How to Care For Wedding Dresses And Fancy Gowns

(l to r) Angela Bassett, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Paula Patton, Laz Alonso, T.D. Jakes and Loretta Devine in TriStar Pictures' JUMPING THE BROOM.

From a fancy cleaners.

Sure it is a milestone to buy a dress or wedding gown. But it’s what you do after to maintain and preserve the fabric and style of the dress that is important. Dan Miller from Mulberry Cleaners,  located in California, offers advice to the young brides or ballers who want to maintain a super expensive dress. Go inside our conversation.


Why does a bride need to preserve a dress?/What will happen to a dress over time if a bride doesn’t take the necessary steps to clean and preserve after the wedding?

Bride’s need to preserve wedding dresses because over time the fibers in the dress will break down and the dress will begin to yellow due to exposure to the air.

How soon after the wedding should you bring your dress in to be cleaned to avoid permanent damage?

The sooner the better. Preferably the day after the wedding, but certainly within a month of the wedding. Luckily, Mulberrys offers free on-demand pickup, so you can schedule a pickup with a click of a button on the app.

What is the average cost of wedding dress cleaning and preservation? (a range here would be great)

Cleaning alone starts at $200 and cleaning and preservation is $300.

What options do brides have for dress preservation?

There is really only one good option and that is preserving in an acid-free preservation box. Some tissue paper and boxes have acids in them, which can cause the dress to yellow over time. Mulberrys uses only acid-free preservation materials.

What should a bride look for when selecting a professional cleaner for her wedding dress?

They should look for a few things. First, is the cleaners a certified dry cleaner with actual training in the field of wedding gown cleaning. Mulberrys is a certified professional dry cleaner, wet cleaner, and environmental cleaner and has been voted one of America’s Best Cleaners. Second, they should research the dry cleaning solvent that the cleaner uses. Many cleaners use toxic chemicals in cleaning that can irritate your skin and pollute the environment. Mulberrys uses only the greenest solvents. Finally, they should research the way the dress will be preserved. Many cleaners just hang the dress on hanger, which will not prevent yellowing and fiber decay. Ensure that the cleaner uses professional acid-free wedding gown preservation materials.

The best products for cleaning and preservation: which are the safest? Which are the most eco-friendly?

The safest and most effective form of wedding gown cleaning is called wet-cleaning. This is a technology that uses a small amount of water and gentle agitation to clean the gown, not unlike hand washing. By using purified water and gentle eco-friendly detergents your cleaner ensures that the gown maintains its with little-to-no environmental impact.

What does the step by step process look like for cleaning and preserving a wedding dress?

First, the professional dry cleaner will perform a detailed inspection of the gown to identify any stains or damage as well as mark any potential problem areas in cleaning (e.g. beads, lace, etc. ). Second, They will perform testing on any potential problem areas and make a final determination as to the appropriate cleaning method and approach. Third, they will perform spot cleaning on difficult stains such as dirt around the hem, wine stains, etc. Fourth, they will prepare the dress for cleaning by protecting or removing any delicate aspects of the dress and placing the dress into a protective bag. Fifth, the will clean the dress in either a wet cleaning machine or dry cleaning machine depending on the needs of the dress. Sixth they will inspect the dress and remove any remaining stains as well as reattach any beading that was removed prior to cleaning. Finally, they will wrap the dress in acid-free tissue and package in a sealed box for preservation.

What is the best type of box or container to store a wedding dress in?

A sealed ornamental, acid-free wedding box.

What does the storing process look like for a preserved wedding dress?

It is crucial to store your dress in a high place that is dry. Gowns can easily be ruined in the event of a flood or if they are left in musty damp environs.

Is the process for cleaning and preserving a veil the same as a wedding dress?  

No, veils are too delicate to be cleaned by machine. As a result, they are only spot cleaned and hand washed.

I’ve had my dress preserved- now what? Any recommendations for places to store it in the home? Should it stay in the box? Tips for handling?

Yes, the dress should be kept in the box until it is to be worn again. Opening the box and exposing the dress to moisture and other natural elements can damage the dress. Also, it is important to keep the dress out of direct sunlight as this can cause color change.