Wrap accessories in acid-free tissue paper and store them with your gown.

How to Keep Wedding Dresses From Turning Yellow

by Chance Henson

Your wedding gown is the most important garment you will ever own; it’s a symbol of your marriage's first bloom, a delicate piece of wearable art and destined to become a priceless heirloom cherished by your children and grandchildren. Preserving your white wedding gown for posterity requires diligent maintenance and careful attention to details to prevent fabric discoloration through the coming years.

1. Cleaning and Storage

1 Prevention is the first step to avoid yellowing in your wedding gown. Have your gown dry-cleaned immediately after use. Contact a reputable dry-cleaner that you trust beforehand and prearrange details for cleaning. Tell the cleaner what kinds of fabrics were used to make the garment, and, if possible, request that the cleaner remove metallic buttons, which can oxidize and rust during storage.

2. Cleaning and Storage

2 Take the gown to your dry-cleaner within 24 hours of wear; if this is not possible, arrange for a responsible person to take the gown to your dry-cleaner. The longer that soiled materials remain untreated, the more difficult it will be for your dry-cleaner to remove them. Stains may not be immediately apparent in the gown. Alcoholic beverages and body oils can dry clear, but they will turn brown or yellow over time.

3. Cleaning and Storage

3 Request that your dry-cleaner prepare the wedding gown for storage. Most dry-cleaners have access to acid-free boxes and acid-free tissue paper. If your preferred dry-cleaner does not offer this service, you may prepare the dress for storage yourself.

4. Cleaning and Storage

4 Line the acid-free garment-storage box with acid-free tissue paper. Gently lay the dress flat in the box. Wrap the gown in tissue paper, placing the paper in the sleeves and in any crevices to prevent fabric-on-fabric friction. Store your garment in a cool, dry space. Keep your garment in a dimly lit or dark space; light can cause yellowing in natural fibers.

5. Cleaning and Storage

5 Wedding-gown storage requires periodic garment checks. Remove your garment from storage once per year. Carefully examine the gown for signs of age, mildew, holes, stains and discoloration. Have all damages repaired by a professional dry-cleaner.

Items you will need

  • Reputable dry-cleaner
  • Sealable storage box
  • Acid-free tissue paper
  • White padded silk coat hanger

Tips

  • If you are unable to have your dress cleaned immediately after use, temporarily store it in a 100% cotton garment bag on a white padded silk coat hanger.
  • Other items such as veils and silk or satin shoes should be wrapped in acid-free tissue paper and stored with your dress.

Warnings

  • Do not store your dress in a plastic garment bag; plastics do not allow your garment to breathe.
  • Do not hang your wedding dress during long-term storage; hanging will strain the fabric and can cause permanent damage.
  • Do not hang your wedding dress on wood coat hangers; the lacquered wood can stain your garment.

About the Author

Chance Henson earned a B.A. in English literature and a writing minor from Lamar University. While interning at the "University Press" newspaper and "UP Beat" magazine he received an award for news feature writing from the Texas Intercollegiate Press Association. Henson went on to serve as content editor for "CUSH Magazine," eventually leaving to pursue the development of an online secular humanist educational publication.

Photo Credits

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