Waking up the morning after and glancing over at your Wedding Dress to see the wine stains, dirty hems and footprints all over the train of your dress! The sign of a great night, no doubt, but when you are planning to keep your Wedding Dress safe for years to come or you would like to sell it on, you want it to be in as close to perfect condition as possible.
I experimented myself, with my own Wedding dress, several days after my Wedding. I had designed my own Chiffon Wedding Dress and had it created by a seamstress on Etsy, so my dress was not one that cost an absolute fortune from a top-end designer and I was happy to experiment with washing it myself.
PLEASE NOTE: I can not guarantee that this will be successful on all chiffon dresses, and should be properly researched before cleaning dresses of other materials – please only attempt this at your own risk. If you have a very expensive wedding dress – please take it to a dry cleaner!
I initially tried to find some tutorials online, but of course every wedding dress is different and unique. I took advice from the lady who altered my dress, and decided to plunge the entire dress (lace, boned bodice, beaded belt and everything) straight into a warm/hot soapy bath.
I started with the skirt first to try and get as much dirt off of it as possible. Unfortunately most of the dirt was stuck in the sewn hem of the lining, which turned out to be more tricky, so I gently scrubbed it with a soapy toothbrush for quite awhile, rinsing it in between. I also gently rubbed any marks on the skirt area with the toothbrush, and managed to get most of them out.
After letting it soak for about 20 minutes, I decided to plunge the bodice into the bath as well (it was in need of a good clean after several glasses of white wine accidentally got thrown on it on the dance floor!) and left it to soak for another 20 minutes.
It was more difficult to clean the bodice, as it was made from a delicate lace that couldn’t be so easily scrubbed, and I found it better to continuously dunk the whole dress in and out of the bath several times, before lightly scrubbing over the bodice with soap and a toothbrush, and then again dunking it to rinse it off. As the dress was lined as well, and had a lot of material, it took several baths of clean water, and numerous dunking to rinse the dress thoroughly.
The entire process took me all day, between letting the dress soak, scrubbing (this took a very long time) emptying baths, refilling and rinsing – but I was very pleased with the outcome and amazingly it came out looking almost brand new!
After thoroughly rinsing it, I then hung it on a clothes hanger for the next 24 hours, and let it dry.
Now I’ll pack it away in the cupboard for years to come, to show my daughter one day.