What are Oxidized Stains?

Posted by on Feb 15, 2014 in General, Wedding Gown Care, Wedding Gown Cleaning, Wedding Gown Restoration | 4 comments

We get a variety of wedding gowns to be cleaned or restored. Some dresses are sent just a couple of weeks after a wedding, but others can be many years later. The older the wedding gown is the more likely it has oxidized stains on it. Generally these oxidized stains need special whitening chemicals to remove them. So what are oxidized stains and how did they get there?

Oxidized stains are usually brown stains on a wedding gown that were originally clear or very light but over the years that have turned brown. They are often from clear sugary liquids, like alcohol or sodas, which dried clear and were not initially noticed after the wedding. Body oils and perspiration can also oxidize into brown stains. It’s even possible that they will be found on wedding gowns that were dry-cleaned because dry cleaning solvents do not remove water based substances. Those substances left behind can oxidize over the years and eventually turn brown.

The risk of water based stains are one of the reasons we prefer to wet clean wedding gowns if possible. Wet cleaning removes the water based substances eliminating the risk of perspiration stains or other oxidized stains showing up many years later. But if your wedding needs to be dry-cleaned please point out to your dry-cleaner any possible spills your dress could have. Dry-cleaners can also use a black light to identify sugar spills ahead of time so that the spots can be pre-treated.

Here at Heritage Garment Preservation we wet clean by hand about 95% of our customer’s wedding gowns, thoroughly removing stains while protecting delicate beads and trims. We spot clean water based spills on customer’s gowns that are dry cleaned. We also restore vintage wedding gowns that have yellowed and have oxidized stains on them, making them beautiful again. We would love to give our tender loving care to your wedding gown.


  1. Good Morning,
    What do you charge for your service? The brown “stain” is on the back of the skirt. There are no beads or lace in this area. Thank you for your information.

    • Hi Marj,

      We would love to help! Please call us at 866-268-4696 to get a free quote for the repair.
      HGP Team

  2. Hi I have just found your website and would be interested to find out if the brown stains on my dress could be removed in an attempt to preserve my dress. I live in Ireland and the dress is 20 years old. I can send pictures of the staining if you can give me an email address

    • Hi Jackie,

      We can most certainly address the issues of the brown stains (most likely oxidation stains). You can send pictures and we can take a gander 🙂

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