How Can I Clean and Reuse My Wedding Dress?

How Can I Clean and Reuse My Wedding Dress?

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Cambria Bold
Sep 16, 2009

Q: I am wanting to clean my wedding dress. It has been hanging in my closet for 7 years since I got married. I don't expect it to become an heirloom, but I do have some idea of wanting to turn it into a christening gown or something for my kids, when I have some. For now, I want to clean it. But, I don't want to pay $90-plus to take it to a dry cleaner. How would you approach this?

Sent by Sarah

Editor: We think it's a great idea to reuse your wedding dress, and yes, you will need to clean it first if you want it to stay in good shape for years to come. Here's what we know about this:

First of all, what fabric is your dress made of? Make sure that the fabric is washable and that there are no dyes that could potentially run. Also, if your dress has a lot of embellishments on it (like beads or sequins) that may affect how long you're able to immerse it in water. Be careful what detergent you use. Try to avoid a detergent with bleach as it could cause the gown to yellow over time. Try to find a mild detergent without perfumes or whiteners.

Now, fill a CLEAN bathtub half way with warm water and put about a capfull of detergent in.. (This is the easiest place to wash it since there's plenty of room.) Soak the gown for about 15 minutes, and gently sponge any visible stain areas. You can also gently plunge the garment up and down in the soapy water. When it's done soaking, refill the bathtub with clean water and let it soak for another 15 minutes to rinse.

When no suds remain in the garment, take it out and dry it flat on a table full of towels. Do not squeeze or ring it! It may take anywhere from 24-48 hours to dry. After it's no longer dripping wet, you can also hang it up to air dry for a few days to ensure that it dries completely before you store it. After it's dry, store it in acid-free tissue paper in a dark, dry place.

Any other cleaning suggestions for Sarah? (And any other creative wedding dress DIY suggestions?)

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Image via Green Wedding Chica

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