Wedding Gown Info

Posted on Jun 25, 2012 in Tips from Charles | 0 comments

Wedding Gown Info

The gown.

Have the gown cleaned shortly after the wedding. Impurities on the gown will age with time and become more difficult or impossible to remove. A good time period would be within two weeks, at most a month.

Decorative trim is the major concern when cleaning wedding gowns. First, the plastic beads on the gown may dissolve, either partially or totally if the gown is drycleaned. Your dry cleaner can test a sample of the beads before dry cleaning to determine if the beads will dissolve when dry cleaned This test is performed by immersing the beads in dry cleaning solvent for thirty minutes. This test is limited in value for two reasons. First, only some of the beads are tested. Beads of different styles or manufacturer may contain different materials. Secondly, the beads are often coated with a finish that is resistant to dry cleaning solvents, but the thread hole through the center of the bead is not coated. With this type of bead, the dry cleaning solvent will dissolve the plastic on the inside of the bead, leaving only an “eggshell” or thin shell.

Secondly, the appliqués on the gown may be attached with glue, rather than being sewn. If the appliqués are attached by glue, the cleaning process may dissolve the glue. The suitability of the glue to cleaning cannot be readily determined.

The cleaning process.

The cleaning process begins with an inspection of the gown. Stains are treated to ensure proper stain removal. Next the gown is cleaned by either dry cleaning or wet cleaning. Wet cleaning is a cleaning process that uses water, limited agitation, and special soaps. The preferred method to use for cleaning is to wet clean the gown. Most of the stains on a wedding gown (champagne, soft drinks, cake, dirty hem) are water soluble. Wet cleaning will naturally dissolve these type of stains. The plastic beads are not affected by water. The glue used to attach appliqués and beads may be affected, depending on the type of glue. Dry cleaning solvent will naturally dissolve oily type stains, with limited capability to dissolve water soluble stains. When Oak Forest Cleaners dry cleans a wedding gown that will be placed in storage, the gown is first cleaned using a modified dry cleaning cycle. Soap is added as in normal cleaning, but agitation is limited. Next the gown is rinsed in distilled solvent in order to remove any soap that may remain in the gown. After either wet cleaning or dry cleaning, a second inspection is performed, and if additional cleaning is required, it is performed. The gown is then pressed, and packaged for storage.

The finished product.

When a gown is claimed by the customer, please open the packaging and inspect the gown. We have given extra effort to not contaminate the gown after it has been cleaned. Make sure your hands and the surrounding area are clean. Ensure that all pieces are present. When storing the gown, do not place it in an attic or in a basement. An attic is not desirable because the heat can cause problems. The basement is not desirable because of high humidity which is necessary for insects to survive or dampness which promotes mildew. Pins and foam padding should be removed from the gown. Headpieces, veils, shoes, or other accessories should be stored separate from the gown.

Questions and answers.


Will my gown yellow?

Some yellowing is normal over the years. The hot temperatures in an attic will accelerate any yellowing. Open the box and inspect the gown at least every 5th anniversary.

Do you use acid free paper?


If the wedding gown was not cleaned before storage, what should be done?

Have the gown cleaned now. Impurities in the gown can cause long term damage.

The wedding gown has yellowed, but I want to use it. What should be done?

Oak Forest Cleaners has experience and specialized chemicals to whiten a gown. This process is best performed in the planning stages of a wedding. All bleaching and whitening processes affect the material to some degree. To limit the long term (years) affect of whitening, the best time to perform this process is in the planning stages of a wedding.

Why does Oak Forest Cleaners not clean wedding gowns shortly before the wedding?

A wedding is a very emotional time. If anything should go wrong, regardless of responsibility, the problem is magnified. We prefer to do limited spot cleaning shortly before a wedding to avoid these problems.

What is the “Zurcion Method?”

The “Zurcion Method” of cleaning is wet cleaning. The Federal Trade Commission settled charges with two wedding gown manufacturers who violated the Care Labeling Rule by using the “Dryclean Only by Zurcion Method Continental” care instructions when the companies agreed to pay civil penalties of $60,000. The action followed a complaint filed by the FTC alleging that Continental Gown Service, Inc. provided manufacturers with care labels that falsely advertised that the company was the only drycleaner able to clean the gowns.

What is wet cleaning?

Wet cleaning is washing with special soaps and limited agitation.

Are alternative methods of cleaning available?

Some dry cleaners advertise that they seal the gown in a bag that is filled with an inert gas. It is questionable if this process is worth the extra expense. The bag cannot be opened for inspection of the gown. This means any problems will not be known for years. At that time they may be impossible to resolve or the company may be out of business.


Want more information; call Charles Enderlin at Oak Forest Cleaners, Little Rock, Arkansas, (501) 224-7611.


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