Cleaning your gown


1. Make sure the cleaner specializes in gown cleaning and

only uses museum quality preservation products that

meet specifications used by leading textile conservators

or major museums. Archival boxes should never be

sealed shut or have a window. This can be an easy

way of identifying a legitimate service. Museum

conservators always recommend refolding textiles every 3 to 5

years to prevent permanent creases. Another clue!

2. Ask if your gown will be cleaned alone or with another

gown. Gowns with trim or that are heavily beaded can

cause snags to your gown. All trim should be covered

before cleaning.

3. How often is the cleaner distilling their solvent?

Because of ecological regulations and expenses, many

cleaners are not distilling their solvents often enough.

A cleaner solvent means a cleaner gown.

4. Make sure that bust pads made of foam and any tulle

underskirt are always removed before archiving or

placing the gown in a box. The bust pad foam can

disintegrate, causing gases and glue-like oils to transfer

onto your gown. The tulle can also break down,

releasing the plasticizer gases and causing fume fading

(like a streaking effect).

5. Check references from your bridal consultant or on

review sites such as Yelp, Merchant Circle, and bridal

sites. Make sure to consider that not all reviews need

to be 5 out of 5 stars. A good mix shows a real

business experience.

6. Ask if the cleaner is insured for the value of

replacement. Ask for them to write down the gown’s

value on all copies of the invoice. If your gown is

shipped away, find out which state the gown will be

shipped to and check on the consumer laws in that


7. Ask if the cleaner belongs to the American Institute for

Conservation of Historic and Artist Works. This is a

great sign they are aware of museum industry


8. Go to Google maps and search for the cleaner’s location.

Through the satellite feature, you will be able to check

and see the physical location of the facility. Many are

NOT operating a cleaning plant. If you see a normal

dry cleaner’s sign or a different company’s signage,

then it’s a good bet they aren’t specialized.

9. Ask if “THE GREEN BRIDE GUIDE” approves the

cleaner. This is a company who interviews and

approves companies who are committed to doing green


For more information on quality gown cleaning, visit National Gown Cleaners at