When it comes to getting your wedding dress cleaned, you may be considering taking it to the dry cleaners. But how much can you expect to pay for a typical service? I spent some time researching the costs involved and how long it generally takes to set my own expectations. I would like to share what I managed to learn with you here today.
So, how much does it cost to dry clean a wedding dress? A wedding dress typically costs between $80-$200 to get dry cleaned, on average. The total cost depends on several factors, such as the dry cleaning service used, the type of dress you have, and how quickly you want your dress returned. Either way, you can expect your dress to take between 2-3 days and 3-4 weeks to be dry cleaned.
Whether you want to dry clean your wedding dress in preparation for sale, or you simply want to repurpose it, dry cleaning is one of your better options for returning it to its former, spotless state.
Thankfully, it is also one of the most affordable and in many ways, safest options when it comes to cleaning.
So, it is something that you should definitely consider.
Let us now take a closer look at some of those other questions you may have, including whether or not you can dry clean your dress yourself and whether or not you should be looking to dry clean your dress ahead of your wedding day.
So, be sure to keep reading to the end to get all the information you need!
Factors That Influence The Cost Of Dry Cleaning Your Wedding Dress
Although a good average price for getting your wedding dress dry cleaned will be anywhere from $80 to $200, some things can make this cost less or more expensive.
It is actually a good idea to be aware of these before you even purchase your wedding gown, as you may go for a simpler dress to avoid premium dry cleaning costs in the future.
Where You Take It
Naturally, the reputation and skills of your chosen dry cleaners will influence the costs of their services.
Newer dry cleaning businesses tend to have introductory offers to build their client base.
This can be great if you are on a tighter budget. The same goes for less reputable dry cleaners.
Although, their reasons for having more budget-friendly prices are more about the price reflecting their work than trying to build a reliable customer base.
Your wedding gown is one of the most poignant reminders of your special day.
So, you will want to choose a dry cleaner you can trust with this precious garment. It is always worth paying a little more for services that you can trust.
Level Of Service
Some places will have a variable scale when it comes to pricing their services, especially when it comes to cleaning wedding gowns.
Hard-to-remove stains, like oil-based stains or an accidental red win spillage, will require a lot more work to remove and can add extra fees to your final quote.
However, even with the best dry cleaners, the cost should not exceed $300.
Make sure your dry cleaner is aware of any stains you know of so that you can get an accurate quote before your drop your gown off at the premises.
The last thing you want is a surprise bill that far exceeds what you thought you were going to pay.
Not all dry cleaners provide an expedited service, but if you do need your dress back sooner rather than later, you may be charged an extra rush fee.
In most cases, you probably won’t have a deadline, but if you have rented your wedding dress, the rental company may expect to receive the dress back by a certain date.
Make sure to ask your dry cleaner if they offer a rush service, as not all dry cleaners do.
You don’t want to find yourself stuck without being able to get your dress back in time.
The Style Of Your Gown
The style and design of your wedding gown can be the biggest influencer of the cost of getting your dress dry cleaned.
Each fabric will have different cleaning requirements. This means some dry cleans can cost more than others.
For example, Lace fabrics can be tricky to dry clean and generally costs more than a cotton fabric dress.
The actual design of your dress can also alter the price. Sheath dresses that have only one layer of fabric are not only quicker to clean but far easier as well.
The simplicity of your dress can reduce your quoted costs.
However, a full ball gown has many layers and requires a lot more time and vigilance when it comes to cleaning it.
Wedding dresses with a lot of intricate details can cost more to clean.
Beadwork, extra lace, and crystals can slow down the dry cleaning job and will also require a different level of cleaning to ensure the details aren’t damaged.
Wedding Gown Packaging
How you want your wedding gown to be packaged will definitely have an impact on the final dry cleaning costs.
Although most dresses are bagged with those clear plastic covers when they are handed back to you, many dry cleaners give you the option to box your wedding dress.
Boxing your dress is by far the better option. It will protect your wedding gown far better than a simple bag, but it is pricier.
This option can cost anywhere from $50 to $130 on top of your general dry cleaning costs.
Where Can You Get Your Wedding Dress Dry Cleaned?
Not all dry cleaners actually provide wedding dress services.
Wedding gowns are considered special items because of their intricate details and delicate fabrics.
So, you will want to take the time to make sure you know exactly what fabrics your dress is made of.
Call around to a few dry cleaners well beforehand to make sure they have the correct equipment and know how to dry clean a wedding dress and its delicate fabrics and adornments.
It may even pay to get in touch with your local dry cleaners before your wedding day has even passed to ensure there’s someone in your local area who’s up to the task.
Otherwise, you may have to travel a little further afield to find a professional who can handle your delicate gown.
When Should You Get Your Wedding Dress Dry Cleaned?
You should definitely get your wedding dress dry-cleaned as soon after your wedding as possible, but you may also want to consider getting it dry-cleaned before your big day.
If your wedding dress is vintage, second-hand, or purchased during a sample sale, it’s likely to have been worn by more than just yourself.
This may have resulted in a few little stains or grubby patches that you definitely don’t want showing up in your wedding photos.
If you needed alterations, even if the dress is brand new or a custom design, it may have picked up the odd scuff or dirt mark.
It is normal, and it happens, and getting it dry-cleaned before the wedding means it will be in pristine condition.
The reason you want to get your wedding dry cleaned as soon after your wedding day as you can is to avoid stains from setting too deep into the fabric.
The sooner a professional can start cleaning it, the easier some of the stains or marks can be removed.
How Long Does It Take To Dry Clean A Wedding Dress?
Wedding dress dry cleaning usually takes around 2 weeks. The design of your dress, the level of stains, and how soon after your wedding it gets to the dry cleaners can alter this timeline but it is a good average to work with.
Whether you decide to just have your dress dry cleaned or preserved will alter the length of time it will take to clean.
Dry cleaning your wedding dress is almost like a basic service.
All visible stains will be removed and the dress will look as good as new. However, this service won’t stop your dress from yellowing over time.
Wedding dress preservation will look deeper into the fabric, removing even the stains you cannot see, such as perspiration and perfume stains.
Due to the level of work that goes into pressuring a wedding dress, this service cantata a few weeks longer but your dress will also be packed even more beautifully to maintain your wedding gown’s life and luster.
Not all dry cleaners provide this service so double-check with them first.
But like most things, the timeline can vary and how long you can expect to wait does depend on a few different factors that I shall now set out below.
Factors That Affect Cleaning Time
Style Of The Dress
Firstly, it depends on your dress itself. Some dresses are easier to clean; whereas others with more layers will require extra care and attention, and thus the process takes longer.
Dry Cleaners Demand
Secondly, it depends on the time of year and local demand for dry cleaning services in your area.
They may be very busy, and many of these services operate on a first come first serve basis.
So, you’ll likely be at the back of the queue; but how long that queue is can vary.
This is why, if you can, it is a good idea to get your wedding dress dry cleaned in the quieter seasons, and those when weddings are generally not taking place (such as those summer months).
Level of Service
The other common factor that can impact the time it takes, is the attention to detail/level of service the dry cleaners are able to offer your dress.
While it may take longer, it comes strongly advised to seek out better-known and respected dry cleaning companies.
Local dry cleaning companies may not have the expertise or knowledge to clean your dress adequately or properly, and this runs the risk of either potential damage or them sending it to a wholesale dry-cleaning company.
But this, of course, will only increase your waiting time.
Do Dry Cleaners Steam Wedding Dresses?
Dry cleaners do not generally steam wedding dresses; instead using a cleaning solution of particular solvents/chemicals to remove any stains, embellishments or markings.
Dry cleaning is actually a process that does not use water, as it can damage certain fabrics; such as those used to make your wedding dress.
Depending on the dry cleaning service used, will ultimately depend on the chemicals they use on your dress.
As you would expect, the better quality services will use chemicals most suitable for wedding dresses, which run a lower risk of causing damage such as shrinkage or changing the shaping.
When your wedding dress is taken, it will be first inspected. It is from there that all issues are accounted for, prior to a decision on how to treat the dress.
Spot cleaning will then take place on any significant stains or discoloring. This will usually be done manually and before the general and overall cleaning of the dress.
For the most part, professional dry cleaning services will place your wedding dress in a protective bag before being fully submerged in the cleaning solution for a specified time.
Can I Dry Clean My Wedding Dress?
It is generally not possible to dry clean your wedding dress; due to the fact that you would need expensive equipment and particular items to do so. These are not the kind of things we have lying around the house!
So theoretically, you could dry clean your wedding dress.
But, you would need to invest in a dry cleaning machine (costing upward of $15,000), the correct chemical solution, be able to measure out the correct proportions, and know exactly how long to submerge your dress.
This is why it is much more cost-effective, safer, and recommended that you use a dry cleaning service.
Sure, there are other cleaning workarounds often recommended for cleaning clothing items at home, such as steaming and using particular cleaning agents (like alcohol and vinegar) but you do not want to risk these on your dress.
So, for the preservation of your dress, it is important that you take it to a particular dry cleaner, one that specializes in wedding dresses.
They’ll have the expertise, knowledge, and know-how to clean your dress safely, without causing any long-lasting damage.
For example, they will be able to review the specific fabric, stitching, and finer details; before cleaning it in the most appropriate and safest way.
Should I Dry Clean My Wedding Dress Before The Wedding?
Whether or not you decide to clean your wedding dress before the wedding, will mostly depend on where you get your dress from and the condition it is in.
For example, if you are buying a new wedding dress – there will be no need to have it cleaned.
That being said, if you are renting or wearing a wedding dress that has already been worn before, you may need to consider getting it cleaned. Inspect the dress for any discoloration, stains, or markings.
It is also advised to seek out the advice of a professional cleaner, long in advance of the wedding. They will be able to offer advice as to whether or not it is required and what will be involved.
Getting your wedding dress dry cleaned is one of the most affordable and safest ways you can restore it to its former glory.
In many ways, it comes advised following your wedding for long-term preservation.
Generally, the faster your wedding dress is cleaned following the wedding, the higher the chances that any stains will come out.
This will make your life much easier down the line. Whether you want to wear it again, repurpose it, or even want to sell it.
Whatever you do, be very particular with the dry cleaning service you use. You do not want to regret your decision for the sake of a $50-$100.
Wedding dresses are specialized garments that require certain knowledge to work on.
If a regular dry cleaner attempts to clean your dress without the know-how, you may find your dress is returned damaged, shrunk, or out of shape.
Ultimately, it will require some time and investment to get your wedding dress properly cleaned, but it is one of the best things you can do.
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Hey, I’m Allison – a recent bride, an expectant mother and the chief editor here at Everlasting Occasion. Here I document all the knowledge and experience I accumulated while researching and planning my dream wedding and ahead of our new baby. Here, I try to answer those many questions couples have when planning their dream wedding, while equally, helping expectant parents ahead of their new arrival!