When Nola Kay set up Bridal Valet she set out to provide a service that was much in demand: proper dry cleaning and care of bridal gowns and bridesmaid dresses. Nola’s husband, Geoff Doulman, sat down to explain what they do to ensure a wedding dress is cleaned properly.
“You just can’t put a wedding dress in with something else and let it go around like you would a dozen shirts in a washing machine at home.”
“You put one dress in at a time in and you do it so it doesn’t get damaged. If it doesn’t get damaged you’re taking proper care of it. If you’re taking care of it, the beads and things on it don’t get damaged because you can see through the glass door what’s happening.”
Cool the solvent
“You slow the barrel speed right down. In doing that, I also chill the solvent so that the beads don’t overheat. It’s got a built-in refrigeration system in it and you bring the temperature down so that nothing gets damaged. Because some fabrics need to be cleaned at a low temperature. If you clean them at a high temperature, you’ll do damage: all sorts of things can happen. Also, when you get into the drying phase, you turn the refrigeration off. You put it onto heat but you put it on a low heat. You’ve got to dry it longer to get all the residue out and when it comes out there should be absolutely no smell at all in the garment.”
“When you clean a wedding dress, you might clean it half a dozen times. Because you clean a section, put it in the machine and do it. Clean another section, put it in and do it.”
“Some dresses can become filthy. They have photos taken in parks, and grass on the bottom of the dress. Then maybe somebody’s stood on it with heels and there’s heel marks where the grass is on top of it. These stains are difficult to get out. It takes time. And you can’t treat it all at once because if you do, you stain that part that dries.”
“But if you treat the dress correctly, treat the solvent right and do everything else to make sure the dress isn’t damaged, there should be no damage at all.”
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