Hand Wash Wedding Dress Using Oxi-Clean

riverdaughterSeptember 11, 2010

I'd like to wash my daughter's wedding dress by hand-- the fabric is 100% polyester, netting is 100% polyester or nylon, lace is 100% nylon. The color is off white, it has white beads, sequins, and rhinestones. There is a lace overlay over the body of the dress. There is a sash that is made of black 100% polyester fabric. The dress has a long train. The bottom of the dress is dirty. There is a stain where the chocolate fountain dripped down the front. A Tide to Go pen worked wonders on it and saved the day. There is a 1 foot slick of grease where -- Yikes! -- the train fell into the wheel of the carriage when she was boarding it to get to the ceremony. It was an outdoor wedding and there may be a cricket or two trapped in the lace. There is staining on the inside from sweat. I've read a few articles on line from others who have hand washed a wedding dress in the bath tub. I'm game for this because I think I can get it clean without the need for an expensive dry cleaner. Someone on line even said that the dry cleaner puts wedding dresses in a washer to clean them anyway. Someone said that wedding dresses may be washed with other garments at a dry cleaner to the unsuspecting customer. Some say that the dry cleaner may not use fresh solvents. Others say that solvents may leave behind smells. Others say that the dresses may not get totally clean. Others say that sequins turn yellow, and beading can be melted by the solvents.

So -- do it yourself-er that I am -- feels confident that I can do this. My question is about which cleaning agents would work without turning the fabric yellow or damaging any beads. When they say use mild detergent I would like to know what constitutes a mild detergent? I would like to know what solvent can get the black grease out without leaving residue? I am thinking of using Oxi-Clean along the bottom of the dress, and dawn liquid detergent on any visible food grease stains, a solvent (?) on the black grease stain, and a laundry detergent (?) for the final overall wash of the entire dress.

The dress has been sitting a week and needs to be washed and any advice that has been tired and tested would be appreciated! Thanks!

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Mild means a neutral pH. Oxi is NOT neutral. It is pretty alkaline, I believe. I'd be worried about the alkalinity harming the sequins or rhinestones. Besides, although I'm a big fan of Oxi, I don't consider it great on greasy stains which is mostly what you have. So I wouldn't use Oxi as my first-line choice. Maybe Woolite.

Poly and nylon shouldn't have a problem with shrinkage, so you could probably afford to use HOT water, which is very helpful for grease and perspiration. Nylon can really be hard to remove stains from...Enzyme cleaners might be useful too (like Shout; test first; I think Tide To Go is enzyme-based). I would pretreat all the stains, in and out, with mild detergent and HOT water (maybe even hotter than tap). Be careful and test first.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2010 at 5:30PM
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When I read about people spending a great deal of money, or working so hard to clean a wedding gown, I have to tell my story. After our wedding, I had my dress cleaned and put into a "Heritage Box". I stored it in our basement. A few years later, my then four year old son and a few friends were playing in our basement. I heard this shrieking laughter coming from downstairs, so thought I better check to see what they were up to. When I walked into the room they were in, I gasped when I saw they had found my wedding gown, and laid it on the tile floor, and were using it as a slip n slide! They all stopped and looked at me, waiting, I'm sure, for an explosion. All I could do was laugh! I only have boys, so I knew the dress would never be used again, but the story has given many a good laugh over the years! Good luck with the washing--I know a woman in our community who makes wedding gowns, and she always recommends washing them.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2010 at 11:18AM
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