Have you ever wondered –can you wash your dress? Is it safe? What will happen to the stones? I have always been cautious myself and until recently had only washed the body suit. The cost alone of a designer dress makes washing it pretty daunting. Add expensive stones and other adornments and it tries your nerves to think about washing it. However, most dresses are made of very washable knit such as Lycra spandex.

I did a little research, tried a few of the suggested methods myself and thought I would share the info in this week’s blog post.

  1. Contact original designer for specific directions for your dress.
    • They know the content of the material, type of glue used, etc. and are the best, safest guide to washing your dress
    • Ask if the designer offers a cleaning service – some offer this additional service
  1.  A second excellent option is to ask your dance studio for the best cleaner in town – they know who they use and to recommend for different dress types!

If you are washing the garment yourself (and that is perfectly fine for many dresses!) start off with these cautions:caution

  • Feathers and fringe may require professional treatment
    • may not stand up well to water and soap
    • most are treated and dyed are harder to replace than rhinestones if they fall off during washing
    • the dye on feathers and fringe will most likely bleed
  • Silk (or anything like silk)
    • Test a small, hidden spot to make sure the color does not run – if it does, go back to the designer for advice
    • If it doesn’t run, submerge the entire garment completely in a bathtub (see below)
    • Spot cleaning will cause water spots

OK ready to wash the dress after passing those caution signs?

  • Prep for washing:
    • Always test the fabric in an inconspicuous spot before washing!
      • Zip the gown’s zipper or fasten and snap a corset back. Hook all hook and eyes.
      • Expect to lose a few stones during the washing (or for that matter whenever you wear it!)
        • Your dress may have come with a little bag of stones – if not you will need to purchase some to have on hand.
        • Purchase rhinestone glue to replace any that come loose or fall off. Available at Joann’s or Michael’s.
  • Method 1: Bathtub –
    • Lay a small piece of cheese cloth over the drain to catch any stones that fall off
    • Submerge the entire dress in a bathtub with cold or slightly warm water and very mild soap that is especially made for delicate garments. Lurex flakes or Woolite are good choices
  • Method 2: Machine wash –
    • Dresses made of spandex knit and stones can usually be washed on the hand cycle in the washing machine
    • Place the dress in a pillowcase with a zipper and place on hand/delicate cycle with Woolite
    • The stones that fall off will be easy to collect and replace! A future blog will give tips on replacing stones. I didn’t lose any stones!
    • Gently spot rub the parts that are most likely to have more sweat, and swish around the entire garment for a few minutes. Then drain the tub, fill with clear cool water and swish it around again to rinse
  • Drying – all methods: Lay dress out on a flat surface that has some absorption, for example a bed or table that is covered with towels then sheets, not a flat plastic surface.

Enjoy a clean and preserved costume! 

Debi Camp

Debi Camp

Co-owner of DDC

Debi enjoys everything about the ballroom atmosphere, especially the community and friendships built on the dance floor over the last 6+ years. She is a full time nurse and IT trainer, amazing mother and grandmother. Her joy and hope are contagious.Spending time around her and reading her articles are sure to make you smile.