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The best thing you can do to preserve your dress is to bring it to a professional cleaner immediately after your wedding. This will help to prevent stains, grease and soils from setting in and becoming permanent, as well as prevent perspiration from damaging the delicate texture.
Even though your local dry cleaner might be reputable and trustworthy with your daily clothing, be careful in choosing a cleaner to take care of your wedding dress. Proper “museum quality” cleaning and preservation needs some experience, especially if you have an antique gown, delicate materials like silk or chiffon or beading. Try to identify a professional gown cleaner who has specially designed equipment meant to tackle the most problematic and invisible maculation. You can ask for recommendations from friends, your bridal shop or seamstress, but it may also be a good idea to contact an haute couture shop in your area and ask which cleaner they use.
Please give the cleaner as much information as possible so that they can give your dress the best care possible. Be sure to inform them of any special stains, glued rather than sewn ornaments, and loose stitches.
Your cleaner will choose the most appropriate cleaning method depending on the age of the gown, the color and the fabrics and of course, will protect beads, sequins or pearls from heat.
After the cleaning, please make sure that you store your wonderful wedding gown professionally, too. The dress should be stored flat or folded in layers separated by acid-free tissue paper. Please avoid hangers that will stretch your dress over time: fragile shoulder seams can stretch or sag, light exposure can cause fading and discoloration of the material. Storing your dress in a plastic bag or in a vacuum-sealed, plastic wrapped case also is a bad idea. The plastic emits fumes that can cause your bridal dress to yellow over time. Residual odors or moisture can be trapped in plastic; the wetness can cause mold and mildew to grow over time. Also be careful to avoid storing your dress in direct contact with any wood fiber. Or use acid-free paper around the dress for protection and please make sure that air can still circulate, as the fabric fibers need to breath.
Special museum preservation boxes are available which are made out of acid and lignin-free materials. Try to choose a cardboard box that's made from acid-free materials as it allows the free flow of fresh air and moisture to protect the garment. Some storage boxes have a cellophane window in the lid – we know this is nice, but the window will allow sunlight to touch parts of the dress, leading to discoloration.
Your dry cleaner may carry storage boxes, or you can order them on the Internet.
Be careful not to store your beautiful dress in the attic or basement where changes in temperature or humidity might be extreme. Your storage place should be a normal temperature-controlled room, a dry place, away from direct sunlight.
You may want to look at your dress every couple of years to inspect its condition and to allow your dress to breathe. Old memories will come back to you!