How to Clean & Remove Stains from Heirloom Gowns
Rituals and rites of passage are times when family heirloom items are extra special. Wearing Grandma’s wedding veil or mom’s dress at your own ceremony or watching your child be welcomed into your faith in the gown you wore as a baby adds another level to these important moments and memories.
Vintage Wedding Gown Cleaning: Restore & Revive
If you’ve opened the carefully preserved box holding an heirloom gown or veil and found the cloth to have yellowed or have brown stains, you’re not alone. In fact, wedding dress restoration before and after are common submissions to MyOxiClean. Oxygen-based bleach like OxiClean™ Versatile Stain Remover is gentle on vintage or fragile fabrics such as lace and tulle, and even old, set-in stains can be removed or significantly lightened to brighten a white item and get it ready to wear for the big day.
Supplies to Clean a Stained Wedding Dress
- OxiClean™ Versatile Stain Remover
- Warm water
- A small bowl or measuring cup to hold your OxiClean™ solution
- A soft bristled toothbrush and/or a soft cleaning cloth such as microfiber
- A laundry sink, bathtub, or basin large enough to rinse the fabric
- Hangers and an area to hang dry the dress
How to Clean a Wedding Dress with OxiClean™
It’s easy to get stains on your wedding dress, especially along the bottom from the gliding and dancing, down the front from champagne or cake dribbles, or under the arms.Check those areas and follow these steps to remove visible stains or to wash these vulnerable areas even if nothing is visible.This is the same process for old, set-in, yellow or brown oxidation stains that you may notice when removing an heirloom wedding gown from storage. Older stains may need more repetition or longer wait times than newer stains, but the gentle, oxygen-based bleach in OxiClean™ Versatile Stain Remover will lift and lighten even vintage stains.
In a bowl or measuring cup, mix water and OxiClean™ Versatile Stain Remover following the directions on the package. Make sure the powder is fully dissolved.
Dip your soft brush or cloth in the OxiClean™ solution and then apply to the stained areas on the fabric. Gently blot or lightly rub in circular motions to help work into the fabric.
Wait 5-10 minutes, then check the stain.
Repeat steps 2 and 3 as needed, until the stain is lifted.
Gently rinse the fabric with cool water. Try using a measuring cup of water and pouring over the fabric while holding it over the sink or tub.
Use a clean, preferably white towel to blot the fabric and remove as much water as possible. Hang the dress to dry fully. Place the dress over the tub or put towels underneath to catch any drips while it dries.
Always check the label on your gown and do what it recommends. Test
OxiClean™ on an inconspicuous area like the inside of the hem first. After the dress is
completely dry you can use your steamer to remove any wrinkles then prep it for storage.
Restoring Yellowed Veils & Trains with OxiClean™
No matter how carefully a vintage veil or lace was packaged decades ago, the yellowing of time can make it look dingy and dull. If you’re planning to honor a family member by wearing an heirloom veil or looking forward to donning the perfect vintage piece on your big day, here’s how to safely whiten and brighten a yellowed veil so it’s wedding-ready and beautiful.
Supplies Needed to Remove Yellow Stains from a Veil
- OxiClean™ Versatile Stain Remover and supplied measuring scoop
- Warm water
- A laundry sink, bathtub, or basin large enough to submerge the fabric
- Clean towels for drying the fabric
- A camera for before and after pics to amaze your family, friends, and fans
How to Whiten Vintage Lace
In your sink or tub, mix water and OxiClean™ Versatile Stain Remover following the directions on the package. Swish around to be sure the powder is fully dissolved.
Carefully submerge the entire veil or lace item into the cleaning solution. Make sure the lace has room in the basin to open and allow the OxiClean™ to reach all areas of the fabric.
Wait 30 minutes up to 2 hours to allow the OxiClean™ to penetrate the fibers and fight stains. You can stir the veil around in the water and check on it during this time to achieve the level of brightness you prefer.
Gently rinse the veil with cool water.
Lay out a clean, preferably white towel and lay the veil on top. Cover the veil with another clean towel. Starting at one end, fold the towel over into thirds or fourths to press the water from the veil into the towel fibers. Unfold, lift, and reposition the veil on dry towels and let it dry completely.
Cleaning Your Wedding Dress & Veil After the Big Day
If you’ve just had your wedding and want to preserve your dress and veil for future generations, don’t wait too long after the ceremony to get started. The longer stains stay in the fabric, the harder they can be to remove, plus sunlight, humidity, and pests can start damaging fragile fabric right away.
Experts suggest waiting no more than 30 days to wash and preserve your dress, so as part of your wedding plans ask someone to be in charge of getting your gown cleaned in the days after the event. Don’t wait until you return from your honeymoon.
In addition, the toughest stains on wedding dresses and veils are ones you probably can’t see. White wine and champagne drips dry clear, but the sugars will remain in the fabric and darken as they caramelize. Sweat stains also yellow over time. It’s always a good idea to wash your gown and veil even if you don’t see any visible stains. Future you and the person who hopes to wear your dress will thank you for it!.
Tips for Storing a Wedding Gown for Future Generations
If you’ve decided to preserve your dress and veil for siblings or future children to make part of their big days, you can use a professional gown preservation service or an acid-free garment box or bag at home.
Follow these tips to help keep your dress in the best possible condition for preservation:
- Use acid-free tissue paper or unbleached muslin to fill the skirt and body to help absorb and protect the dress from the inside and help it keep its shape and avoid permanent creasing.
- Wrap the dress in acid-free tissue paper or unbleached muslin and store in an acid-free preservation box or garment bag. If you’re hanging your dress, always use a large, padded hanger and never a wire or plastic one.
- Add silica-gel desiccant packets to the box or bag to help absorb moisture.
- Store the dress in a climate-controlled, dark area like under your bed or in a closet. Attics, garages, or crawl spaces do not make good storage areas for your dress due to temperature changes and humidity levels.
- Protect the dress box or bag from direct sunlight.
- Store in a cedar-lined chest or closet or use mothballs to prevent pests from munching on your gown.
Have a tub of OxiClean™ Versatile Stain Remover available at the unboxing to tackle any yellowing that happened over time.
OxiClean™ for All Your Gowns & Fragile Fabrics
All OxiClean™ versatile products are chlorine bleach-free and break down to oxygen and water for a gentle solution.