Can a Dry Cleaner Clean and Preserve your Wedding Dress? - Wedding Dress Preservation

Can a Dry Cleaner Clean and Preserve your Wedding Dress?

by Kunal Madan

Can a Dry Cleaner Clean and Preserve your Wedding Dress?


Whether you live in a rural town or a major metropolis, it's likely that you've visited dry cleaner before. It's possible that you've taken winter coats in to have them cleaned before the cold season. Your parents may have been bringing work clothing to a family-operated dry cleaner's for years. In the majority of towns, you can find a few different dry cleaning options. However, it's likely that all of these businesses use the same types of equipment and the same processes, all without any issues. These methods may be a fantastic way to clean cotton dress shirts, but are they a safe way to clean clothing that's made from more delicate materials, such as a wedding gown?

Know What To Ask Before You Call

We have years of experience when it comes to cleaning and restoring wedding gowns. Because of this, we can offer guidance when it comes to questioning your dry cleaner. Your wedding dress is one of your most prized possessions, which is why you'll want to do everything you can to protect that investment. Naturally, we're not trying to say that you can't trust your wedding dress to a dry cleaner. We do, however, recommend a cautious approach. Sadly, many dresses have been seriously damaged due to dated equipment or techniques that were unsuitable for more delicate materials. These questions can help you to avoid these kinds of problems.

Speaking Up and Asking Questions Can Prevent Headaches in the Future

Take the time to print out or write down these questions before you speak with a dry cleaner in your area. If you're happy with the answers that they provide you, you can trust that they can safely clean and preserve your wedding gown. If you were less than comfortable with the answers that were provided to you, you'll want to look at other options. The Wedding Gown Preservation Company would be glad to answer your questions and can help you to preserve your wedding dress. Your gown can be turned into a heirloom that will be cherished generations from now


1. Do you offer a future guarantee against issues like staining or yellowing?

When you work with a company that offers cleaning and preservation services, you have to trust that they used appropriate techniques when caring for your gown. Some types of staining, such as sweat, are initially invisible. Over time, however, these spots can start to yellow or even brown. If you want to be able to trust that your dress has been cleaned properly, you'll want to work with a company that will inspect dresses before and after the cleaning has been done.

Beyond that, it's essential that the business shows that they are willing to stand by their work. You should work with a company that offers guarantees against future issues, such as yellowing. If a cleaner is trustworthy, they should have faith in their process and inspection methods, which means they will be comfortable offering a guarantee on the work that they do. In fact, ideally, a cleaner will offer a lifetime guarantee or a guarantee that lasts even longer than that. You should be able to trust that your gown will continue to look like new decades from now. 

If a cleaner does not have a guarantee, it's likely that there are issues with the quality of the work that they do. This is an easy way to see if a cleaner is confident about the work that they do. If cleaning company have a detailed inspection process, they should be able to identify potential problems, which means a guarantee shouldn't be an issue.  

Our Solution: We offer 100 year guarantee against issues like staining or yellowing

2. Can I see some examples of some of the more challenging restorations your business has handled?

Whenever you're investing in a service like this, you should try to see examples of the work that the cleaner has done. A company that offers wedding gown preservation should be able to show you a detailed portfolio with examples of the work that they have done, from antique dress restorations to stain removal. If a company is able to show you examples of challenging work they have done, you'll know that they will be able to handle preserving your dress, especially if it's in better condition.

A portfolio should convince you that the professionals working with your dress will treat it with an expert level of care. Take the time to look through a cleaner's portfolio. Examine the examples that they have shown closely. If a cleaner has shown they can handle challenging projects, then you can turn your dress over to them with no worries.

Our solution: Click here to view our before and after pictures.

3. Is your staff familiar with the newest fabrics used for wedding gowns and the latest stain removal techniques?

Styles and trends for wedding gowns change over time. This means that the fabrics dresses are made from aren't always the same. That's why it's essential that dry cleaning employees are regularly trained and educated in how to treat fabrics. This will ensure that the staff is able to treat stains and correct damage without causing harm to the gown.

In addition to learning about the latest materials, it's essential to keep up with new techniques for cleaning and preservation. The Dry Cleaning Institute of America provides educations on this matter. Ideally, you should entrust your gown to a team of experts that are regularly educated in fabric restoration techniques. If a team is familiar with the best preservation methods, you can count on them to bring your dress back to its former glory. 

Wedding gowns haven't stayed the same, and that's why preservation and cleaning methods should stay the same. Try to work with a company that makes a point of keeping up with what's been going on in the wedding world. A cleaner that studies the latest materials and cleaning methods is going to be able to take better care of your gown.

Our solution: Unlike dry cleaners, we only clean wedding gowns and preserve wedding gown. That is what we specialize in.

4. How will my gown be stored after it is cleaned?

If you want to make sure that the shape and color of your gown is maintained after the cleaning process is completed, proper storage is essential. Sadly, it's common for brides to store gowns in a basic plastic bag from the dry cleaner's. This material can harm fabric over time. The plastic often contains chemicals, which can seep into the material of your dress. Furthermore, these bags can retain moisture, which can lead to mold, mildew, and other issues. If your dress isn't being professionally cleaned and preserved, the smartest thing you can do is store it in some sort of fabric bag. These bags can breathe and can help to repel moisture. 

People often believe that preserved wedding dresses need to be stored in a container that is air-tight. However, this is inaccurate. In order for a gown's fabrics to maintain their quality, those fabrics must be able to breathe. A preservation chest can prevent dress to the fabric and give materials the opportunity to breathe. When you work with a cleaning company, you'll want to make sure they offer some sort of after-care solution that will keep your dress in excellent condition.

Our Solution: : Once we clean and preserve your gown, we place the gown in a preservation chest.

5. Is preservation included in the cleaning process?

When you ask this question, you should think about why you want to have your wedding gown cleaned. If you're planning on selling your dress, you may be satisfied with an option that only includes cleaning. However, if you want to turn your dress into a heirloom that can be passed down to future generations, preservation is essential. A preservation chest will be able to prevent future problems, including stains, UV light damage, dust accumulation, and yellowing. Another advantage of full preservation is that you'll be able to benefit from the last step of the SYSTEMK4 cleaning process. This means the fabric will be protected against future stains and yellowing in the future. If you think about your plans for the gown, you'll be able to make the right decision about how to proceed.

Our solution: Our preservation kits, include cleaning and preservation. We go through each step to ensure the gown will be safe to pass on for generations.

6. Are you able to provide references from clients that had a wedding dress preserved over the past 6 months? 

It's easy to understand why you would want to ask this question. If a cleaner isn't able to provide references from satisfied clients of their wedding gown cleaning and preservation services, you're better off going elsewhere. In fact, you shouldn't even call a company without reading their reviews online. It's important to vet cleaners as you explore your options.

Our solution: Yes, we have a lot of reviews that you can read. The Knot, Wedding Wire, and Google are a few places we’d recommend you check.

7. Do you provide any sort of guarantee, insurance, or protection plan?

Most companies that clean, preserve, and restore wedding gowns provide some sort of insurance or protection plan to clients. This provides protection in a worst-case scenario when a gown is damaged as it is being processed. These events aren't common, but there are problems that can occur. For example, this dress could be damaged when it is being shipped, or mistakes could be made during the preservation process. It's more likely that this will happen if you bring your gown to a business that has limited experience with gown preservation or is not used to working with newer materials.

When a cleaner doesn't offer any sort of insurance, you should take it as a warning sign. It's likely that they are not confident in their cleaning methods. You'll be better served by a service that offers you at least a few hundred dollars of insurance protection. If you have a couture gown, you may want more protection than that. You may want to purchase additional insurance so that you have all of the protection that you need.

Our solution: We stand behind our preservation. We provide a 100 year guarantee, all kits come with insurance, and have a 100 year history of doing wedding dress preservations.

8. What process do you use and what chemicals are involved?

When you ask this question, there is something specific you want to watch out for: "PERC." This is a hazardous chemical that, sadly, is still widely used by dry cleaning companies, especially those that have not updated equipment and techniques in a long time. Not only can PERC be toxic, but it can cause damage to the delicate materials that are used to make couture wedding gowns. In some cases, brides have had dresses destroyed by cleaners that used PERC. PERC can cause damage that is similar in nature to a chemical burn, and tragically, gowns damaged in this way can't always be restored.

If a dry cleaning company is serious about their environmental impact and the service that they provide, they will have upgraded to a cleaning system that is organic and powerful, such as SYSTEMK4. This solution isn't just better for delicate materials like the ones used on wedding dresses. It's also a better way to get rid of difficult-to-clean stains, even if those stains are set in. As an added bonus, SYSTEMK4 is an eco-friendly option. When a cleaner uses this system, they are limiting the number of pollutants they are adding to the water.

Our Solution: We use the SYSTEMK4 cleaning process on every single gown we clean and preserve.

9.Do you charge a fixed rate, or do rates vary based on the materials and style of the dress?

Asking this question will allow you to learn two essential things. First, you'll find out whether the cleaner takes a one-size-fits-all approach. Beyond that, you'll see if you're likely to be overcharged.

You can find wedding dresses in endless styles, and gowns can be made from countless materials. Some gowns are designed to be simple, with very few embellishments. There are dresses made from delicate materials, like lace. Some dresses are decorated with beads or sequins. Since there are so many types of dresses available, there should also be a variety of cleaning packages for brides to choose from. This is why we have a package that's designed to preserve more traditional gowns as well as a package designed for more detailed dresses that need special attention.

The cost of restoring an antique wedding dress can be higher, but typically, you can expect to pay somewhere between $150 to $300 to have a dress clean and preserved. If your dry cleaner quotes you a higher rate, it's possible that you're paying a big markup. Alternatively, the cleaner may not have a lot of experience with wedding gowns. They might be charging more to cover the cost of mistakes they make during the process.

Our solution: We charge a flat fee to clean, preserve, and restore your wedding gown.

10. Will my dress be processed in house, or will it be sent elsewhere?

If you start by asking this question, you may not have to ask any follow-up questions. If the cleaner is going to send your dress away, it's likely that you're being charged more for services that you could get for less online. It's common for women to bring gowns to a local cleaner because they're wary of shipping off their dress. However, it's possible that your dry cleaner will send the dress away rather than try to process it on their own.

These markups are understandable. After all, businesses have expenses to cover, and they need to turn a profit. With that said, if your budget is limited, it's best to save money in any way you can. If you ship a dress directly to a cleaner rather than use a middle man, you could save hundreds or more.

Our solution: We do the entire process inhouse in our New York cleaning facility. Our gown stays with us and does not go to a third party.



You shouldn't take any risks when it comes to your wedding gown. If you decided to go to a local cleaner,  you should make sure you ask plenty of questions before you make a commitment. If you don't feel like you can depend on the cleaners in your area, you should know that The Wedding Gown Preservation Company is always here for you. Let us give your gown the best care.

Kunal Madan
Kunal Madan