You found the perfect gown, and you wore it for the first time. Now you need to clean it. Most formal dress labels indicate that you should have your dress professionally dry cleaned, but dry cleaning is expensive. Luckily, as long as your dress isn’t rayon, acetate, leather, or suede, you can easily clean it at home using water and facial soap, saving yourself money in the process.

Things You'll Need


Pour 2 tablespoons of soap into a sink or bucket. Fill the sink or bucket with cold tap water. The running water should make the soap sudsy. If you find that suds aren’t forming, add another 2 tablespoons of soap and stir it with your hands until it becomes sudsy.

Plunge your gown in and out of the sudsy water seven to eight times, thoroughly wetting it.

Rub the underarms and collar of the dress with your fingers. If there is beading or lacework around the arm holes or collar, be extra gentle to avoid ripping the detailing. If there are any other problem areas, use your fingers to clean them as well.

Empty your sink or bucket and fill it with clean, cold water. Rinse the gown by plunging it in and out of the clean water seven or eight times. Continue dunking until it’s thoroughly rinsed and there’s no more soap visible.

Lay a terrycloth bath towel flat on the floor or a table. Lay the gown flat on the towel. Starting at the top of the gown, roll it up in the towel. As you roll, you’re pressing the water out. Once they’re completely rolled up, unroll the towel and the gown.

Lay a second towel on the floor or table. Move the gown to this towel. Roll the towel and the gown as you did in the previous step.

Continue to transfer the gown to clean, dry towels, rolling them together until water is no longer dripping from the gown.

Transfer your gown to a flat surface. Reshape it and allow it to dry.