Can you wash Wedding Gowns in a Washing Machine?

Wedding gowns are made of delicate fabrics and embellishments that can get damaged if washed in a washing machine. Therefore, wedding gowns should never be washed in a washing machine. Instead, it is best to have a professional dry cleaner handle the cleaning of a wedding gown.

That being said, some bridal or wedding gowns that are labeled as machine-washable or hand-washable can be considered for gentle washing.

For machine-washable gowns, make sure to use a front-load washing machine for optimum results. Moreover, use a delicate or hand-wash cycle with cold water settings.

For added protection, you may use a mesh laundry bag large enough to accommodate the gown for washing.

Doing this will protect the dress from snagging on other clothes or getting caught in the machine.

Finally, after washing, line dry or lay it flat to air dry naturally.

Note: If the care label says “dry clean only,” do not wash the gown in a washing machine; instead, take it to the nearest dry cleaning shop.

Key Takeaways

  • Wedding gowns should never be machine or hand-washed unless the care label is very specific about it.
  • Avoid washing gowns with embellishment and a lot of custom work.
  • It’s best to get your gown dry cleaned by a professional dry cleaning service.
  • If the care label says “machine washable” or “hand washable,” use a front-load washing machine, delicate cycle, and cold water.
  • It’s also a good idea to use a mesh laundry bag while washing the gown.
  • Always air dry the gown naturally by either laying them flat or hanging them.

What is a wedding gown made of?

Wedding gowns can be made from a variety of different fabrics, including silk, satin, chiffon, lace, polyester, taffeta, rayon, and organza.

The style, the person’s tastes, and the design of the gown all affect the choice of fabric.

Some wedding gowns may also include embellishments such as beads, sequins, or embroidery, which can add to the overall look and feel of the gown. This also means that it is difficult to machine wash them.

Is it necessary to wash wedding gowns after each use?

There is no hard-and-fast rule that recommends washing wedding gowns after each use, as this will depend on the condition of the gown.

In fact, it is generally recommended to only have a wedding gown professionally cleaned by a dry cleaner after it has been worn.

And rightly so, as gowns are expensive and often made of delicate fabrics with embellishments that can be easily damaged if machine-washed or hand-washed.

How to wash a gown in a washing machine?

Since a wedding gown is delicate and contains a lot of custom work, it is not ideal for washing it in a washing machine. In fact, even hand washing is not recommended, as it can easily damage the fabric.

Before you start with the cleaning or washing process, it’s important you read the care label carefully to figure out the right approach to cleaning the gown.

Only resort to washing if the label specifically states “machine washable” or “hand-washable.”

In most cases, the wedding gown will discourage washing and recommend dry cleaning only.

However, a few manufacturers may allow you to machine wash the gowns, especially if they are not embellished and are made of machine-washable fabrics such as cotton or polyester.

For machine-washable gowns, use cold water on the gentle cycle and a mild detergent.

Also, use a front-load washing machine because these washers are gentler than top-load washers.

Here’s how you can wash a gown in a washing machine with care:

Step 1: Do not ignore the care label

Read the care label instructions on your gown carefully. If there are no specific instructions for washing, proceed with caution.

That being said, as a general rule of thumb, avoid washing gowns if they have a lot of embellishment and custom work, as these types of gowns need dry cleaning.

Step 2: Use a mesh laundry bag

Place your gown in a mesh laundry bag before putting it in the washing machine. This will help protect the fabric from snagging or tearing.

While machine washing, make sure you don’t add any other clothes to the load.

Step 3: Add mild detergent

Adding a mild detergent designed for delicates will help protect the fabric from damage.

Step 4: Use the delicate cycle and cold water setting

Make sure you use cold water and set the machine to the delicate cycle.

Do not attempt to use hot water because gowns are made using mixed blends of fibers (mostly delicate).

So, using hot water will cause it to shrink and further damage the delicate materials.

Step 5: Air dry

When the wash cycle is complete, remove your gown from the washer immediately and hang it up to dry.

Drying your gown in a dryer won’t make sense, as it is obvious that the heat from the dryer can damage the fabric.

So, hang the gown in a cool area away from direct sunlight and let it air dry.

How to wash a wedding gown by hand?

If you don’t have a washing machine large enough to fit your gown, hand washing it in the sink is your best option.

To wash your wedding gown at home by hand, you can follow the below steps:

  • Start by filling a clean container such as a sink or basin with lukewarm water.
  • Next, add a mild detergent designed for delicate fabrics.
  • Gently stir the water to create suds, then submerge your gown and allow it to soak for 15 minutes.
  • Use your hands to softly agitate the fabric and work the suds into the material. Make sure to gently swirl the dress around in the water (Do not scrub or wring).
  • Next, drain the sink to discharge used water and refill it with fresh and clean water.
  • Rinse your gown thoroughly to remove any remaining soap residue or until the water runs clear. If required repeat the rinse step with cool water.
  • Once you’ve removed all of the soap, gently squeeze excess water from the fabric and transfer your dress to a clean, dry towel.
  • Place it flat on the towel and gently pat dry by being careful not to strain or tear the cloth.
  • Finally, hang your gown up in a cool, dry place until it’s completely dry.

Note: Do not hang your wedding gown in a wet condition as this could cause the fabric to stretch out of shape.

How to remove stains from wedding gowns?

Method 1: Take it dry cleaner if possible

If possible, take the gown to a professional dry cleaner as soon as possible.

They have the expertise and equipment to safely and effectively remove stains from delicate fabrics without damaging the gown.

Method 2: Spot clean at home

If you are unable to take the gown to a dry cleaner right away, you can try spot-cleaning the stain at home.

Step 1: Create a spot-cleaning solution

Take a bowl and start by mixing a small amount of water with a mild detergent to create a cleaning solution.

Alternatively, you can get a commercial stain remover solution from your local supermarket.

Step 2: Dab the stain

Dip a soft cloth into the cleaning solution and gently dab it on the stain.

While doing so, avoid rubbing or scrubbing the stain, as this can cause the fabric to become weak.

Step 3: Repeat the spot-cleaning process if required

Repeat the spot-cleaning process as needed until the stain has been removed or significantly lightened.

Just make sure that you don’t overwork the stains, as this could cause damage to the fabric.

Step 4: Rinse off the cleaning solution

Allow the gown to air dry away from direct heat or sunlight once the stains have been removed or lightened.

Step 5: Take it to dry cleaner for full wash (If required)

Once the gown is dry, you may need to take it to a professional dry cleaner as soon as possible to have it professionally cleaned and preserved (if needed).

What is the ideal way to dry a wedding gown?

Unfortunately, there aren’t many options when it comes to drying a wedding gown.

The best way is to just lay it flat or hang the dress up in a cool area away from direct sunlight and allow it to air dry naturally.

Here’s how you can dry your wedding gown safely.

  • Start by gently squeezing or blotting the gown with a towel to remove as much moisture as possible. While doing so, avoid wringing or twisting the fabric, as this can damage the material.
  • Next, lay it flat on a dry towel in an area away from direct heat or sunlight. Just make sure to spread the dress out evenly and avoid folding or bunching up the fabric.
  • If possible, use a fan or hair dryer on the cool setting to gently circulate air around the gown, so that it can dry faster.
  • Lastly, even though hanging the gown is considered safe, if possible avoid hanging them, as this can cause it to stretch or become misshapen in some cases (especially if the gown is heavy).

Final Thoughts

When it comes to washing wedding gowns, there aren’t many options available.

If the care label makes it clear that the gown can be washed, the safest way to clean it is by hand.

If the care label states “dry clean only,” then it is best to take the gown to a professional dry cleaner to have it professionally cleaned and preserved.

Finally, when it comes to drying the gown, it is best to lay it flat to dry naturally.

You can even hang them to air dry, but we don’t recommend that as that could stretch the fabric, especially if the weight of the fabric is heavy.

Lastly, if you are still machine-washing wedding gowns, use a laundry bag to protect the dress.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you wash a dry-clean-only gown at home?

If the label says “dry clean only,” do not attempt to wash the gown at home. Dry cleaning is always the best way to clean a formal dress, though it can be expensive.

How often should you wash wedding gowns?

You should wash your wedding gowns as and when necessary. How often you should wash a wedding dress depends on the type of fabric and how dirty it is.

Can I dry-clean my own wedding dress?

It’s best to get your wedding dress dry-cleaned by a professional dry cleaner, unless you are a professional dry cleaner yourself. Since wedding dresses are expensive and may contain a lot of custom work, professional dry cleaning is recommended.

Manish Singh is an expert in electrical engineering with a Diploma in the field. With over 12 years of experience, he specializes in repairing music systems, washing machines, dryers, and other laundry-related appliances. His in-depth knowledge in electrical repairs and decent knowledge about garment care makes him a trusted authority in the field of appliance repair and laundry related topics. If you have any questions or need assistance with your appliances, you can reach out to Manish through email: manish.singh (at)