How to Store Your Wedding Dress
You’ve spent hundreds of dollars and months of time crafting that special dress for your big day. Now the wedding is over and it is time to store that precious treasure.
Two things must be noted. First, traditional methods of storing wedding dresses are not the best way to preserve these delicate garments. I will go more into this in a moment.
Second, a wedding dress or any special occasion garment should be cleaned before it is put into storage. This will eliminate perspiration and body oils that can gradually deteriorate the fabric. Attempting to clean these complex dresses at home can often cause fabric distortions and stains. Anna Frisina, Textile Conservator of the Minnesota Historical Society recommends having your dress cleaned by either a highly qualified professional dry cleaner or by a textile conservator.
A qualified dry cleaner should look at the garment in your presence before undertaking the work. Sequins, beads, and buttons are often decomposed by the use of certain cleaning solvents; ask the dry cleaner if they will test these items prior to cleaning. If the dry cleaner seems hesitant, you may be better off seeking the services of a textile conservator.
A textile conservator is accustomed to cleaning delicate vintage garments. He or she will spot test the garment to make sure any solutions used on it are safe. Textile conservators will provide you with a written estimate of the work and charges before the work begins.
Once you have the garment cleaned you are ready to store it. Let’s consider the pitfalls you need to avoid when storing your bridal gown.
- Wedding dresses should not be stored in cedar chests, trunks, and wardrobes. Although touted as an insect free way to preserve your valuables, furniture made of cedar wood is very acidic and produces a gas that can damage textiles.
- Do not use blue paper. It can stain the gown.
- Wedding dresses should not be stored in the attic, or basement. These areas are too damp and garments stored in damp areas can easily mildew or become stained.
- Do not store wedding dresses in plastic bags. Humidity can build up within the bag, causing water damage to fabric.
- Do not hang a heavy gown to store it.
- Do not use moth balls. These are ineffective in preventing insect damage.
So how should you store your wedding gown?
Store your gown in the living areas of a well-ventilated, climate-controlled home. Closets are great.
- Store your gown folded if possible. Place it in an acid-free storage box especially designed for storing garments and use unbuffered acid-free paper to wrap it and pad between the folds. A box without a window is best, because insects can penetrate the window.
- Regularly clean the area where the gown is stored. This will prevent insect infestation.
- Check on the gown’s condition periodically, but do not handle it excessively.
A properly stored wedding gown can be proudly passed on for future generations of brides to wear.