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What can I do with my wedding dress to make sure it stays well preserved?

Perhaps you wore your grandmother’s elegant silk gown with the flowing train and the delicately embroidered veil that matched, or maybe you and your girlfriends spent weeks searching for the perfect wedding dress that you felt best reflected your personality. Now, you need to store this treasure so that the years do not steal any of its beauty.

You may want to leave the possibility open for your children to one day carry on the family tradition and walk down the aisle in this wedding gown. To best maintain its timeless grandeur, follow these important steps:

Check Wedding Dress Label for Instructions.

Your gown will have some specific instructions for cleaning and storage care. Wedding dresses may need to be dry cleaned or “wet-cleaned,” which means cleaned with water. Both of these processes we suggest leaving to a professional. Most polyester dresses can be hand washed, but test a small, hidden area to be sure. Labels may provide special instructions that specify the type of cleaning solvent that the dress requires. Check in with your bridal shop for a recommendation of an experienced dry cleaner that carries the type of supplies and equipment your dress needs.

Clean ASAP

To prevent any stains from setting have your gown cleaned as soon as possible. Check out the dry-cleaner and make sure the individual who will handle your dress has solid experience cleaning wedding gowns. Not all gowns require the same type of treatment. Some chemicals work great on silk but will damage sequins. Look for a cleaner that uses virgin solvent, rather than recycled. A gown cleaned in impure solvent will smell like it has been dry cleaned.

Do Not Use Plastic for Storage

Avoid storing the gown in a plastic dry cleaning bag or a plastic garment bag for very long, even if the wedding boutique sent the dress home with you in such a bag. Plastic may emit fumes that could yellow or otherwise damage your gown. In addition, if moisture gets trapped in the bag, the dress could mildew.

How do you want to preserve your wedding dress?

Decide whether you want to have the gown professionally boxed or hung or if you are going to handle it yourself. The following professional procedures should help you protect this heirloom.

Boxing your gown

Choosing to box your gown by a company that specializes in preserving wedding gowns is one option. The company will likely use an acid-free wedding box. You can ask for a box that is totally acid-free not simply one with an acid-free coating. This will provide more protection in the long run. They should pad the bodice and folds with acid-free tissue. Fabrics like rayon or polyester should use buffered tissue while natural material like silk should use un-buffered tissue.

If you have the gown boxed, do not get it sealed. A dress that has been folded will need to be taken out and rearranged every year or so to prevent folds from creasing and permanently damaging the dress. An added benefit of storing your dress in an unsealed container is that you may take it out, try it on and enjoy it occasionally.

Hanging your gown

Prevent wrinkles and have less maintenance in the future by choosing to have your wedding dress preservation company professionally hang the gown. You will not have to worry about creases developing and you will not have to remove your dress from the packing occasionally if you choose to hang your wedding dress. A cloth bag that contains no dye and a thickly padded hanger is best for this type of preservation. Dresses with narrow straps or none at all should be reinforced to prevent breakage. The bodice may be filled with acid-free tissue to help it retain its shape.


Check the dress at least once a year for problems. A spilled drink may be invisible when it dries, but over time it can oxidize and turn the area where it spilled brown. Have such spots cleaned right away. They can become harder to remove once they have been there awhile. Normally, they will show up within the first year of storing the dress.

When you remove your gown from storage wear plain, white cotton gloves. This will help to prevent dirt and oils from leaving residue on your wedding dress. Having oils, sweat, or dirt left on your gown can create stains.

After your dress has been cleaned and preserved, place your dress in an area where the air is dry and the temperature is cool. Make sure lighting is kept to a minimum or none unless needed as ultraviolent radiation can compromise textiles over a long period of time. A dehumidifier can assist if you plan on storing your wedding dress in your own home.

A climate controlled self storage unit will allow you to keep your wedding dress in a low temperature, dry air environment to help better protect not only your dress but any other clothing you would like to store. Rent your self storage unit with The Storage Mall to preserve your family’s beginning for generations to come.

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