With an average cost between $1,800 and $2,400, your wedding gown might be one of the most expensive pieces of clothing you purchase. Whether it’s the special memories or the possibility of passing your dress down, properly preserving your wedding dress helps keep it in prime condition for special occasions to come. Here are the steps you can take to help maintain your gown’s color, fabric, and shape, so it lasts a lifetime!

Start Cleaning & Preserving Your Wedding Dress Right Away

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Don’t wait until you’re back from your honeymoon to start the dress preservation process. Since there are many steps to properly preserve your gown, and waiting to start allows more time for stains to set in, you’ll want to begin the process as soon as possible. Start by leaving your gown with the mother of the bride or maid of honor, so they can take the dress to be cleaned.

Get Your Wedding Dress Dry Cleaned…

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Before you can preserve your gown, you may want to consider taking it to a professional dry cleaner who specializes in wedding gown cleaning. When deciding on the best dress cleaner, take the time to research and ask questions about their cleaning process. While examining the dress, a professional cleaner should read the care label inside the gown to know what material the dress is made of. Dresses made of polyester or rayon should be treated differently than dresses made of more delicate materials like cotton and silk.

…Or Clean Your Wedding Dress Yourself

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A more affordable option for cleaning your wedding gown is to do it yourself. Before you start the cleaning process, check if your dress says dry clean only, as you will not be able to soak or wash it in this case. You’ll also need to know what material your gown is made of because not all dresses can be cleaned with the same solvent or process. Make sure to read all the directions on the tag inside of the dress, so you know which options are safe. If you can’t wash your wedding dress, spot-clean it with a stain remover like cornstarch, vinegar, baking soda, or laundry detergent, along with an unused toothbrush for gently scrubbing stains. A clothing steamer can also help eliminate odors and smooth out any wrinkles.

Make Any Necessary Dress Repairs

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Before storing your wedding gown, you’ll want to make minor dress repairs for damage that occurred on the wedding day. Thoroughly inspect every inch of your gown, especially the high-wear areas like the bodice, silhouette, and hemline. If you can’t stitch yourself, consider taking your gown to a tailor who can fix loose threads or buttons and repair any small tears, broken hems, or loose beadwork.

Don’t Hang Your Bridal Gown

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To help maintain the shape of your dress and avoid ruining the seams, it’s best not to hang a wedding dress long-term. Instead, the gown should be folded flat, which helps avoid creating creases in the bodice and skirt. If you’re planning on hanging your dress short-term while deciding what to do, put it on a sturdy, padded hanger using the ribbon loops from inside the dress. Don’t hang your dress by the shoulders, as the weight of the gown can stretch the material.

Use Proper Packing Materials

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When preserving and packing your wedding dress for storage, you must use pH-neutral, acid-free materials to prevent the gown from turning yellow. Instead of using colored tissue paper, invest in acid-free tissue paper to avoid any color wearing off on the dress. Additionally, avoid plastic or cloth garment bags because these items can let light and humidity in. To ensure you have all the correct materials, consider purchasing a wedding dress preservation kit.

Store in a Wedding Gown Storage Box

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Instead of using a garment bag to store your dress, opt for a wedding dress box for better protection. Consider which type of wedding dress box you want to use, and make sure you get the right size based on the measurements of your dress. Once you decide on the box, properly fold the gown and use tissue paper between each layer, which helps you from snagging the dress. Keep in mind, the preservation box should not be airtight. The dress should be able to breathe to help avoid permanent creasing, as well as mold and mildew growth.

Consider Getting Your Wedding Dress Professionally Preserved

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Instead of trying to prep your dress for storage yourself, consider getting your gown preserved by the experts. The average cost of preserving your dress is between $250 to $1,000, with an average time of four to 10 weeks. During this process, the preservationist will remove stains, make repairs, reinforce seams, and properly box the dress for storage to protect your bridal gown from mildew, mold, yellowing, and permanent creasing.

Inspect Your Dress Often

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You should take the time to inspect your gown about once a year. Make sure to wash your hands and remove any natural oils and lotions, before carefully opening the box. Ideally, when touching the gown, you should wear white cotton gloves to help maintain the dress’s color and shine. Check for any stains, and if any damage has occurred while in storage, you can take the dress to a professional for restoration. Once you’re done inspecting the gown, properly refold it to help avoid permanent creases, repackage the garment with the same acid-free materials, and place it back in storage.

Store the Dress in a Cool, Dry Space

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Once your dress has been carefully packaged, either by you, or a professional, store it somewhere safe from extreme temperatures, sunlight, and humidity to preserve the fabric’s color and prevent mold growth. You’ll want to avoid storing your preserved gown in the attic or basement because those spaces get hot, cold, or humid. Instead, opt for a cool place with consistent temperatures, like the shelf in your closet, under your bed, or in a climate-controlled storage unit.


Looking for a place to store your preserved wedding gown? Life Storage offers secure climate-controlled storage units at facilities across the U.S. Rent your storage space today!

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