Wedding Gown Cleaning and Preservation FAQ

The following are frequently asked questions about our wedding gown cleaning and preservation services. For more information on cleaning bridal gowns and preserving wedding dresses, please read our Wedding Gown Cleaning and Preservation Guide

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Wedding Gown Preservation Questions

Wedding Dress Cleaning Questions

Wedding Dress Restoration Questions

High Risk Garments

Service Package Questions

General Questions

DIY Questions

Choose your preferred Wedding Dress Preservation method

Choose between Museum Method™ and  Heritage Box™ preservation

Wedding Gown Preservation Questions

Which preservation method is best?

Museum Method™ (hanging) wedding dress preservation will keep your gown in the best overall condition and requires less maintenance than boxed preservation. Therefore we always recommend Museum Method Preservation over boxed preservation all things being equal. If closet space is a problem, our boxed preservation is also very good and many of our boxes fit under standard beds.

Will a wedding gown be damaged from hanging with Museum Method™ bridal gown preservation?

Your wedding gown is not damaged from hanging for several reasons:

a. Much of the weight of a bridal gown is in the train. We roll the train up in acid-free tissue and then the rolled train sits at the bottom of the bag, so that the shoulders of the gown do not bare the weight.

b. We also hang the gown on a shoulder size hanger and stuffed with acid-free tissue or 100% cotton muslin. The gown is supported all around. It is similar to the gown being worn by a person: the body supports the gown, instead of a thin hanger.

c. Lastly, when we do have a particularly heavy gown, we sew twill tape straps inside the lining of the gown at the top of the skirt as reinforcement to help bare the weight of the gown. Very few gowns are so heavy that they require this support.

How are strapless gowns preserved with Museum Method™ wedding dress preservation ?

With Museum Method wedding dress preservation, cotton twill tape is sewn into the lining of strapless gowns, making cotton straps to support the gown. We also sew these straps into dresses with spaghetti straps or any dress with little or no shoulder strength. Cotton twill tape straps are also used in other areas for exceptionally heavy dresses. These cotton straps can be easily removed with a seam ripper if the dress is to be worn again. Along with manufacturer hanging loops and the tissue or muslin stuffing, the cotton straps help distribute the weight of the gown evenly.

How does Museum Method™ wedding dress preservation protect my gown?

Our acid free 100% cotton cover protects your dress from dust and light and allows the dress to breathe protecting it from mildew. Acid free tissue or cotton muslin help keep acid migration from damaging your wedding dress as well. This acid free environment helps keep the dress from yellowing. The acid-free bust form or shoulder size padded cotton hanger helps keep the gowns shape. Because the gown is not folded, it is protected from permanent creasing damage.

Does Museum Method™ bridal gown preservation keep the dress looking white? Or is yellowing just inevitable as it gets older?

Some fabrics do yellow a little as they get older. Silk and nylon, in particular, have a tendency to do so. However, the greatest cause of yellowing bridal gowns is leaving the dress in the plastic bag that the dress came with or a dry-cleaner’s bag. Plastic gives off fumes that actually cause yellowing.

How are the bridal veil and accessories stored with Museum Method™ wedding dress Preservation?

The veil is hung down the back of the wedding gown with cotton twill tape. This keeps it in the best condition possible. Purses are also suspended this way. The headpiece may be wrapped in acid-free tissue and suspended, or placed in the bottom of the bag depending on the size and shape of the headpiece.

What is lignin and why is it bad for wedding dress preservation?

Lignin is the fibrous part of all wood products. It is not acidic, but it does release acid as it decomposes. Thsi is why true archival materials need to be lignin free as well as acid-free. Some preservationn boxes are acid-free but not lignin-free. that means that acid-free box will no longer be acid-free in a few years when the lignin begins to break down. An acidic environment will yellow your wedding gown or damage other heirloom garments faster than any other environment.

Will I need to get my wedding gown preserved again if someone wears it?

Yes, after your gown has been preserved, it can be worn again, but it will need to be re-cleaned and preserved afterwards to best protect it from yellowing as well as damage from food and beverages, body oils and perspiration.

Is the bridal gown train bustled when preserved with Museum Method™ (hanging) wedding dress preservation?

In order to protect the gown best, we do not bustle gowns when preserved. We roll the train up in acid-free tissue. The train then sits at the bottom of the bag, which helps reduce any strain on the gown from the weight of the train.

Why is it important to inspect your preserved wedding dress periodically?

Many dresses which look clean after the wedding have stains appear on them after a few months or years. These may have been caused by spills which dry clear but turn brown over time. Dry-cleaning solvents won’t remove all substances and unless they are pre-treated they can oxidize and turn brown. By inspecting your dress from time to time, you may catch some of these stains forming and have them removed before they become too difficult.

Is Museum Method™ wedding gown preservation available locally?

Museum Method™ wedding gown preservation is available at a number of dry-cleaners across the United States. You can check to see if one is available in your local area at the following website:

If you know of an excellent dry-cleaner in your area that you would like to offer this service, please let us know and we will contact them about offering Museum Method™ wedding gown preservation to their customers.

Wedding Gown Cleaning Questions

What is bridal gown wet-cleaning? And what are the advantages?

Wet cleaning is simply cleaning with water and has several advantages.

It is the best cleaner for sugar spills and most food stains.

If the dress has been well rinsed, wet-cleaning leaves no chemicals on the dress, which will help keep the dress in the best possible condition.

Water washing removes the fabric sizing (a starch like substance added to fabric during manufacturing.) Removing the sizing helps protect the gown, because sizing is enticing to mice and insects.

Heritage Garment Preservation utilizes the benefits of wet cleaning with our hand cleaned processes. You may be able to safely hand clean your gown yourself. Our DIY kit includes step by step instructions for hand cleaning wedding gowns.

What is sugar treatment? Do you offer it?

Some preservation companies promote a special sugar treatment to remove sugar substances. Sugar treatment is simply identifying and removing sugar substances from the garment with water before dry-cleaning. Dry-cleaning solvents do not remove sugar substances. Oftentimes these substances may be overlooked because they dry clear on the garment and are not noticed. But if not removed, they will darken over time.

Whenever possible, we hand clean wedding gowns using a wet process treatment. This process removes all sugar substances.

Garments that we dry-clean are usually hand spot cleaned before and after dry-cleaning to ensure that all staining substances on the wedding gown are removed. This ensures that all sugar substances are removed from the wedding gowns that we clean and preserve.

Is all work done in your shop?

All hand cleaning, hand spotting, repairs, pressing and preservation are done in our shop at 4592 E 2nd St Suite N, Benicia, California. Gowns requiring dry-cleaning are taken to our partner dry-cleaner for virgin Greenearth cleaning before and/or after our hand spotting.

How long will it take to have my bridal gown cleaned and preserved?

Please allow 6 – 12 weeks for cleaning and preservation. However, if you would like your gown rushed, we may be able to accommodate you. Please call to ask about rush service. Occasionally, we may go over 12 weeks, particularly during our busiest season. We may need additional time for gown restorations.

Wedding Gown Restoration Questions

Do you restore old wedding gowns?

Yes, we restore old wedding gowns which includes hand cleaning followed by chemical whitening to remove yellowing and oxidation spots.

What is the difference between repairing and restoring a wedding gown?

Repairing generally requires sewing, either by hand or machine. Restoration is the term we use for restoring an aged (yellowed, browned) garment back to a white or off white color.

Can you whiten colored gowns?

Sorry, We cannot change gown colors. Our restoration process can return yellowed gowns back to a lovely off white or white color, but we do not whiten colored gowns. If you really love the style of a colored gown, consider hiring a seamstress to recreate it in a white color.

Can you restore very old wedding gowns or other garments?

We can restore very old, vintage wedding gowns and other heirloom garments such as christening gowns. If the garment is very old and fragile, or has lace over 50 years old, we will treat the garment as a “high risk” garment which is processed differently than our other garments.

What are the risks of gown restoration?

Garment restoration process is a hot chemical treatment that will whiten yellowed gowns and remove oxidized spots. While most gowns handle the treatment well, some gowns can be damaged by this treatment. Some (but not all) potential risks are lace tears, chafing of silk gowns, thinning of some satin fabrics, color alteration of some silk fabrics. We will do all we can to test fabrics for safe treatment and notify you of any risks that we are aware of. However, it is impossible to predict the final outcome of each dress.

Please note that gowns over 50 years old are particularly susceptible to tears in lace. These tears can often be repaired, but the repairs are done by hand and can be very time consuming. We can provide up to 6 hours of lace repairs per gown at a rate of $50 per hour if desired. Heritage Couture orders include 2 hours at no charge. For many gowns, 6 hours is sufficient. If your gown has a lot of tears, before or after treatment, you may need to hire a local seamstress or ask “Grandma” to help in the repair process. Heritage Garment Preservation will provide training videos to assist you.

What is needed to begin gown restoration?

Get a quote for your gown restoration and then follow instructions to order. You may also call us at 866-268-4696 Monday through Friday, 9 am to 4 pm, PT and we will walk you through the process.

A minimum deposit of $100 is necessary to send your shipping instructions and pre-paid shipping label or shipping kit. After we receive your gown, if we feel it is too fragile, and that restoration is not viable we will return your garment to you at no charge and return your $100 deposit.

If we believe that restoration is viable, we require a $300 non-refundable deposit and a signed Liability Release before your gown restoration treatment is started.

High Risk Garments

How are very old, high risk garments handled?

High risk garments are garments that are very fragile due to age, have lace over 50 years old, or some other challenge that we feel has a high risk of potential problems or unsatisfactory results. They often require extra care and possible repairs after treatment.

To process a “High Risk” garment, we require a signed Liability Release before we begin processing acknowledging from the customer that their garment is fragile or has a high risk for problems. We do not require full payment before processing high risk garments, as we also acknowledge that the results may be less than satisfactory.

After treating the garment, we determine if there are damages and estimate repair time. Our staff can provide up to 6 hours of repairs at a cost of $50 per hour. Heritage Couture™ orders include 2 hours at no charge. If more than 6 hours of repairs are needed, we will recommend that a local seamstress be hired. We can provide training videos for lace repairs.

We may also utilize the “High Risk” status if the garment has a problem that we are unfamiliar with and we are uncertain whether it can be restored to a satisfactory condition.

Service Package Questions

What is the difference between Heritage Select™ and Heritage Couture™ service packages?

Both service packages enjoy our excellent hand cleaning and/or dry-cleaning in virgin solvent and your choice of two museum quality preservation methods: Museum Method™ preservation or Heritage Box™ preservation.

    • Heritage Couture™ cleaning includes any style, fabric, embellishment or hemline condition. All accessories and minor repairs are included in this package. Our Heritage Couture™ preservation services include cotton muslin filling and padding (instead of tissue) and a lifetime warranty against yellowing.
    • Heritage Select™ cleaning includes your wedding gown and one accessory (veil or other.) Standard cleaning is included but there may be additional charges for very dirty hemlines, severe stains, unusual embellishments or fabric requiring non-standard care (i.e. feathers, 3 dimensional appliques, hand-stamped fabrics, etc.) Heritage Select™ preservation includes a 30 year warranty and utilizes acid-free and lignin-free tissue.

Read more about our packages.

General Questions

How accurate are your online quotes?

Our online estimator is very accurate. However, there can be additional charges with our Heritage Select™ package if your wedding dress has severely dirty hemline or embellishments that require non standard care (such as removal before processing and replacing afterward.) Our Heritage Couture™ package includes all hemline conditions and all embellishments and will not accrue any additional charges.

How do I ship my wedding dress to you to have it professionally cleaned and preserved?

After you receive an instant, online quote for our services, you can order directly from our website. We will also send you an email with a link to order in the future. After you order, we will send you shipping instructions and a pre-paid shipping label. You then drop your boxed gown off to any facility that accepts FedEx packages such as FedEx Office (formerly Kinkos) or hand it to a FedEx driver. Heritage Couture™ packages also include a free shipping kit and courier pick up service. Heritage Select™ orders can use any sturdy corrugated shipping box (no larger than 20 x 20 x 12), order shipping kit from us or purchase a shipping box from FedEx when you drop your wedding gown off.

I am concerned about sending my bridal gown across the country. How safe is my gown?

We regularly receive and ship all over the country without any problem. FedEx does a great job in safely transporting your treasured packages. Each package is sent signature delivery which means we sign for it when it arrives and you sign for it when it returns. It is never left on a doorstep.

We include $500 shipping insurance for your wedding gown. More insurance is available if you desire it.

How do you ship my preserved wedding dress back to me if I have it preserved with Museum Method™ (hanging preservation?)

The bagged gown is folded over once, to fit inside our very large shipping box (Either 36 x 24 x 8 or 36 X 24 X 12). You hang the bag as soon as it arrives, so that the time it is folded is minimal.

DIY Questions

How difficult is it to preserve my bridal gown myself with the Do-it-yourself kit?

The Museum Method™ preservation kit is not difficult to use and takes about one hour to preserve a cleaned wedding gown. We include step-by-step instructions with your kit that take you follow through the process and we are more than happy to answer any questions you have as your preserve your gown by calling us at 866-268-4696. You may also send an email to us at

Learn more about wedding gown cleaning and preservation

Read our wedding gown cleaning and preservation guide
Learn about Museum Method™ (hanging) wedding gown preservation
Learn about Heritage Box™ wedding gown preservation
Learn about silk wedding gown cleaning
Learn about polyester wedding gown cleaning
Learn about our green wedding gown cleaning