A Guide to Washing Your Evening Gowns

wearing a gown

Every woman attends a formal party, from proms to weddings to corporate gala dinners. And if you’re in the fashion industry or Hollywood, then you surely attend more formal parties than the average woman. And for that, your wardrobe is teeming with evening gowns made of various rich fabrics.

Since you’ve most probably only worn each of your evening gowns once, you have no idea how to wash them because a professional has always done it for you. Besides, chances are the care instructions specifically stated “Dry-clean only,” so you entrusted them right away to professional dry cleaners around Indianapolis or other areas. Of course, there is no doubt that evening gowns are safer in the hands of pros when they need to be cleaned. Expensive fabrics tend to be sensitive, and just because you won’t likely wear them again means it’d be okay to ruin them!

But if you want to try washing your evening gowns by yourself, here’s how to do that for every fabric:

1. Velvet

You must first find out what type of velvet gown you have. If it’s silk velvet, it’s best handed over to the pros, because aside from the fact that it’s a luxurious fabric, certain silks should only be dry cleaned. If you own a steamer, though, you may run it along your velvet gown, as long as you know how to do it right.

The type of velvet you can hand-wash is velveteen, which is derived from cotton. It can also be a polyester or rayon blend. If the care instructions say that it’s safe to machine-wash your velveteen, then you may do so. Set your washing machine to the gentle cycle, and use cold water. Don’t put it in the dryer afterwards!

If your velvet is stained, use a baking soda and lemon juice solution to clean it. Ready-to-use detergents are also safe but test it first on a small, unnoticeable patch of fabric to be sure. Be very gentle and use only a small amount of baking soda and lemon juice or detergent to remove the stain.

2. Georgette

Like velvet, some georgette types may require only dry cleaning, so check out the care instructions first. If it’s safe to hand-wash, then you only need a mild detergent.Don’t wring or stretch the fabric when you’re squeezing the water out, as it may distort the fabric’s shape. Don’t dry it under the sun as well, because it may fade. And most importantly, don’t toss them into the dryer! Simply lay your georgette evening gown on a flat surface, like a drying rack, and let it air dry.

3. Chiffon


Chiffon is really thin so it’s highly sensitive, but it’s typically safe to hand- and machine-wash. If you’re washing your chiffon gown by hand, do it with lukewarm water and a mild liquid detergent. Don’t wring it as well; dry it, in the same way, it’s done for georgette.

If you’re using a washing machine, put your chiffon gown in a mesh laundry bag to keep the fabric from potentially being damaged in the machine. Set it the gentle or delicate cycle, and use cold water.

4. Crepe

Find out what type of crepe fabric your gown is made of first, because silk crepe can only be dry-cleaned, like silk velvet. Wool and polyester crepe may be hand-washed and dry-cleaned.

Use lukewarm water and a mild detergent if you’re hand-washing. Gently rub the fabric to remove the dirt, and this time, you may wring it to squeeze the water out. Let it air dry afterwards.

It turns out it’s pretty easy to wash these common evening gown fabrics, so try to do it if you have the time. Since we’re all just staying home these days, washing your evening gowns may cure your boredom.

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