Prep Your Wedding Dress for Storage: A DIY Guide

The wedding has come and gone, and now you’re in need of wedding dress storage. Perhaps you wore your grandmother’s elegant silk gown with the flowing train. Maybe you and your girlfriends spent weeks searching for the perfect dress. However you found it, you need to store this treasure so that the years don’t take a toll. To help, we’ve put together this DIY guide on how to pack a wedding dress for storage. To best maintain your dress’ timeless grandeur, follow these important steps.

Check the Label on Your Dress for Care Instructions

Check the gown’s label for care instructions. Some must be dry cleaned while others can be “wet-cleaned.” Wet cleaning just means to clean with water. Often polyester dresses can be hand-washed. If you do plan to hand wash your wedding dress before putting it into storage, be sure to test a small, hidden area. Labels may also provide special instructions that specify the type of cleaning solvent. Check with your bridal shop for an experienced dry cleaner.

Clean Your Wedding Dress Before Storing It

Have the gown cleaned as soon as possible to prevent stains from setting. Make sure the individual who will handle your dress has experience cleaning gowns. Not all gowns require the same type of treatment. Some chemicals work great on silk but will damage sequins. Look for a cleaner that uses virgin solvent rather than recycled. A gown cleaned in impure solvent will smell likes it has been dry cleaned, and it shouldn’t.

Choose the Right Container, and Prep Your Dress

Avoid storing the gown in a plastic dry-cleaning bag or a plastic garment bag for very long. Even if the wedding boutique sent the dress home in a bag, it’s a good idea to place your dress in an acid-free container. Plastic may emit fumes and acid that could yellow or otherwise damage your gown. In addition, if moisture gets trapped in the bag, the dress could mildew. Decide whether you want to have the gown professionally boxed or hung or if you are going to handle it yourself.

If you’re planning to do it yourself, you should place your dress in a cloth bag that contains no dye. Additionally, it would be best if you hung it on a thickly padded hanger. You should reinforce strapless dresses or dresses with narrow straps to prevent breakage. You can do this by filling the bodice with acid-free tissue to help it retain its shape.

Check On Your Wedding Dress Regularly

Check the dress at least once a year for problems. A spilled drink may be invisible when it dries, but over time it can oxidize and turn the area where it spilled brown. Have such spots cleaned right away. They can become harder to remove once they have been there awhile. Normally, they will show up in the first year after the wedding. 

Pick the Right Location to Keep Your Wedding Dress

After you’ve cleaned and preserved your wedding dress, keep it in a location where it’s cool and dry. Minimize light. Ultraviolet radiation can hurt textiles over a long period. You may want to lease a self-storage unit with climate control features.

If you don’t have somewhere to put it yet, consider a storage unit along with some other items that could declutter your garage, attic, or closets. We have 79 facilities across Southern California and the Phoenix metro area and would love to assist you with your storage needs and answer any other storage-related questions you may have!

how to store your wedding dress

Now that you know how to pack your wedding dress for storage, we hope you get to enjoy it for years to come!

This post was originally published on April 20, 2017.
It was updated on October 27, 2020.