Clean your satin and lace wedding gown with care.

How to Clean an Old Lace & Satin Wedding Dress by Hand

by David Lipscomb

Lace and satin wedding dresses represent your special day, when you and your significant other decided to take that lifelong leap together. However, the fun and frivolity accompanying that day -- and the reception after -- probably left your wedding dress a little dingy. Fortunately, there's a way to clean this precious garment at home prior to boxing it up for storage.

Hang your dress on a shower rod or other well-lit location, allowing you to take full visual stock of all the dirt and grime you need to remove.

Fill the bathtub halfway with warm water. Add your laundry detergent per the bottle's instructions and a cup of oxygen bleach. Agitate the mixture by hand. Do not use chlorine bleach, as this can damage or even yellow satin and other synthetic fibers.

String a clothesline from the shower head to the towel bar in the shower. Hang your dress from the line, immersing the bottom third of the dress in the solution. Let the dress hang for two to three hours, or until the water becomes visibly dirty.

Brush the lace hem of the dress with your toothbrush. Perform this process gently, focusing on noticeably dirty areas.

Dip the brush in the warm water mixture. Brush the main body of the dress in sections, working from the bottom up. It's not necessary to clean the entire dress unless you want to -- spot cleaning is normally all that's required.

Drain the dirty water mixture from the tub. Refill it with fresh, warm water.

Remove the dress from the hanger. Immerse the entire garment in the mixture.

Swirl and swish the dress around in the water, rinsing away any cleaning solution from the gown.

Drain the water once more. Hang the dress back up on the hanger to air-dry.

Items you will need

  • Plastic hanger
  • Mild laundry detergent
  • Oxygen bleach
  • Clothesline
  • Soft toothbrush


  • Tough stains should be left to wedding gown preservation specialists. Using the wrong chemicals on a dress might appear to work at first, but will yellow or discolor the fabric over time.

About the Author

David Lipscomb is a professional writer and public relations practitioner. Lipscomb brings more than a decade of experience in the consumer electronics and advertising industries. Lipscomb holds a degree in public relations from Webster University.

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/ Images