So which wedding gown cleaning method is best? Wet cleaning or Dry cleaning? It really all depends on your wedding gown. Here at Heritage Garment Preservation we hand clean with water about 95% of the wedding dresses that we clean. We find it cleans better and leaves wedding gowns fresher, and without chemical residues than dry-cleaning.
So to begin with it is important to understand that dry-cleaners use various solvents for wedding gown cleaning. Common solvents used are perchoroethylene, DF2000 ,Hydro-carbon, and Greenearth. But surprisingly, water is also a solvent. And many cleaners not only dry-clean clothes but also wet clean the garments that can be safely cleaned with water, including many wedding gowns.
The vast majority of stains you get on clothing will fall into two categories: water based and oil based. About 95% of those stains will be water based. For instance coffee, soda, champagne, toothpaste and perspiration are all water based stains. There are a number of other stains you may have on your wedding gown such as grass or mud (if you had an outdoor wedding). Many of those other substances clean best with water and professional chemicals.
Benefits of Wet Cleaning Wedding Gowns
Wet cleaning removes all water based substances better than dry-cleaning. In fact dry-cleaning solvents do not remove water based substances. They are great for oily stains however. But if a wedding gown needs to be dry-cleaned but has water based stains on it, it will need to be be hand spotted and completely dried before dry-cleaning.
Wet cleaning wedding gowns also leaves no residues on the gown. Residues could be detrimental to the fibers over time. Almost all synthetic fabrics, such as polyester can be safely cleaned with wet cleaning. About 85% of wedding gowns are made of polyester and other synthetic fabrics. Many silk fabrics can also be safely wet cleaned. However, there are a few wedding gowns that wet cleaning could damage, particularly some silk fabrics such as Duchess silk satin or silk taffeta and need to be dry cleaned.
Dry Cleaning Wedding Gowns
There are a several different dry-cleaning solvents used for wedding gown cleaning in the United States. The most common is perchloroethylene, commonly called perc. But beware, because Perc can melt beads and sequins. When choosing dry cleaners for wedding dresses, do not choose a dry-cleaner who uses perc if your wedding dress has beads and sequins. Most other solvents are safer for beads and sequins. But all dry cleaning is done in a machine where your wedding gown will be tumbled. Other damages can occur, such as beads become loosened, and some beads may be damaged from the action.
There are some silk fabrics that can safely be cleaned with expert wet cleaning, but some silk wedding gowns have been damaged by wet cleaning. It really does require a very experienced cleaner who understands the fibers, fabrics and trims to make the correct judgment. When in doubt, dry-cleaning is safest.
Wedding Gown Dry Cleaning Costs
You will find quite a range of prices for wedding gown cleaning. From local cleaners for wedding dresses, to national companies, the costs vary quite a bit. But be aware that many local dry cleaners and bridal shops send their wedding gowns to wholesale wedding gown cleaners. Most wholesale cleaners clean their gowns in giant machines with up to 30 dresses at a time. Their prices may be lower but the attention given each gown is minimal. To stay in business, they rely on volume, large machines, many dresses and quite honestly, much lower quality preservation materials as well.
Heritage Garment Preservation Wedding Gown Cleaning
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