prom dress


How to Clean Your Formal Dress: Clean, Wash, Dry, Iron and Store

Hi, girls, you worn your evening dress and spent a memorable night or you had a fabulous time at your own wedding. Then you came home and problem came too: how to wash and store it.

Don't worry ladies. We will help you and guide you with step by step instructions and tips from inspecting, cleaning, washing, drying, ironing and storing your precious wedding gown and formal dress.

A. Inspection:
1. First thing first, check washing instructions on the fabric tag/label.
If it says 'dry clean only' then bring it to professional dry cleaner. Sometimes it may be better doing otherwise (save bill and read no. 3). If it doesn’t have instruction, then it’ll be a bit difficult. But no fear. We’ll help you tackle this.
2. Check what fabric is used to make the dress.
Silk, rayon, wool, chiffon, satin and acetate (use for making taffeta) are delicate and need special dry clean care. If the dress is made of polyester which most dresses are nowadays, hand washing and gentle wash cycle is acceptable.

If you have no idea of the fabric make, contact the shop where you bought the dress. Sometime asking experience seamstress and professional laundry service will help too as they have a fair share of knowledge in this field.

3. Check dress details.
If your dress has beading, sequins, lace, organza or tulle, careful spot cleaning or/and hand washing is the better option.

B. Cleaning:
Decide which cleaning method to use for the best outcome. Usually it’s a combination of spot cleaning with either hand washing or wash cycle.
Spot cleaning – For dresses with fragile embellishment such as beading, sequins, lace and delicate fabric. Also for dress with marks and dirt, you usually need to pre-treat the stains (hence spot cleaning).
Hand washing – For dresses with embellishment such as beading, sequins, lace. Fabric type can range from silk to polyester. As long as you take special care while washing.
Gentle wash cycle – For dresses with no or very minimal embellishment and made from polyester.

Spot cleaning
Never leave stains and dirt on dress for long period of time. Treat them as soon as possible to prevent them from setting into the fabric. The sooner you treat them, the easier the stains are removed.

1. Inspect dress for dirt and stains. Check dress exterior, interior, hem and train (if any).
2. Use mild stain remover to treat the stains.
3. Rub gently with fingers or soft sponge and let it sit for 30 minutes.
4. If the stains doesn’t come off, rub gently with undiluted liquid detergent (if you intend to wash the dress after that).
5. Problem with spot cleaning is it might leave undesirable ring/mark of the spotting agent. That is why it’s advisable to clean the dress completely after.
6. Even if the dress is labelled ‘No dryclean. No wetclean. Spot clean only’, you can with extra care hand wash the dress unless the dress is extremely fragile.

Hand washing
1. Fill sink/tub/basin with water. Do not use hot water as it will stress the fabric and sets most stains. Use cold water for blood, grease, dairy and grass stains. Use lukewarm water for fruit, fruit juice and mud stains.
2. Add very mild detergent or soap for the wash.
3. Submerge dress in the water. Leave it for 5 minutes.
4. Carefully scrub at the spot that you previously treated with your hand. For spot near or in between delicate area, use a soft toothbrush.
5. Drain the lukewarm water and fill with cold water.
6. Gently rinse the dress several times until no more soap is visible.

Gentle wash cycle
1. Zip the dress up to protect dress from zipper teeth and also to prevent zipper from damage. Remember to hook all hooks and eyes.
2. Undo buttons and ribbons and loosen corset back to prevent stressing the threads.
3. Turn dress inside out. This is to prevent wear and tear (although minimal) and to reduce colour fading during the wash.
4. Place dress in mesh laundry bag if you have one.
5. Finally put dress in the washer.
6. Use very mild detergent or soap for the wash.
7. Set cycle time to short unless the dress is very dirty.

C. Drying:
1. Never use a dryer for delicate or heavily embellished dress.
2. Air dry (drying by exposure to the air) is preferable for any formal dress and wedding gown with the dress remain inside out (if possible) for drying to prevent colour fade.
3. Do not wring the dress!
4. Dry dress under a shade or inside the house away from heat to preserve its original colour.
5. Hang the dress if it’s not too heavy.
6. Lay dress on flat surface to dry if dress is heavy. Reshape it if necessary. Reason for drying on flat surface is to prevent reshaping of the dress (weight of the water might pull down the dress if hanger is used)

D. Ironing:

1. Make sure the iron base and iron board cover is clean to avoid any mark on your dress.
2. Preferably use a clean white press cloth to make sure the iron isn’t leaving any marks at first.
3. For dress with ironing instruction, follow as stated. If not, start ironing with low temperature and gradually increase the temperature. If it starts to stick, lower the heat at once.
4. Steam iron is preferable.
5. Iron the dress very gently. Be careful when pressing near the embellishment.
7. For tulle, iron it at very low temperature with a pressing cloth and be extra cautious.

E. Storing:

1. Rest the dress for a few hours before storing.
2. Decide how you want to store the dress: In a plastic dress bag stuffed with acid-free tissue or in an acid-free box with stuffed acid-free tissue which the dress will be folded.
3. Store the dress in a cool dry place.
4. Change the acid-free tissue or/and acid-free box every 2-4 years.

We hope these tips will help you restore your beautiful wedding gown and formal dresses back to its glory days. For Paris Ciel customer, if you’re unsure of the dress material feel free to contact us anytime. :)

Related reading: http://likefashionedressit.blogspot.fr/2016/02/how-do-you-properly-care-for-sequin.html