How to Dry Clean a Wedding Dress

by Ryan Hart | Updated on October 7, 2023 | Post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.

Your wedding dress is one of the most important parts of your special day, but it can also be one of the most expensive. That’s why taking care of your dress after the wedding is important. One way to maintain your dress’s quality is to dry clean it.

The process of dry cleaning involves using solvents to remove stains and dirt from fabrics. It is a great way to clean delicate fabrics like wedding dresses, as it doesn’t involve water that can damage the fabric.

However, dry cleaning can be expensive, and not all dry cleaners are created equal.

In this article, we’ll give you tips on how to dry-clean your wedding dress so you can keep it looking beautiful for years to come.

Woman wearing wedding dress

Which Wedding Dress Fabrics Can Be Dry Cleaned?

When it comes to wedding dresses, the fabric has a significant impact on the overall look and feel of the dress. Fabrics of different types can give the dress a different texture, drape, and weight. Here are some common wedding dress fabrics you should know about:


For wedding dresses, lace is a popular choice and is often used for the bodice, sleeves, or as an overlay on the skirt. A variety of materials can be used to make it, including cotton, silk, or polyester. Lace adds a delicate and romantic touch to the dress and can be used to create intricate patterns and designs.


Often, silk is used to make wedding dresses. It has a soft and smooth texture that drapes beautifully and gives the dress a natural shine. However, silk can be expensive and delicate, making it difficult to clean and store.


Comfortable and breathable, cotton is often used for summer weddings. It has a soft, lightweight texture that is perfect for a casual or bohemian wedding dress. However, cotton can wrinkle easily, so it may not be the best choice for a formal wedding.


Synthetic fabrics like polyester are commonly used as a more affordable alternative to silk. It has a smooth and shiny texture that can mimic the look of silk. Polyester is also sturdy and easy to care for, making it a practical choice for a wedding dress.

Why Dry Clean a Wedding Dress

Weddings are one of the most special days of your life, and wedding dresses are one of the most important aspects of that day. The last thing you want is for your dress to be ruined by stains or damage. That’s why it’s important to have your wedding dress professionally dry-cleaned.

It is best to dry clean your wedding dress to remove stains and dirt from your wedding dress without damaging the delicate fabric. Dry cleaning uses solvents to clean the fabric, meaning no water is involved.

When you take your wedding dress to a professional dry cleaner, they will inspect the dress for any stains and damage. They will then use the appropriate solvents and techniques to remove the stains and clean the dress.

Dry cleaning your wedding dress also helps preserve the fabric and keep it looking new. Over time, fabrics can become yellowed or discolored if they are not properly cleaned and stored. By having your wedding dress dry-cleaned, you can ensure that it will stay in pristine condition for years to come.

Overall, dry cleaning your wedding dress is an important step in preserving the memories of your special day. By taking care of your dress, you can ensure that it will stay in great shape and can be passed down to future generations.

How to Spot Stains and Dirt

Before you start the dry cleaning process, it’s important to identify any stains or dirt on your wedding dress.

This will help you determine the best way to treat each stain and ensure that your dress comes out looking its best. Here are some tips to help you identify stains and dirt:

  • Inspect your dress carefully: Start by inspecting your dress carefully, looking for any visible stains or dirt. Pay close attention to the hemline, as this is where most dirt and stains tend to accumulate. Use a bright light or a magnifying glass if necessary to get a closer look.
  • Identify the type of stain: Once you’ve identified a stain, try to determine what type of stain it is. Common types of stains include food stains, makeup stains, and grass stains.
  • Test the cleaning solution: Before using any cleaning solution on your dress, test it on a small, inconspicuous area first. This will help you make sure that the solution won’t damage your dress or cause any discoloration.
  • Don’t forget about dirt: Even if your dress doesn’t have any visible stains, it may still be dirty. Dirt can accumulate on your dress over time, especially if you’ve worn it outside. Brush away dirt with a soft-bristled brush, being careful not to damage any delicate embellishments.

How to Choose the Best Dry Cleaner Near You

Your wedding dress is one of the most important and expensive items of clothing you will ever own. So, when it comes to cleaning it, you want to make sure that you choose a professional dry cleaner that you can trust to take care of it properly. Here are some tips to help you choose the right one:

  • Look for a professional wedding dress dry cleaning service in your local area. This will make it easier for you to drop off and pick up your dress.
  • Check the quality of the service. Look for reviews and recommendations from other brides who have used the service. Make sure that they have experience in cleaning wedding dresses and that they use high-quality cleaning products.
  • Consider the cost. You want to find an affordable professional dry cleaner, but you also don’t want to compromise on quality. Compare prices from different providers to find the best deal.
  • Ask about the cleaning process. A professional dry cleaner should be able to explain the cleaning process to you and answer any questions you may have. Make sure that they use a gentle cleaning process that will not damage your dress.
  • Check the turnaround time. You want to make sure that you will have your dress back in plenty of time before your wedding. Ask the dry cleaner how long it will take to clean and preserve your dress.
  • Look for additional services. Some professional dry cleaners offer additional services such as preservation and storage. These can be a great option if you want to keep your dress in pristine condition for years to come.

How Much Does it Cost to Dry Clean a Wedding Dress

When it comes to dry cleaning a wedding dress, the cost can vary depending on several factors. The average cost of dry cleaning a wedding dress is around $100 to $200.

However, the final cost can be influenced by several factors, such as the type of fabric, the style of the dress, the number of layers, and the amount of staining.

If you have a high-end wedding dress, the cost of dry cleaning can be even higher. On average, it can cost you around $170 to $260 for wedding dress dry cleaning, depending on the fabric and style of your dress. If you have a heavily stained dress or want to preserve your dress after cleaning, the cost can go up to $560.

It’s important to note that the cost of dry cleaning your wedding dress can also vary depending on the location and the dry cleaner you choose. Some dry cleaners may charge more for their services, while others may offer discounts or package deals.

If you’re on a tight budget, you may want to consider using a local dry cleaner instead of a high-end one. However, it’s essential to do your research before choosing a dry cleaner. Look for customer reviews, check their experience, and make sure they have a good reputation in the industry.

How to Prepare a Dress for Dry Cleaning

Before you take your wedding dress to be dry cleaned, there are a few things you need to do to ensure that the process goes smoothly and your dress comes out looking as good as new.

First, inspect your dress carefully for any stains, tears, or loose beading. If you notice any stains, try to identify what caused them so that the dry cleaner can use the appropriate stain removal method. If you find any tears or loose beading, point them out to the dry cleaner so they can be repaired before cleaning.

Next, make sure that your dress is stored in a garment bag to protect it from dust and other potential sources of damage. If you don’t have a garment bag, you can purchase one from a bridal shop or online.

Check the care label on your dress to make sure that it is safe to dry clean. Some fabrics, such as silk and chiffon, may require special handling, so it’s important to follow the care instructions carefully.

If you wore a veil or any accessories with your dress, make sure to include them when you take your dress to be dry cleaned. The dry cleaner will be able to clean them along with your dress.

Finally, choose a reputable dry cleaner who has experience cleaning wedding dresses.

Ask for recommendations from friends or family members who have had their wedding dresses cleaned, or do some research online to find a dry cleaner with good reviews.

How Does Dry Cleaning Work?

If you are looking for a way to clean your wedding dress, dry cleaning is a popular option. Chemical solvents are used to clean the dress rather than water. This process is gentle on delicate fabrics and can effectively remove stains. Here’s what you can expect from the dry-cleaning process:

  1. Inspection: Dry cleaning begins with an inspection to inspect the dress for any stains or damage. This allows the cleaner to determine the best course of action for cleaning the dress.
  2. Pre-treatment: If there are any stains on the dress, a pre-treatment solution will be applied to them. This helps break down the stain and make it easier to remove during cleaning.
  3. Cleaning: The dress is then placed in a machine that uses a chemical solvent to clean the fabric. The solvent is gentle on the fabric and can effectively remove dirt and stains.
  4. Inspection (again): After the dress has been cleaned, it will be inspected again to ensure that all stains have been removed.
  5. Pressing: Once the dress has been inspected, it will be pressed to remove any wrinkles and restore its shape.
  6. Packaging: Finally, the dress will be packaged in acid-free tissue paper and a box to protect it from damage and discoloration.

It’s important to note that not all wedding dresses can be dry-cleaned. If your dress has delicate embellishments or is made from a fabric that cannot be dry-cleaned, you may need to explore other cleaning options.

Additionally, if your dress has any beading or sequins, you should let the dry cleaner know so they can take extra care during the cleaning process.

Post-Dry Cleaning Care

Congratulations! You have successfully dry-cleaned your wedding dress, and it’s looking good as new. Now, it’s crucial to take proper care of it to maintain its pristine condition for years to come.


If you plan to preserve your wedding dress for future generations, investing in a preservation box is essential. A preservation box is a special container that is designed to protect your dress from environmental factors such as light, moisture, and dust.

It’s important to note that preservation boxes are different from regular storage containers. They are made of acid-free materials that prevent yellowing and discoloration of the fabric.

Tissue paper

When packing your wedding dress in a preservation box, use acid-free tissue paper to wrap it. The tissue paper will help prevent any creases or folds from forming in the fabric.


Choose a preservation box that is large enough to accommodate your dress without squishing it. If the box is too small, it can cause permanent creases in the fabric. The preservation box should also be kept in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.

Plastic bag

Avoid storing your wedding dress in a plastic bag as it can trap moisture and cause the fabric to yellow or mold. If you need to transport your dress, use an airy cotton or muslin bag.


If your dress has folds, avoid ironing or pressing them, as it can cause permanent damage to the fabric. Instead, use a steamer to remove any wrinkles or creases. If you’re not comfortable using a steamer, take your dress to a cleaning service that specializes in wedding dress cleaning.

How to Hand Wash a Wedding Dress

If you have a delicate wedding dress that cannot be washed in a washing machine, you may want to consider hand washing it. Here are some steps to follow:

  1. Fill up a clean bathtub with lukewarm water and add a small amount of gentle detergent. Make sure the detergent is suitable for delicate fabrics.
  2. Turn the dress inside out and submerge it in the water. Gently agitate the dress to ensure that the water and detergent reach all areas of the fabric.
  3. Pay special attention to any stained areas on the dress. Use a toothbrush to gently scrub the stains out.
  4. Allow the dress to soak for at least 30 minutes or longer if the dress is particularly dirty.
  5. Drain the soapy water from the bathtub and refill it with clean, lukewarm water. Swish the dress around in the water to rinse out any remaining detergent.
  6. Drain the water from the bathtub and gently squeeze the excess water out of the dress. Do not wring or twist the dress, as this can damage delicate fabrics.
  7. Lay the dress flat on a clean, dry towel and roll it up to absorb any remaining moisture. You may need to repeat this step with a second towel if the dress is particularly wet.
  8. Hang the dress up to dry in a well-ventilated area. Do not hang the dress directly under the sun, as this may cause the fabric to fade.

If you are unsure about hand washing your wedding dress, you may want to consider taking it to a professional cleaner instead. They will have the expertise and equipment needed to clean your dress safely and effectively.

Drying and Storing the Wedding Dress

After the dry cleaning process, it’s time to dry and store your wedding dress. Here are some tips to ensure that your dress stays in pristine condition:

  • Avoid using a dryer: Never put your wedding dress in a dryer, as the heat can damage delicate fabrics and embellishments. Instead, hang the dress on a drying rack or place it on a clean towel flat.
  • Keep it away from bleach and other chemicals: Avoid exposing your wedding dress to bleach, harsh detergents, or other chemicals that can cause discoloration or damage to the fabric.
  • Use crystals to preserve the gown: To keep your wedding dress looking its best, consider using specialized crystals that help preserve the fabric and prevent yellowing over time. These crystals and the dress can be placed in an acid-free box or container.
  • Address any stains before storing: If your wedding dress has any stains or spots, it’s important to address them before storing the dress. Depending on the type of stain, you may need to soak the dress in a gentle solution or take it to a professional for specialized treatment.
  • Store the dress in an acid-free box: To prevent damage from light and moisture, it’s best to store your wedding dress in an acid-free box or container. Be sure to use acid-free tissue paper or muslin to wrap the dress before placing it in the box.
  • Consider special packing for shipping or transport: If you need to transport your wedding dress, consider using a professional packing method that will protect the dress during shipping or transport. Be sure to use a reputable shipping company that specializes in wedding dress transport to ensure that your dress arrives safely at its destination.

White wedding dress

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I clean my wedding dress at home?

Although some wedding dresses may be appropriate for home washing, depending on the fabric and construction, many should be dry-cleaned. It can be challenging to dry clean a wedding dress at home, so it’s best to leave it to the professionals.

How can I remove stains from my wedding dress?

It’s important to address any stains on your wedding dress as soon as possible. Do not attempt to remove the stains yourself, as this could cause further damage. Instead, take your dress to a professional wedding dress dry cleaner who can safely remove the stains using specialized equipment and techniques.

What is the best way to preserve my wedding dress?

Once your wedding dress is clean and dry, cover it with acid-free tissue paper or pre-washed, unbleached muslin. Avoid using any colored paper, as it may stain the dress over time. Make sure to place layers of tissue paper or muslin between any folds to prevent creases from forming.

Is it safe to wash a wedding dress in a washing machine?

No, it is not safe to wash a wedding dress in a washing machine. Wedding dresses are delicate and require specialized cleaning, which can only be provided by a professional wedding dress dry cleaner.

How do I find a reliable wedding dress dry cleaner?

When searching for a wedding dress dry cleaner, look for a company that specializes in wedding dress cleaning and preservation. Take a look at online reviews and ask for recommendations from friends and family. Make sure the company has experience cleaning your specific type of wedding dress fabric.

Can I use Woolite Delicates Laundry Detergent to clean my wedding dress?

No, it is not recommended to use Woolite Delicates Laundry Detergent to clean your wedding dress. Wedding dresses require specialized care and cleaning, which can only be provided by a professional wedding dress dry cleaner.

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About the Author:
Ryan Hart

Ryan Hart is a certified relationship coach and writer. His mission is to help make connections between people better, stronger, more meaningful, and longer lasting using technology.

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