Wedding dresses are made to be worn only once on your wedding day, but if the wedding is big enough or fancy enough, you might find yourself with a dress you’d like to store and preserve.
However, storing your wedding dress can be tricky — if done incorrectly, it could look ratty and worn out just a few years after your wedding day. So here are some tips on how to store a wedding dress without damaging it:
Find Out What Type of Dress Your Dress Is
The first thing to do is find out what type of wedding dress your dress is and how to care for certain styles.
- You can refer to the label on the garment or ask someone at the store where you’re buying it if they know. If there isn’t an official label, like “wedding” or “bridal,” you’ll have to look at pictures online or ask others who have worn similar items.
- Once you know what kind of wedding dress it is (or even after), look up information about caring for different types: satin, lace-up shoes, silk crepe de chine etc.
Wedding Dress Cleaning
Wedding dress cleaning can be difficult, especially if the wedding gown is your first wedding dress. You want to ensure that you store your dress correctly and that it will be protected from any damage or dirt.
The best way to clean your wedding dress before storing it is to use a special bridal gown cleaner and then clean it with warm water and mild detergent. You mustn’t use harsh chemicals on your dress because this can damage the delicate fabric.
You should also avoid washing your wedding gown in hot water because this can cause the fabric to shrink and become brittle. If you have a silk gown, remember that dry cleaning may not remove all stains from the fabric, so you may need to have it professionally cleaned as well!
Protect Your Dress from Wear and Tear
You want to keep your wedding dress in good condition. While some wear and tear are inevitable, you can take steps to minimize it.
If you’re storing your dress at home:
- Protect the wedding dress fabric from pets and small children — they love to play with pretty things like fancy wedding gowns!
- Keep your wedding dress away from sunlight — you don’t want yellowed or faded fabrics. UV damage can also occur when you take photos of yourself with the dress on.
- Avoid using harsh chemicals on the fabric, such as perfume sprays or makeup removers (even if they say “gentle”).
Put The Dress in A Wedding Dress Storage Box
It’s important to find an acid-free box that is the right size for your dress for proper wedding dress preservation. You can find these at any fabric or craft store; they come in all shapes and sizes. Don’t worry too much about finding the perfect one — just make sure it’s clean and in good condition!
Next, you’ll want to ensure that your box has some padding inside so your dress doesn’t get dirty or damaged while it sits in storage. This may not be necessary if you’re using a vintage box (or something else).
Finally, choose an acid-free storage container with neutral pH paper — this will prevent wedding dress discoloration over time due to changes in environment/temperature conditions which could otherwise cause damage over time due to oxidation/rusting.
Make Sure the Foundation is Right
First and foremost, you want to make sure the foundation is right. To do this, you’ll need either an acid-free storage box with acid-free paper or another type of box with a lid (preferably something sturdy enough to hold the weight of your dress). If possible, choose a large box to accommodate your wedding dress — in other words, don’t try cramming it into an undersized container and hoping for the best!
To ensure that your dress is properly stored, keeping the environment as clean and stable as possible is important. The best way to do this is by keeping the room where you store your wedding gown at a low acidity level and a neutral pH (7).
Place the Dress in a Cool, Dark Place and Away from Sunlight
To ensure your wedding dress lasts for years, you should follow these dos and don’ts.
- Do not hang your wedding dress in the sun. The heat can cause damage to your material and it will fade faster than you’d like.
- Do not hang your wedding dress near a heat source such as an air conditioner, fireplace or radiator. A lot of heat is generated inside these appliances and could be enough to melt the delicate threads in your gown!
- Likewise, do not store items near any hot water source — like under a sink or next to a showerhead (unless you’re sure there aren’t any leaks). This includes dishwashers, where steam may build up inside and cause damage and clothes dryers that generate high temperatures on their vents. This can all lead to mildew growth…gross!
Light Can Harm a Wedding Dress
The most obvious danger is direct sunlight on a wedding gown; this will cause fading, discoloration and even burn-through if you’re outside in full summertime sun (or even with just some clouds overhead).
This is especially true if your dress is white. White is highly reflective, meaning more light reflects off it than other colors. Sunlight can damage a wedding dress, even if it’s just a little bit. If you’re not careful, sunlight can expose your dress to dirt and dust that will eventually wear down the fabric or discolor it.
Protect your wedding gown from dust and dirt by using soft fabric bags or wrapping them in plastic bags when storing them away from other decorations until after the wedding ceremony has ended.
Check out these other fascinating posts:
- How to Find the Perfect Wedding Dress for a Barn Wedding
- How to Choose the Best Backless Wedding Dress
- A Complete Guide to A-Line Wedding Dresses
The Hanging of Wedding Dresses Can Affect Their Longevity
- Dress hanging can affect its longevity. Do not try to save money by storing the dress in a very hot or cold room, as this can cause dry rot damage to the fabric.
- Store your dress vertically on its padded hanger rather than laying it flat. This helps maintain its shape and prevent wrinkles from forming when you pull it out for display/wedding photos or whatever else may come up down the road!
- Consider using a garment bag for your wedding dress preservation if you have one available, as this will help protect it from any harm.
- When hanging your dress, ensure the hangers are spaced far enough apart so your dress can move around. If you don’t have enough room for the whole dress to move around, it could also damage it and cause damage to other clothing items in the closet.
- It’s also important not to hang anything too heavy or light — the perfect balance is between seeing everything clearly without having parts of your wedding dress garment dangle off either end of a hook (or, worse yet, falling off entirely).
Protect Your Wedding Gown with a Good Quality Misting Spray (Not Water)
Misting sprays keep your wedding dress clean and protected from dust, dirt and other particles. They’re not water; they should be used sparingly on delicate fabrics (like silk) only when necessary.
Don’t store your gown while it’s still wet. You can tell if your wedding gown is still wet by feeling the material and seeing if there’s any moisture on your hands.
If there is, don’t let the wedding dress dangle in front of an open window or use a steamer; this will cause wrinkles in the fabric and make it less likely to dry properly. Instead, try using a hairdryer with low heat (about 150°F), which should be enough to remove all traces of moisture without damaging the fibers of your dress shirt or gown.
Once your wedding dress is dry, put it in a dark closet or cupboard. Do not attempt to wear the dress until it is scorched, as this can cause damage to the fabric and make you uncomfortable.
Ironing may be necessary after hanging since most dresses have wrinkles due to being folded over each other before storage.
Don’t Stretch or Fold the Dress Until You’ve Ironed It
- Iron seams that aren’t already opened or closed, such as the sleeves and bodice of a dress with bateau necklines (a boatneck).
- Also, remember to never iron directly over any stains or spots on your wedding gowns’ fabric due to their delicate nature. Instead, use an excellent quality double-sided starch/antibacterial spray before starching them down so they don’t get sticky against themselves while being dried out by heat from this method (this may take several hours).
- If there are tears in seams or other areas where water could have seeped in due to improper handling during storage periods, those should be treated similarly. Use either hydrogen peroxide diluted 50/50% solution OR acetone mixed 50/50% solution, depending upon which type works best where needed most often.
Avoid Ironing Any Seams That Aren’t Already Opened or Closed
Don’t iron seams that are not already opened or closed. If you’ve sewn your seam, don’t iron it open. This can cause the fabric to fray and produce more fuzz than necessary. Similarly, if you’re attaching a piece of hardware (such as buttons), ensure this is done before you start ironing your seams open or closed — you don’t want to be doing any damage!
Have A Bridal Jewelry Bag Handy
Another thing to keep in mind is that jewelry can be damaged by heat and moisture. If you’re storing your wedding dress, keep any jewelry you want with it — jewelry box, earrings, wedding band or whatever else — on a separate shelf or in a separate bag from the dress itself.
That way, your precious accessories will be safe if anything happens to your wedding gown (especially if it gets wet).
Also read: Donate Your Old Wedding Dress
Final Thoughts on How to Store a Wedding Dress
There are several ways to store your wedding dress after the day you marry. We recommend using a roomy closet with ample hanging space or a garment bag, which can be purchased at most department stores. If your dress requires careful keeping, we recommend taking extra care and storing it in an air-conditioned space away from sunlight.
Either way, your wedding dress is probably very special to you and keeping it safe is a must, so learn to store it properly so that it can continue to be passed down or remain in pristine condition!