So, you get your new ballroom dress, wear it a few (or more) times and start to get that sinking feeling that it might be time to give the ol girl a wash. Washing your gown for the first time can be a fairly daunting experience; what if all the stones fall off? Will the colours run together? what on earth do I do with it now it's soaking wet?!! But, not to worry as I have washed many a dress over the years (friends dresses included) and this is how I like to do it 🙂
First of all I recommend you get your hands on some Vanish Oxi Action fabric stain remover (pink containers). All of the pink Vanish products are fine, I've tried the powder form and the spray but prefer the spray as I can target problem areas. This stuff is like liquid gold for washing dresses. Lipstick stain? see ya later. Fake tan marks? bye! This special product was recommended to me from my previous dressmaker in London who had told me she once used it to get a red wine stain out of a white dress! So yeah, no more needs to be said... it's a miracle worker.
Here's a little list of what you will need:
- Vanish Oxi Action (powder or spray)
- normal washing liquid of choice
- bathtub or large sink
- washing machine (please don't stress about this and just keep reading!!)
- gloves (optional)
Lets get to it!
- Ask yourself the question do I want to wash the whole dress or just do a spot clean? If it's just a spot wash then still follow the same instructions but only do so with the parts of the dress that need washing. I personally don't opt for spot washes and prefer to wash the whole dress at a time as some materials are prone to water marks. In saying that though I've also had great success with some spot washes when the dress isn't really that dirty. You don't want to over-wash your ballroom gown.
- Fill your bathtub/sink with lukewarm water (not too hot, or you risk the chance of melting the stones right off your dress! #notideal). Add in a tiny amount of washing liquid and either spray the Vanish on problem areas or put a small amount of the powder into the water. I would probably use a tablespoon in a sink or a few table spoons in the bathtub. Just try to go easy on the washing products as no one wants a crusty dress for the following comp!
- Put the dress in the water. Go on, get it in there! Now you can work on getting out the marks (if any) and just give the dress a general scrub. I usually do this by rubbing the material together and do this until it's clean. Give the dress a good swish and squeeze and then drain the water, holding the dress to the side of the tub.
- Once the water has drained, refill the tub with cold water ONLY. This cools the glue under the stones and rinses any excess cleaning product out of the dress.
- Now, up to you but I like to put the bodice of my dress into a pillow slip for protection before I then put it in the washing machine. Once its all squeezed into the washing machine set it to spin on low or if you can put it on a gentle spin cycle.
- Try not to freak out while your dress is spinning a million miles an hour...
- Pull your dress out of the machine and WA-LAH! Brand new dress 🙂 I like to hang it out to continue to dry, if your skirt is extra heavy you can place it over a chair to dry so that the weight of the skirt doesn't pull on the bodice.
In between washes I like to use Febreze fabric refresher which kills bacteria and really helps to keep the dresses fresh! They have so many different flavours and are really great for when you are travelling and don't have the time/space to wash your dress. I just spray it onto the areas needed, leave for a few minutes and then pat dry with a towel.
Hopefully some of these ideas helped you! I've tried this same method with all my dresses ranging from velvet to silk and its always worked out fine. I would take care with feathers though.. when I've washed dresses with feathers I tend to do the spot wash method and if you do happen to accidentally get some feathers wet the hairdryer works a treat in getting them back nice and fluffy 🙂 Also, don't be afraid of the spin cycle, it really is the best thing to get rid of all that excess water so your dress will dry so much quicker! Just be sure to pop your machine on a gentle cycle or on a lower speed spin.
If you have any more questions or queries please feel free to comment below 🙂 All my beautiful dresses are sponsored by Embody Dancewear.
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