Thinking of getting wedding dress cleaning and restoration done? Here are the kind of gowns that respond best to this treatment.
A bride isn’t going to trust just anyone with her wedding dress cleaning and restoration. And who can blame her? Whether it’s new or vintage, it’s not just a gown, it’s a symbol of love, trust, and promise.
Picking out a wedding dress is one of the most exciting parts of the planning process for most brides-to-be. Whether you pick a new dress or want to wear one worn by a member of your family, you’ll want to make sure the dress is clean and prepared to be stored properly after the fact. Keep reading to learn more about wedding dress cleaning and restoration.
Gown Fabrics Matter
There’s no better way to have the matriarch of your family be a part of your special day than to wear her wedding gown. Whether it’s your mother’s or grandmother’s dress, you couldn’t imagine your happy day without it.
Your mom carries it down the stairs, opens the box, and– Gasp! It’s, uh… yellow. And stained. And something might have been eating it.
You’re baffled. How did this happen? And what can you do about it?
If you’ve got a dress that has yellowed, don’t panic just yet. Wedding dress cleaning and restoration services can do wonders. But first, a cleaner must identify the fibers used in a gown before attempting to clean it.
Non-silk fabrics can often withstand the cleaning agents needed to restore a gown to its original bright white. Silk wedding dresses, they’re a completely different story. Remember that vintage silk dresses were never truly white. Modern silk that is bright white has been dyed after the thread was harvested.
Cotton and linen are much easier to restore than silk. The tighter the weave, the more difficult it is to press out wrinkles. Silk satin is quite difficult to press out smooth again. Net or lace is easiest.
As for silk illusion net, you’re probably not going to save that. Silk illusion veils were popular in the first half of the 1900s. They look great new, but unfortunately, the fabric has a short shelf life. It gets all crunchy and dissolves in water if you try to clean it.
Light Fabrics Yellow
Whites and shades of pastel are especially susceptible to yellowing. It’s due to a degradation of the colorless fibers that compose the fabric. As they decay, they turn yellow. And as the decay continues, they progress from a light yellow to a moderate yellow color.
Not all vintage gowns need color restoration. Fabrics such as rayon, cotton, or other non-silk fabrics may age in an attractive way. A very pale yellow wedding dress sometimes has a vintage look that you might not what to change. Think royal princess. Perhaps only a cleaning is necessary. Cleaning and restoration are not the same thing.
Dresses Get Contaminated
During manufacturing, chemicals added to process the fabric can lead to yellowing. Textile softeners sometimes include chemicals that comprise chlorine, oils, and even animal fats. These products all decompose in long-term storage. And they can make your fabric decay as well.
They also attract dirt, dust, and oils during the wedding day. While in storage, they ramp up the speed of yellowing. Exposing a gown to direct sunlight, humidity, or extreme heat can impact its fibers long term too.
Atmospheric pollutants also play a part. Nitrogen, found in the air, combines with certain fabrics to cause yellowing. Also to blame are automobile pollution, home heating systems, and industrial air pollution. That’s why preservation facilities have state-of-the-art air circulation and purification systems.
In storage, polyethylene (plastic) bags cause phenolic yellowing of fabrics. This yellowing also occurs from storage in cardboard, papers, and other wrapping materials. Keep dresses safe from these contaminants if you want to restore them later.
Stains can rapidly advance decay of fibers. Especially deep stains. And attempts to treat those stains can cause even more damage to the gown.
Sometimes stains aren’t that noticeable, like those from champagne. But the sugar is in the fibers and contributing to decay. If dresses are left with even slight stains, they can come out of storage dark brown or even black.
On the wedding day, a dress is exposed to all kinds of contaminants. Do you ever wear white? Then you know how dirt, grass stains, and food love to show up on white clothing. Wedding gowns are no exception.
Body lotions, perfumes, and sweat all do a number on a dress, leading to stains. Keep these products off of your dress as much as possible.
Wedding Dress Cleaning and Restoration
Okay. It looks like the old dress survived the wedding day without any obvious staining. But most of the staining on a wedding gown is invisible to the naked eye. After decades of storage, invisible sweat or sugar stains turn into brown splotches. Those brown monsters never stop eating away at the fabrics in the gown.
If you need to remove these stains, only water-based solutions remove them. This requires the whole dress to be soaked and restored to the true color. Water (plus our formula) dissolves the oxidation that provides a gown’s heirloom color. Dissolving stains is tricky business because fabrics can dissolve right along with them.
Holes, Stains, No Problem!
Dresses with holes, stains, or in need of excessive alterations may be hard to restore. And doing so might be expensive. Fragile gowns may need to be lined and mended onto the lining to make sure they last through the wedding day. Some brides opt to wear such fragile gowns only for the ceremony and change into a newer gown for the reception.
Color restoration requires removal of metal buttons because it rusts in the solution. Metal hooks and eyes are also removed for the same reason. Pearls can lose their polished covering and look opaque. Fabrics may shrink in different ways and have to pressed back into shape. Or the hem may need to be removed and resewn.
Get Your Gown Cleaned and Restored
On your wedding day, the two of you will unite as one. There’s no greater expression of love or acceptance. But to have the happiest, most perfect day, you’ll want a stunning dress. You’ll want to command the attention of everyone present, especially your partner.
Call and ask about our wedding dress cleaning and restoration services. You can count on us to give your dress the personal attention it needs. We follow a multi-step process to erase years of storage. Put on that dress and walk down the aisle as the radiant bride you deserve to be!