Coming clean

After all that planning and fretting, your wedding went off without a hitch and you were a beautiful bride in your elegant, lacy gown. Now what? No, we’re not talking about the honeymoon. Now what do you do with your gown?

Many women save theirs as a keepsake or to hand down to their daughters, and if that’s what you’re planning make sure you do it right.

The Whirlpool Institute of Fabric Science offers this advice for brides to ensure that their gowns will remain as beautiful as they were on the big day:

• Have your gown cleaned within a few weeks of the ceremony. The longer stains and soil are left on the gown, the more likely it is that they’ll be permanent.

• Talk to a professional, a preservation specialist who is trained in textile conservation or a dry cleaner trained in cleaning and preparing gowns for storage. They can identify stains, even ones you can’t see.

• Don’t keep your gown in a plastic bag, which will break down over time and release chemicals and fumes that can discolor and ruin fabrics.

• If you’re storing your gown in a box, wrap it first in acid-free white tissue. Stuff the bodice or other curved areas with tissue to prevent creasing.