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
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
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 nationalgown.com/.