How to Clean a Wedding Dress

by Alexa
10 Minutes

Your wedding day is a monumental occasion you’ll want to cherish forever. From photos and videos, to keepsakes, and of course, the beautiful wedding dress, there are so many components that help keep the day fresh in your mind.

A wedding dress sees a lot of activity. From trying it on to buying it, transporting it, and all it goes through on the actual wedding day, there’s no question it could use a good cleaning after the special occasion wraps up.

This guide will teach you all about how to clean a wedding dress, from spot cleaning to storing.

Can you clean a wedding dress in the washing machine?

No! You shouldn’t clean a wedding dress in the washing machine.

A wedding dress is traditionally much more intricate and delicate than your standard dress. It features a ton of fabric that makes it heavy and bulky, which is not ideal for the washing machine.

Furthermore, it likely has very delicate fabric and embellishments, such as lace, tulle, silk, sequins, etc. So, unless the wedding dress you chose states on the care tag that it can be washed in the washing machine, avoid this cleaning method.

Can you clean a wedding dress with OxiClean?

Generally speaking, yes! OxiClean is used to fight tough stains on fabric and more. It is thought to be safe for many types of garments, including a wedding dress.

However, to be safe, you should find a small, inconspicuous section on your wedding dress to test with OxiClean first.

How to spot clean a wedding dress

To spot clean the affected area, first try mixing a few drops of a gentle dishwashing soap with water and treating the stained area. Be sure to dry with a hairdryer, as air drying can leave behind a mark. This method is ideal for all fabrics and immediate and/or light stains.

However, if you have a set-in stain, or something drastic like red wine, you’ll want to try a different method.

Red wine stain

For red wine, dab the stain with a clean, white cloth to soak up as much of the liquid as possible.

Pour water or club soda onto the cloth, then dab at the stain more. Be sure to dab, not rub. Rubbing will push the stain further into the fabric. Dry with a hairdryer.

Oily food, oily makeup stains

An oil stain from oily food can be addressed by sprinkling a liberal amount of talcum powder over the stain. Wait about 10 minutes, then shake off the excess powder.

Ink stain

Put a cloth behind the fabric of your wedding dress, then spray the ink stain very lightly with hairspray. Allow the hairspray to set for five minutes, then dab away the ink stain with a damp cloth. Dry with a hairdryer.

Blood stain

If blood makes its way onto your wedding dress, and it’s still wet, moisten a cloth with your saliva, then rub it gently over the stain.

If the blood has dried, dab the stain gently with cold water, holding the cloth on the blood for a minute to lift it up and out. Dry with a hairdryer.

Wedding dress

Photo from Alexa. Check out her tutorial on Thrift Store Wedding Dress Transformation: How I Altered My Own Gown. Follow her on YouTube: Alexa Sunshine83.

How to clean a wedding dress

For the general at-home cleaning of your wedding dress, you’ll want to soak your dress in a tub. Make sure your bath has been thoroughly cleaned beforehand. Then, follow these instructions.

Tools and materials needed:

1. Fill the bath with cool water and add cleaning ingredients

Once the bath has been filled with cool water, mix in stain remover and a gentle liquid detergent.

Avoid hot water as this can damage delicate fabrics and embellishments.


2. Soak the dress

Gently lower the wedding dress into the bath. Allow the dress to soak for an hour. 

3. Gently scrub stubborn areas with a toothbrush

For any areas that did not have specific stains to spot clean prior, but that look off-color, use a toothbrush (avoid embellishments).

Pull the area out of the water and sprinkle or spray some stain remover on the area, then scrub gently with the toothbrush. 

Place back in the water and allow to soak for another 30 minutes. One area that will likely need a scrub and extra soak like this is the hem of the dress. 

4. Rinse the dress

Fill the bathtub with cool water and swish the dress around to remove the soap. Drain the tub and repeat the process until there are no signs of soapy residue left. 

5. Dry the dress

Allow the dress to dry on a large drying rack in the empty tub. 

How to store a wedding dress

Now that your dress has been washed and dried, it’s time to store it! 

You can press the dress first on low heat, being careful to avoid embellishments.

Once pressed, loosely fold the wedding dress in half, then wrap it in acid-free tissue paper before storing it in a box out of sunlight. Under the bed or in the closet are both great options. 

How to clean a wedding dress

I hope you found this guide on how to clean a wedding dress helpful! Did these tricks work for you? Let me know in the comments.

Check out my handy post on How to Put String Back in Pants: 4 Easy Methods.

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