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  Preserving Your Gown
By Christine Morrissey
National Gown Cleaners & Archival Products
After the celebrations are complete, what’s a newlywed bride to do with her gown?

Whether you decide to keep your beautiful gown as a keepsake for your daughter or save it for sentimental reasons, you must first have it cleaned.

Your gown should be cleaned as soon as possible. Certainly within the first thirty days after the reception. The longer that stains set on the gown the harder it will be to remove them, creating a risk to the fabric or color. Any stains such as food, grease, cake, hemline soil, grass and especially champagne should be noted and discussed with the cleaner. Champagne and any sugar based stains are often the most difficult to remove unless pretreated before cleaning.

Beads should be secured and sewn on before cleaning. Glued on beads soften in perchlorethylene (a common solvent used by normal cleaners) and lose their finish, some actually dissolve. Cleaners using stoddard solvents often have a better chance in cleaning without any damage to beads or fancy embellishments. Before cleaning your gown you should have the beads tested by the cleaner. This is very simply done by placing a bead in solvent for 5 to 10 minutes. The bead is then checked to see if any finish or any part of the enamel has dissolved. If you notice a cloudy finish to the bead then it is best to find a cleaner who uses another type of cleaning solvent.

Following cleaning, the gown should be available for inspection. This is a very important step. Any questions regarding stains that were not removed should be discussed at this time. Additional cleaning or handling to remove these stains may involve risk to the garment. You should make sure you are aware of all the possible risks prior to authorizing additional services. [page 2]

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