Wedding dress rescue

I’ll start with a brief recap of my wedding dress saga.  In an effort to be both green and frugal (i.e., not spend a ton of money on a dress that I would only be wearing once), I was determined to buy a used wedding dress.  After much hunting on Craigslist and Ebay, I finally bought a dress on Craiglist, paid for some alterations, and decided, about three weeks before the big day, that the dress was COMPLETELY wrong for me.

In a last minute attempt to correct the situation, I found another dress in an online-only department store collection, crossed my fingers, and placed the order.  Several days later, I held my breath as I opened the box, pulled out the dress, and slipped it on.  (Much more breath-holding ensued as I attempted to zip it.)

The girl who really didn’t even want ONE wedding dress ended up as a two-dress bride.  Ironic, no?

Although dress #2 (“the dress”) was, technically, a wedding dress, the fact that it didn’t scream “Wedding!” and could thus be worn on other occasions, justified the purchase.

Fast-forward almost two years, and I have yet to actually wear the dress for anything other than the wedding.  Matthew suggested we makes plans to get dressed up and go out to dinner.

I pulled the dress out of the closet, where it had hung, untouched (and unwashed) since immediately after the wedding, only to discover some serious stains.  There was my dress, my dress that was not going to be a one-time-only dressed, stained and unwearable.

I investigated dry-cleaning options, and a Treehugger article led me to this EPA list of dry cleaners across the country that offer alternatives to the really nasty traditional dry cleaning method that uses PERC.

Luckily I found a “greener” cleaner not too far away, but before I could get the dress there, I started investigating DIY options .  We were pretty sure the stains were either wine (maybe a rosé?) or beer — since the stains were almost two years old, I felt pretty pessimistic about anything, including dry cleaning, removing the stains — nothing to lose by taking a stab at it myself.

I started with a washcloth and some lukewarm water, gently washing the affected areas.  Lo and behold, it seemed to be working.  After treating all of the spots with the warm water, I tossed the dress in a large garment bag, grabbed a couple of other delicate items, and ran a small load on the permanent press setting.  I just happened to have some laundry detergent especially for delicate clothing.

Unfortunately, I forgot to take a “before” picture of the stains,  so you’ll have to use your imagination — lots of brown colored splotches in a two-foot wide swath on the bodice of the dress.

I’m happy to report that after my careful home cleaning and air drying, my dress returned to its original glory, no dry cleaners, green or not, necessary!

How green was my wedding bouquet?  Click here for the full story.

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