After months of careful planning, most brides feel prepared to handle every possible scenario once the wedding day comes around. That is, until a clumsy moment results in an unfortunate and unsightly stain on her wedding dress. If this happens to you, don't stress! A stained wedding dress doesn't have to ruin your day. Here's how to remove the most common wedding day stains, from splotches of red lipstick to smears of oily salad dressing, in a pinch. You'll be back on the dance floor before your guests even realize you were gone.
After noticing a stain on your wedding dress, it's essential that you move quickly. Resist the urge to frantically scrub the stain, since the harsh movements may tear the delicate fabric or cause the damage to spread, and grab a white cloth instead, gently blotting the spot to remove excess liquid. Once the stain feels dry, spot-treat it with wipes or a stain removal pen—both of which should be kept in your "wedding emergency kit" for the big day. Always test the stain remover in an inconspicuous spot (such as an underside of the fabric) to prevent discoloring your expensive gown.
Try to camouflage.
If the stain remover successfully eradicates the spot, dry the wet patch with a hair dryer and blot with towels. If the stain remains, you can try the tactics listed below for your particular situation. Remember to always read the label on your gown before attempting any spot cleaning tactic; some fabrics (such as silk and satin) don't react well with water. Any remaining residue can be camouflaged by dabbing baking soda, talcum powder, or white chalk into the fabric.
Reach for white vinegar.
Stain removers often prove ineffective for certain stains—especially those caused by red wine. If this is the case, try working with a DIY concoction of white vinegar and water (in equal parts) or a dash of dishwashing liquid in either club soda or hydrogen peroxide. Dip a white towel into the mixture and gently blot the stain, always working from the outside to the inside. Remember to put a towel underneath the stained layer when blotting, so the wine residue doesn't spread to other areas of the dress.
Reach for a powder.
Whether you spill salad dressing or foundation on your gown, oil will leave an ugly spot. First, you'll want to absorb the oil with baking powder or baby powder. Then, after letting the powder sit for several minutes, gently scrape or shake off the excess. Any lingering oil can be blotted with a mixture of equal parts dish soap and white vinegar, described above.
Grab your makeup remover.
No method may fully remove brightly pigmented eyeshadow, blush, or lipstick. Try blotting the stain as thoroughly as possible with a damp cloth, then coat any lingering spots with baking powder or chalk. Makeup remover may also work (especially on stubborn spots from mascara or eyeliner), but since the product may discolor your wedding dress, always proceed with caution.
Think outside the box.
For a blood stain, which can be caused by anything from a pin prick during your gown fitting or a particularly gruesome blister, try blotting it with a cotton swab dipped in tepid water or your own saliva (seriously!). If that doesn't work, blot with hydrogen peroxide diluted heavily in water (at least five parts water to one part peroxide).
Ask for hairspray.
Hairspray isn't just useful for keeping your curls or updo in place. Imagine this: In the excitement of having your nails freshly painted, you discover a stray splatter of polish on your wedding dress. Grab a bottle of hairspray, and spray a bit on a hidden part of your dress to test the effects. If no discoloration occurs, apply a small amount of hairspray to the gown, let it sit for several minutes, and dab with a clean cloth. The same method also works for ink stains. Alternatively, you can try removing nail polish stains with nail polish remover; however, the acetone may discolor fabric.