When it comes to potential wedding-day disasters, getting a giant stain on your wedding dress minutes before you walk down the aisle might be at the top of the list. Fortunately, there are actually ways to get rid of (or mask!) wedding-dress stains quickly and efficiently—you just need a few household items, most of which are readily available at drug stores or from a hotel concierge.
So instead of freaking out about the what-ifs, take preventative action, have a general sense of how to clean a wedding dress, and be prepared!
We asked two experts, David Edricks of Edricks Fine Drycleaning in Farmington, Connecticut, and Kathy Kimmel of Kimmel Wedding Gown Preservation & Restoration in Upper Sandusky, Ohio, about how to clean a wedding dress, and they were happy to share their insider tips.
A few general notes
Know your dress
“Your consultant at your bridal salon should be able to advise you on the fiber content and what to do in case of a spill,” says Kathy. “There should also be a care label in your wedding gown. When you spill something on artificial fiber, it is much easier to get rid of the stain than if you spill something on a natural fiber such as silk because natural fibers are hollow and absorb the spill.”
Don’t panic—but move quickly
The longer a stain sets into a dress, the harder it will be to remove. However, if you panic and move too quickly, you may make matters worse. “Too many times consumers rub stains with different concoctions in order to remove the stain quickly,” David says. “They usually make matters worse by pulling color from the fabric, chaffing the stained area, creating a permanent water ring, or creating a hole in a delicate garment.”
Remove the excess
Blot the stain first with a clean white napkin or cloth to remove any excess debris. Never rub the garment or the stain will set in even more.
Before you go all in and attempt to remove the stain, test the concoction you’re using (see below for different solutions) on an unexposed seam or hem by blotting 10 times. “If there is no damage to the fabric or color of the gown, you may proceed,” says David.
Use a white napkin
“Put a small amount of the solution on a white napkin, and then blot by pressing the napkin on the stain until the stain transfers onto the napkin,” says David.
Kathy recommends placing a white towel under the spot to be treated before dabbing or blotting it out. “Change the position of the towel to provide a clean area beneath the stain as necessary,” she says.
“If you have access to a hair dryer, dry the stain in a circular motion from the outside of the stain to the center,” says David.