Conservation DistList Archives [Date] [Subject] [Author] [SEARCH]

Subject: Dry cleaning wedding gowns

Dry cleaning wedding gowns

From: Latham Kiersten <kiersten.latham>
Date: Wednesday, July 19, 2000
I am doing research on the drycleaning of wedding gowns (new and
historical). This is a big trend with the general public now and I
am getting calls all the time asking for advice about the subject.

In doing research, I have run into some brick walls and I need
experienced conservators' opinions and information from anyone who
has done tests relating to this subject. Specifically, I am
interested in knowing whether any of the solvents used
(perchloroethylene, petroleum, and water-based) are ok for new
dresses. If not, why not? Are there any solvents that are ok to use?

Often, "wedding gown specialists" claim to have an anti-sugar stain
treatment. No one could tell me what these are as they are
proprietary. Does anyone know what they are, how they work, and
whether or not they are ok to use on textiles?

Has anyone ever heard of DuPont Clysar plastic? Is it inert? One
"wedding gown specialist" described encapsulating the gown in
Clysar, heating it to 300F in a heat shrink tunnel, then punching
holes and pulling the air and moisture out, replacing it with a
"clean, dry preserving gas." This doesn't sound good to me (but I am
not a conservator by training). Any thoughts?

Are there any broad rules about drycleaning I can pass on? (I
realize drycleaning is generally a big no-no, but it is difficult to
tell all the women getting married this summer that they cannot do
any drycleaning at all). If everyone is of the opinion that no gown
should ever go to any drycleaner, then what advice do I give to
people who have stains on their gowns prior to storage (and what
about hidden stains)?

Kiersten F. Latham
Curator or Collections & Research
Smoky Hill Museum
Salina, KS 67401

                  Conservation DistList Instance 14:6
                   Distributed: Friday, July 21, 2000
                        Message Id: cdl-14-6-020
Received on Wednesday, 19 July, 2000

[Search all CoOL documents]