Prom Dress Cleaning and Care Tips
Prom 2020 was both a personally and historically significant event. Some promgoers wore their dresses to the party, while others donned theirs in front of webcams for virtual events. Prom dresses from this year will carry stories forward for generations if properly preserved. Follow these prom dress cleaning and care tips to keep your dress and your memories fresh.
Spot Treat Stains
No matter how careful you are, a splash of makeup, a dropped mascara wand, or a drip of sauce from dinner can cause a stain on your dress. Do your best to treat stains promptly. The longer the stain is on the dress, the more difficult it is to remove. If the dress label says, “dry clean only,” don’t use water. Dab, don’t rub, with a clean white cloth or towel and a bit of very gentle detergent or super-pure bar soap from the inside of the fabric, not on top.
“Dry Clean Only” means what it says. The dress manufacturer put the label in the gown to let you know the best way to take care of it. Take your dress to a cleaner that specializes in gowns and cocktails dresses.
If you prefer to clean the gown yourself, contact the store where you purchased it. Brick and mortar stores, as well as stores that sell prom gowns online, should have a record of your purchase and specific information about how to clean your gown. If the store says the fabric can hold up to water (test a tiny, less visible corner of it first anyway), handwash your dress inside out in cold water with a little super-gentle detergent. Swish and squeeze gently, and rinse thoroughly. If your gown is heavy, roll it in a clean towel to squeeze out most of the moisture and then lay it flat on a large, fresh towel to dry. Don’t forget to turn it over after a while to let both front and back dry. If your dress is lightweight and won’t stretch out, you can hang it up to dry.
Stuff and Store
Professional cleaners will return the dress to you pressed and stuffed with acid-free tissue to help the gown retain its shape. If you are doing this yourself, be sure to use the right kind of tissue in the sleeves and bodice. Invest in a good padded hanger that is large enough to accommodate your gown. Use the sewn-in-loops to support the dress on the hanger by crossing them over the hook of the hanger, each to its opposite side.
Storing your gown properly is critical to preserving it. Don’t use a plastic dry-cleaning bag. Instead, use a breathable cloth garment bag. Your dress probably came in such a bag, so you can reuse it for storage. Keep the gown in its bag, hanging in a dark, dry place away from sunlight and humidity.
We hope these prom dress cleaning and care tips help you keep your dress and your memories safe for decades to come.