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We’ve put together some of our most commonly asked questions including wedding dress cleaning, stain removal and storage. We hope you’ll find the replies from our specialist team informative and answer your particular question.
If you cannot find the answer to your question please contact Jo and her team on 023 8023 1018 or contact us.
Why get my dress cleaned - it isn't really dirty?
You won't need to be told why your wedding dress is precious to you but there are hazards in storing your valuable dress for more than a few months so it is a good idea to take precautions.
Firstly many untreated stains, however minor, will soon become 'set' into the fabric and are likely to cause permanent marking. Some invisible marks, particularly simple drink spills, will progressively darken with time and become very difficult or impossible to remove later.
What are the main risks when storing my dress?
Why should I use a storage box?
Once clean your dress needs to be stored away from light, dust, temperature fluctuations, etc. so simply leaving it in polythene in your wardrobe or attic can lead to problems.
Can you clean my shoes too?
Yes. We are able to offer a superficial shoe cleaning service. This will remove the worst of the soiling however whilst we endeavour to get the 'best result possible' we cannot guarantee the actual result as stains can ‘develop’ (worsen), change colour or only slightly fade in cleaning.
My dress label suggests a Baptiste process - Can you clean it?
We use a range of cleaning processes carefully developed over the last 53 years. These include perchloroethylene, hydrocarbon, aqueous and hand methods. We select the best method with great care depending on the composition of the dress and the nature of the soiling.
NOTE: We do not use the Baptiste Process® (as this is simply the name given by one dry cleaner to describe their method!) but we can clean dresses with this label too.
My dress label says "Clean by XXX process / cleaners ONLY"?
As we are not limited to only one method we can safely clean all dresses regardless of the care label recommendation.
We can safely clean all dresses including those labelled SPECIALIST CLEAN, SPOT CLEAN and even 'DO NOT DRY CLEAN'.
My dress is labelled Spot Clean Only - can you clean it?
Yes, we can usually choose a process suitable for any dress.
We have a range of special processes. Unlike nearly all other dry cleaners we also have a choice of several cleaning machines and three different solvents.
My dress is torn - can you repair it?
Usually yes. We have very skilled tailoring staff who can have a look at the dress. As soon as we receive your dress we will let you know what the best repair solutions are and we will give you a quote for the repair.
Can you remove all the stains?
We are often asked about this but it is simply not possible to guarantee the removal of every mark and stain from every type of material. In general we advise customers to be extremely wary of any company that does.
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 which solvent and process to use. and to recognise where to stop before risk of damage to the dress.
Occasionally 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.
Are there any risks?
Many dress designs involve ornate embellishments, feathers, flowers, jewellery etc. There is always some risk in cleaning despite the precautions taken which will include cleaning the dress on its own within a protective bag. Very ocassionally threads that are extremely weak can break through no fault in the cleaning process.
Before cleaning we will strengthen loose stitching, re-stitch, secure or completely remove and later replace the larger or more fragile items of decoration. The remaining smaller beads, sequins and attachments that cannot be practically removed will be tested for their suitability for cleaning. Some accessories are covered with protective fabric. If your dress requires protective tailoring measures there may be an additional charge but this will always be discussed with you beforehand.
Whilst every care will be taken we cannot accept responsibility for trimmings which are unsuitable for dry cleaning. Imperfections in the fabric may worsen and 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, can very occasionally result in loss or damage to beads or trim or even marking to the fabric itself. Should this happen our tailoring department will do our best to replace any lost or damaged trim or to effect the best possible repair.
My dress is valuable - Is it fully insured?
It is essential that your dress is properly packaged within a secure and labelled box. If this is the case it will be insured for loss and damage whilst in transit. Insurance also covers problems ocurring in processing where the cleaning process is found to be at fault. There is a small additional insurance charge for dresses with a purchase cost over £2500.
We are sometimes asked what would happen in the extremely rare event of a problem arising and a claim being necessary. In such an event a valuation would be obtained by our insurers according to industry guidelines* which means that the dress is valued at half the purchase price. (*Textile Services Association has valuation guidelines agreed with Office of Fair Trading and Trading Standards).
How do I pack my dress - Do I need a box?
1. First place your dress, veil and any other pieces (e.g. ties saches etc) into your dress carrier (or a polythene bag if you do not have one). Your dress carrier/hanger will always be returned to you.
2. Next, roll or fold and place everything into a cardboard box. The packing is necessary for the secure delivery and protection of the dress.
3. Finally ensure the box is labelled with our Bridal Workshop address.
If you cannot find a box suitably large then some people use an old suitcase or other secure container however unless you specifically request otherwise this will be discarded and will not be returned to you.
NOTE: Veil, dress hoops etc are always packaged flat at the bottom of the box when returned.
My dress is being cleaned pre-wedding - will it be ready to wear when I get it back?
Although every care is taken to minimise creases caused by packing a dress within a box, you must assume that your dress will require some steaming or re-pressing before being ready to wear.
The amount of attention required cannot be predicted in advance as this will depend on each individual dress. To be prepared we strongly advise removing your dress from the box and hanging it in plenty of time before your wedding as in some cases the dress could require full re-pressing.
My Dress is now on a hanger - can I hand it to your driver as it is?
No - it very important that the dress is securely packaged within a box as described above. We cannot accept any responsibility whatsoever for loss or damage to any dress unless received boxed.