What to expect when cleaning a wedding dress (FAQ & T&C’s)
Why get my dress cleaned - it isn't really dirty?
Untreated stains, however minor, will soon become 'set' into the fabric and are likely to cause permanent marking. Some invisible marks, de-odorant, sweat marks and drink spills, will progressively darken with time and become very difficult or impossible to remove later.
Can all stains be removed?
We cannot guarantee every single stain will be removed, but we can guarantee to achieve the best possible result. There are many different challenges depending on fabric and trims. Some materials like silk need a very delicate clean and other materials can stand a more vigorous clean. Delicate materials require extremely gentle treatment and sometimes this limits our ability to treat ingrained soiling or time-set staining. We will use our experience to choose the best way to remove any staining.
Do you use solvents to clean the gowns?
No, we use a Wet Cleaning process. This is an aqueous method of cleaning involving gentle biodegradable detergents and a specialised machine, capable of handling delicate garments, trims and beads. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), wet cleaning is the most environmentally sensitive professional method of garment cleaning.
Can you clean all dresses?
It is very rare that we cannot clean a dress. We can clean dresses labelled Dry Clean Only and Do Not Dry Clean. Even labels that say clean only by a particular brand of cleaning are not a problem.
Occasionally though, on some fabrics there may be a degree of 'relaxation shrinkage' depending on the material
and type of cleaning required, however this is rare. What we can guarantee is that we will always strive to achieve the best possible results. In most cases this will indeed be a completely clean and
rejuvenated wedding dress.
Whiteness - Occasionally some change/loss of fabric brilliance/shading can occur, particularly following repeated treatments required on heavily stained dresses. This can be attributed to dye fastness and/or the presence of optical brightening agents (OBAs) applied the fabric in manufacture. Whilst we will always clean your dress by the most delicate and appropriate means this condition is beyond our control.
Stiffness – Stiffening agents are sometimes added during the manufacture of the fabric. Depending on the manufacture, some stiffening may be lost during the cleaning process regardless of the cleaning method. This is impossible to predict beforehand.
Are there any risks?
Every cleaning process has risks, however we undertake to minimalise these risks. Wedding dresses are designed
to be one off special occasion garments and many dress designs involve ornate embellishments, feathers, flowers, jewellery etc. There is always some risk in cleaning despite the precautions
taken. Very occasionally, threads that are weak can break through no fault in the cleaning process.
Whilst every care will be taken, we cannot accept responsibility for any imperfections in the fabric which become more apparent following cleaning. Pulls or snags or other fabric weaknesses may result in broken threads or occasionally lead to tears to the fabric. During the process itself, different parts of the dress can come into contact with each other which despite the best preparation and can very occasionally result in loss or damage to beads or trim or even marking to the fabric itself.
So why should I bother to get it cleaned?
It is our duty of care to point out to you the possibility of, thankfully rare, problems that may occur during cleaning. However, not cleaning the dress will damage the dress and will detrimentally affect your options on what to do with the dress in the future. Whether, you wish to sell it, pass it on to a friend or relative, give to charity or simply keep it for its precious memories (including to see if you can still get in it in 10 years’ time).
Dress Storage, why should I box my dress?
If a dress is incorrectly stored the following may occur;
Mildew - when your dress is subject to changes in temperature the moisture in the air condenses causing damp patches. This results in formation of mildew. This is especially likely if the dress is stored in polythene. Dresses should not be stored long term in polythene.
Dust - over time dust collects and will mark your dress.
Fading - unless kept in dark conditions any sunlight will cause fading in areas.
Oxidisation- uneven discoloration due to exposure to air.
Fabric yellowing - Similar in effect to oxidation but occurs as a result of using unsuitable packaging materials.
Can’t I just use any old box?
No, for long term preservation, you need to store your dress in a suitable box, specifically made to store delicate fabrics, they must be acid free. Our boxes are handmade to a very high standard. They are robust and durable as well as being beautiful. Made from acid free board and paper and layered with acid free tissue – they really are practical and something to be treasured.
Your service sounds great but I don’t live locally, can I post my dress to you?
Yes, we offer a collection and delivery service. Contact us and we will email you an address label from our courier DPD.
How should I package my dress ready for collection?
You need to put your dress inside your dress bag (if you have one ) and then pack into a cardboard box, for this you can use any box as long as it is strong enough to withstand being at the couriers depot and delivery van.
Fill in your contact details and place inside the box so that you can be identified. Seal the box securely and attach the address label we have emailed you to the front of the box.
Our parcel company DPD Local offer a 1 hour notification TEXT and email on next day collection and delivery service, Monday-Friday and their usual package insurance.
How much do you charge?
Prices start at £75.00. In the first instance we recommend that you email us email@example.com with pictures of your gown, highlighting any known stains etc. We will then respond with a full quotation for you including collection/delivery if required. Final quotations are given once the dress has been inspected by a member of staff. Prices may be different to those advertised due to the level of staining or finishing required. Prices can also be affected by the initial purchase price of the dress if over £1500, then prices start at 20% of the purchase price regardless of style.
When and how do I pay?
Once your dress has been cleaned, we will email you an invoice for payment. You can pay by debit or credit card or by BACS. When the dress has been paid for, either come and collect or we can arrange the delivery by courier (boxed gowns only)
We are members of the UKFT (UK Fashion and Textile Association) and Textile Services Association and as such we abide by the rules laid down by them and their Fair Compensation Scheme.
How long does it take?
We like 2 – 3 weeks to clean the dresses. However, this may be longer if a handmade box is required, as these are made to order. We will keep you informed.
We are here to help, so if you have any questions or would like a quotation please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
We are Chichester's professional, reliable and flexible laundry & specialist garment cleaning service.
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From Monday 11th May
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