Birmingham Wedding Gown Care Blog

Cleaning A Silk Wedding Dress

Posted by David Whitehurst on August 28, 2012

Silk Wedding Dress
 Don't let mishandling destroy your perfect dress!

A simple Google search can locate hundreds of ways to clean a Silk Wedding Dress.  I’ve seen sites saying that it’s ok to use everything from baby shampoo to vegetable oil, Woolite to hair conditioner.  Sometimes these methods may very well work, and sometimes they don’t.  Is it worth the risk?

Types of Silk

First we need to understand that not all silk is created equal.  There are wild silks, cultivated silks, and even synthetic silks.

Wild silks are much more expensive and labor intensive therefore aren’t as common. They usually have to be carded as wild silks almost always start as smaller strands. 

Cultivated silks are able to be processed mechanically, or in one long strand so aren’t quite so pricey. 

Synthetic silks are really nylon or lyocell, a type of cellulose fiber similar to cotton. 

Wild and Cultivated Silks are an organic protein fiber but there are also synthetic silks that can still be called “100% Silk.”

Your gown may also be several layers. This is important to think about as not all the layers may be silk. Certain silks can shrink up to 8% just from being wet!  It’s for this reason that silk fabric should be prewashed prior to construction of any garment, but sadly that’s not always the case.   Is each layer silk?  If you have tulle layers, cotton layers, synthetic layers, etc… each will shrink differently.   It’s very easy to see how a gown that was a “perfect fit” before washing can feel not quite right afterwards. 

beaded detail
 The details are the most fragile part of the dress.

Beading and decorations like lace and rhinestones make the cleaning process even more difficult.  Not only can you accidently destroy the decorations by attempting DIY Silk Wedding Gown Cleaning, but the decorations can destroy the silk fibers of the dress itself through agitation regardless if it’s by hand or machine.  Oftentimes the compositon of the detailing of a dress will have to be considered carefully before cleaning. Certain chemicals can dissolve plastic pearls or beads. 

Our Certified Wedding Gown Specialists here at Champion Cleaners in Birmingham Alabama suggest letting a professional clean your Silk Wedding Dress.  This is why:

  • Each type of silk is different on a molecular level.  Different types require different processes. 
  • Silk fibers are 20% weaker when wet and must be handled with the upmost care
  • Most often, dry cleaning formulas are better suited to clean silk gowns than water
  • Silk has poor elasticity.  If your gown is incorrectly handled and fibers are elongated they will remain stretched.  Ever hung a wet sweater on a wire hanger?  You know those little tufts that occur on your shoulders from the hanger?  That is a visible identifier of fiber elongation.  If any “tufts” occur on your dress, they will stay there.
  • As true silk is an organic compound, just like anything organic, it will decompose.  Sunlight can weaken the fibers on a cellular level or it can become a buffet for insects.  Proper handling ensures that the silk remains virile and strong for years to come.
  • Silk is a poor conductor of electricity and thus is prone to static cling.  Home washing almost always creates triboelectric charging or contact electrification.  This means layers will tend to stick together more or even stick to your legs and that flowy feeling of most dresses will be minimized or gone.

A Wedding Gown is often the most important and most expensive garment you’ll ever buy so don’t risk destroying your investment.  Leave the cleaning in the capable hands of our Wedding Gown Specialists in Birmingham, Alabama.

Wedding Gown Cleaning in Birmingham AL

We Will Clean and Steam Your Wedding Dress In A Week...Or Less.

Just tell us when you need it and we'll do everything in our power to get it done...on your schedule. 

Please call 205.588.4120 for an appointment.

Champion Wedding Gown Specialsit
2548 Rocky RIdge Road
Birmingham, AL 35243

Read more about our services.


Topics: Bridal Gowns, wedding dress cleaning, wedding dress cleaning Birmingham Alabama, Silk Wedding Dresses, Cleaning & Pressing

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