Birmingham Wedding Gown Care Blog

Can You Wash A Wedding Dress?

Posted by Brandi Kane on September 19, 2012


We frequently get asked how we Wash A Wedding Dress.  Here are the steps we use for this process.


Pre-Cleaning Inspection of the Wedding Dress

Warning - Do not try an clean a silk wedding dress yourself.  Leave silk to the professional.  And be sure to check all layers of the dress looking for silk.

Every dress is different and has different issues.  We begin every wedding dress cleaning with a thorough inspection looking for specific problems that are common to most wedding dresses brought in.  From this inspection we map our approach for the wedding dress cleaning.

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Topics: wedding dress cleaning Birmingham Alabama, Silk Wedding Dresses, polyester gown, Cleaning and Preservation

Cleaning A Silk Wedding Dress

Posted by David Whitehurst on August 28, 2012

 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. 

 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.

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

Tips For Spot Cleaning Silk Wedding Dresses

Posted by David Whitehurst on July 4, 2011


Dealing with Two of the More Common Stains - Wine and Lipstick - On A Silk Wedding Dress

Silk is one of the most delicate fabrics known today, and also one that is high on many Bride's list.  Unfortunately, the temperamental nature of this fabric can be dangerous around wedding time, so here are some tips for spot cleaning silk wedding dresses to help you protect your dress before making it to a wedding gown preservationist.

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Topics: wedding dress stains, Silk Wedding Dresses, Wedding Dress Care, Wedding Gown Specialist

Tips to Preserve Silk Wedding Gowns

Posted by David Whitehurst on June 14, 2011

Caring For Silk Wedding Gowns So They Will Last A Lifetime

Silk is a very popular fabric to use in a wedding gown because it is lightweight and elegant.  However, silk is very delicate and requires special care.

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Topics: wedding dress stains, wedding gown, Wedding Dresses, Silk Wedding Dresses

Silky Wedding Dresses and Fabric Finishes

Posted by David Whitehurst on April 26, 2011

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Topics: Wedding Dresses, Wedding Dress Fabrics, Silk Wedding Dresses

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