have the latest trends.

      Secondly, be sure to use a sturdy thread when you begin sewing. If the stitches aren't strong enough, they could give or rip, leading to disaster.

      It is also wise to use stronger seams for the new garment; one can do this by surging all of your seams instead of simply securing each seam with an overlocking stitch. Another way to increase the strength of a seam is by adding a double row of stitching. One may do this double row using a zigzag pattern or simply by changing your sewing machine to sew two parallel rows.

      Once you have chosen the best thread and seam for your garment, it is time to lace up that bodice. You can use lacing tape for this purpose instead of lace, but make sure it is tied if you do use lace. Make sure to use good solid boning in the bodice of your new dress, not plastic or flimsy metal pieces.

      Please do not underestimate the power of a good iron press on this new garment; be sure to protect it from heat and steam, as pressing may damage some types of fabrics. If you are trying to create a garment out of lace, tissue paper will prevent you from melting it.

      Also, when pressing seam allowances, remember that they should press them toward the darker fabric if you are using one lighter than the other in your project. If both pieces are light or medium-toned fabrics, press them in the same direction.

      Wedding Dress Cleaning and Preservation Near Me?

      After your special day, you need to get a specialist to work on your wedding gown before preserving it. Wedding gown specialists are not too hard to find, but you need to be careful to get the best and not to be disappointed.

      Bride N Queen offers several wedding dress and preservation packages such as

      • Sweetie package that costs $199
      • Queen package that costs $249
      • Luxury package that costs $419

      These packages offer bridal services such as:

      • Stain removal services.
      • Cleaning and preservation services.
      • 100% coconut water cleaning formula.
      • Two-way insured shipping.

      The Queen and the Luxury packages offer cleaning and preservation services with three and five accessories, respectively.


      Wedding gown cleaning and preservation is a specialized service that requires unique knowledge and equipment. The team at Bride N Queen has the expertise offering bridal services such as cleaning and preserving your wedding gown so you can enjoy it for years to come. Contact us today at (317) 209-9951 to learn more about our services or schedule an appointment!

      You can also reach us at our email support@bridenqueen.com for more information. We look forward to hearing from you!