Emergency bridal gown cleaning and care

wedding-dressHere are some tips on cleaning and caring for your bridal gown in case of emergency or "disaster"!

Always have safety pins on hand. All too often someone steps on your bridal gown or you catch your bridal gown on something, and pins will get you through the day. Be prepared for a broken bustle loop, torn strap or broken zipper. In fact, full-service bridal salons often put several safety pins into the underside of the bridal gown for just such accidents. In a pinch you can use sticky tape or even staples, but you run the risk of damaging the fabric of the wedding gown. Better to avoid pinches. Ask your on-site consultant, mom, maid of honor, favorite aunt or mistress of ceremonies to bring a handful of safety pins to the ceremony and reception.

Know the fabric of your wedding gown

Your consultant at the bridal shop should be able to advise you on fiber content and what to do in case of a spill. When you spill something on artificial fiber, it is much easier to get rid of the stain than if you spill something on a natural fiber such as silk. Natural fibers are hollow and absorb the spill. In either case, unless the spill is major and makes you uncomfortable, better leave the spot alone until you can get professional treatment for your bridal gown. If you must do something and the stain is coffee, mud, blood, tea or some other water-soluble stain, dab the spot gently with cool water and air dry. Club soda will also work.

CAUTION: silks and rayons, particularly silk and rayon velvets, are water-sensitive, and you may have permanent water spots.

Try camouflaging spots on your wedding gown with something white and relatively harmless such as baking soda, cornstarch, or baby powder (white-out and shoe polish are tricky), especially if the stain is not water soluble. Grease, lipstick, and other cosmetics can only be dissolved by solvents such as cigarette-lighter fluid. If the solvent contains alcohol, it can also dissolve any dye that may have been used to color your wedding gown. Again, better leave the spot alone until you can get professional treatment for your wedding gown.

MOST IMPORTANT OF ALL: No matter how much you love your gown, try to remember your family and friends share your happiness on your special day. They will be looking at you and not for spots or tears on your bridal gown!

Copyright ©2003-2005 Association of Wedding Gown Specialists. All rights reserved. Published in the United States of America. Article adapted with the permission of the AWGS.

Author: Sally Lorensen Conant, Ph.D. for the Association of Wedding Gown Specialists.

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