Things You'll Need
Soft, clean rags
Mild dishwashing liquid
Detergent without bleach (gentle)
Gentle clothes pins
Mild liquid soap
Cleaning a wedding dress can be intimidating. These are some of the most elaborate and beautiful garments that can be worn--and when you factor in the emotional attachments that accompany a wedding dress as well as the delicate satin, the prospect of cleaning can be downright terrifying. Fortunately, you can clean almost anything out of a satin wedding dress in the comfort of your own home, saving you time and money.
Do a quick spot clean. Do not treat grease spots, as they need special treatment. However, any dark dirt spots can be treated with a little warm water and a dab of mild liquid soap. Rub the spot lightly with a clean, soft rag, and the dirt should lift right out onto the rag. Do not scrub too hard, though, since you are about to clean the entire dress anyway.
Treat any grease stains. While you can usually get sweat and makeup stains out fairly easily by washing, grease will not come out with water in most cases. Instead, squirt a small dab of mild dishwashing liquid on a clean, soft rag. Apply it (without wetting the rag) to the grease stain. Begin by blotting, then gently scrub if necessary. The dish soap should lift the grease off the dress. It is important to do this before you wash the dress so that you do not accidentally set the grease stain.
Remove all attachments so that you can put the body of the dress in the washer. Generally, it is best to hand-wash attachments just because they are smaller and more likely to tangle in the wash. You can use the same gentle detergent and cool water.
Turn the satin wedding gown inside out. This will help protect sequins and beads from banging against the sides of the washing machine.
Apply natural fabric whiteners. Assuming that your gown is all white, you can remove yellowing from age, storage or even sweat by adding half a cup of lemon juice to the wash water. It will naturally remove stains and not harm the satin.
Wash the gown on cold in the gentlest cycle possible. It will be labeled "Gentle" or "Delicates."
Hang the gown out to dry in the sun. The lemon juice will interact with the sunlight to brighten up the whiteness of the satin even further. Be sure to spread the gown out as much as possible and use plenty of clothespins to distribute the weight of the gown evenly.
If you do not want to deal with steaming out the wrinkles from the machine washing, simply use the same process and materials in a large tub. This will add to drying time, but lessen the wrinkles that end up in your dress.