How to Clean Dirt From the Hem of a Lace Wedding Dress

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A disadvantage of a floor-length wedding gown is that you are very likely to have dirt on the hem when the event is over. Lace is a delicate material that requires special care, but cleaning the hem of your wedding dress at home is economical and allows you to store the gown clean. Knowing how to clean a lacy wedding dress allows you to wear a family dress or purchase a used dress that needs some care. Once clean, a professional can help you preserve your dress in a keepsake box.

Things You'll Need

  • White sock or towel
  • Laundry detergent
  • Soft-bristle brush (optional)
  • Examine the lace hem on your wedding dress for damage. Repair any rips or loose pieces of lace before cleaning.

  • Fill a bathtub approximately half full with warm water. You will be putting your hands in the water, so don't make it too hot or too cold.

  • Pour in a small amount of gentle laundry detergent. Stir to mix it evenly in the water. Avoid using colored detergent, which can leave a tinted residue. Opt for a clear liquid -- a sensitive formula with no dyes or perfumes is ideal. Place a clean towel on the edge of the tub to protect the dress.

  • Immerse the hem of your wedding gown in the water and allow it to soak for about one hour. If you are only cleaning the hem, it will be easier to work with the dress if you leave the rest of the gown outside the tub so it is dry. Place the dress on a chair or something to prop it up so it doesn't get dirty on the floor or hanging off the side.

  • Rub the lace gently with a white sock or rag soaked with water from the tub. Hold the lace in one hand and scrub with the other hand. Work along the entire hem in sections until it has all been cleaned. Use a soft-bristle brush, like one made of nylon, if needed, on dirt that doesn't come out with the cloth.

  • Rinse the dress. Drain the tub and fill it with fresh water or hang the dress and rinse it with a detachable shower head. Continue rinsing until the water runs clear and all the soap has been removed.

  • Hang your wedding gown and air-dry it. Use a plastic hanger and place the dress in a safe place to dry.

Tips & Warnings

  • Don't use this method on a silk gown because it could damage the fabric attached to the lace.
  • Practice cleaning a lacy hem on an old piece of clothing to hone the technique and prevent damage to your dress. An inexpensive piece of lace sewn to an old t-shirt is another option for practicing on.

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