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View Full Version : How do I clean/wash my dresses?

05-16-2007, 10:19 AM
Sorry if this has been asked but I couldn't find anything elsewhere.

How do you clean/wash skating dresses? Most of mine are crushed velvet, flesh material, chiffon and many many diamantes and I just don't know what to do about having them cleaned.

I've sponge cleaned them in the past but I would be grateful for any top tips!

05-16-2007, 10:51 AM
I put all of mine through the wash. I turn them inside out first, and if it's the first wash be sure to wash them with like colors. You could also hand wash them.

05-16-2007, 11:00 AM
If the dress has colored sequins or beads, I would hand-wash them rather than dry-cleaning. I once had a green velvet dress with pink bead-and-crystal decorations. All the decorations lost their color after the dry-cleaning.

Sponging it is a good idea. How do you keep it from getting "water lines?"

I always wash the leotards and undecorated dresses in the washer -- gentle cycle with Woolite. I turn them inside out and put them inside a lingerie bag. I only wash a few things and make sure the water level is high. That way, they don't rub and get pilled.

05-16-2007, 11:23 AM
Our dress maker has told us never to use Woolite. She recommends Ivory soap for competition costumes. All our other dresses, we just put through the wash.

05-16-2007, 11:43 AM
Thank you all

However the thought of putting my dress in a washing machine or putting in a tub of water fills me with fear!

I've never got water marks from sponging them. Not sure why or how I'm afraid.

05-16-2007, 12:34 PM
I've always hand washed my dresses in cool water with Woolite and they have never gotten stained or lost any crystals (even the one with almost 1000 crystals!). A friend of mine once made the mistake of getting her dress dry cleaned. It was completely ruined.

05-16-2007, 01:47 PM
We've always put our dresses - velvet, chiffon, lycra, whatever, in the washing machine, cold water, not gentle, but the short cycle. Never had a problem. Even the hand stoned dresses. Sometimes a stone comes off, but they can come off anywhere, we often have stone replacing sessions before an event.


05-16-2007, 03:52 PM
I wash my practice dresses and all my GK Elite dresses in the machine on gentle. GK dresses with stones get washed by themselves in a large amount of water with liquid Ivory Snow. Practice dresses get washed seperatly the first time then they go in with my regular clothes (on gentle). Competition dresses get handwashed with Ivory Snow and hung/laid flat to dry depending on the dress. This seems to keep the stones on them. I do tend to scrub the arm pits and then just soak the rest of the dress. Most of my competition dresses have mesh on them and hot fix crystals.

05-16-2007, 04:03 PM
I use Ivory soap bars, but I think you're talking about the powder you buy from the laundry aisle, right?

The skating show dresses have been given out and tried on at the rink. The floor of the ladies' room is so sparkly and bright! That glitter fabric really leaves a trail for the first few wearings! LOL

05-16-2007, 07:26 PM
I make custom competition dresses, and I have always hand washed them with a gentle hair shampoo, simply because after all the work I put into these things, I don't trust anything stronger than what I would put on my head. Then I hang them to dry. Don't dry clean, for sure! Don't put anything with glued-on rhinestones in a dryer. The heat can soften the glue and you will lose stones, and the flopping about in a dryer can damage or break them, even if the dress is turned inside out. (Stones are glass, after all!) Be very careful if your dress has airbrushed or dyed areas on it. Some dyes and paints are not very colorfast, and you can end up with a big splotchy mess when its all over.

I have spot cleaned dresses and have avoided water spots by blotting with a dry towel, then quickly drying the area with a hairdryer, taking care not to use too high a heat.

Lycra and velvets are "elasticised" materials, and can be damaged by chemicals and heat. They can lose their elasticity and in the case of velvets, can easily have their nap crushed.

Just try to be as gentle as possible with all dresses, especially if you have invested a lot in them. The more it costs, the more you baby it. It will look great for many programs, if you take the time.

05-17-2007, 02:40 AM
I put mine in the washing machine but on a gentle handwash cycle. I've never had any problems doing that, but yeah, the first time you put a new dress in is a bit daunting.


05-17-2007, 03:04 AM
I would NEVER EVER dry clean anything as delicate as a skating costume. They call it "dry" cleaning because they use no water, only a solvent which the garment is immersed in, which is quite misleading I think (the name that is!) The solvent is likely to un-glue any rhinestones or diamontes as soon as it's submurged!

However, I've used gentle detergent and warm water and just filled up my laundry tub. Then I dunk the dress in and out. Don't RUB the dress. A gentle soak for a few minutes is usually okay, but make sure any sequins etc are colourfast first. Then I use a wire rack with a towel draped over to dry them on (laying flat rather than hanging them, which can sometimes stretch the fabric)

05-18-2007, 10:36 AM
My daughter managed to lean against the side of the rink in her new pale blue dress, and it had a huge watermark-type stain on it all over the stomach area. I asked around and was recommended not to wash it, but to use a tiny bit of washing up liquid and a cotton bud and do it bit by bit.

I decided life was too short (it would have taken hours if not days, and I decided I'd rather spend the time doing overtime to buy her a new one if it went disastrously wrong). Used "delicates" hand washing liquid and warm water and washed it by hand, lots and lots of sloshing it around rather than rubbing, then dried it on a hanger on the washing line outside. It came up perfect.

05-18-2007, 07:03 PM
I sew and bead all my own dresses and consider them quite delicate. I always wear some kind of liner under them which protects them and keeps me warm. I only have to rinse the armpit area in the sink with a little hand soap after competitions, and the liner goes in the washing machine. I have a collection of liner shirts that I have sewn, that have different necklines and sleeve lengths, so that they don't show. I even made some from thin stretch fleece for cold winter competitions. Under my practice dresses, I wear thin silk undershirts that you can buy in ski shops (and wash them in a mesh bag in the washing machine, then air dry). My practice dresses don't have to be washed very often, but when they do, I soak them in the sink in woolite.