Clearly, one of the oldest problems with wedding gowns is fabric yellowing. Wedding gowns are generally white and in shades of pastel, and thus are more susceptible to yellowing. But why so? Well, it mainly happens because of an unanticipated chemical degradation of the fibers. What that means is, at times the colorless chemicals within the fibers of the garments start decaying and change color – thus leading to the garment turning moderately yellow. In fact, you’d find old gowns looking brownish, or in extreme cases, they even turn dark brown. This is what makes professional wedding gown preservation so important.
The possibility of the gown turning yellow isn’t an old wives’ tale. It actually does happen! Almost every gown has a lifespan. The yellowing occurs when the fibers of the fabric undergo chemical degradation. Factors such as heat, humidity, and sunlight accelerate the fiber degradation process. In fact, even if you put the wedding gown in a plastic bag, it would still experience phenolic yellowing – caused by the reaction between the chemicals of the fabric and that of plastic.
Cases of gown yellowing are on the rise. Why?
These days, brides often complain about their wedding gowns turning yellow. The reason for this is because an increasing number of gowns are currently made up of synthetic fibre blends than ever before.
Believe it or not, you can not protect your wedding gown from turning yellow on your own. Only professional wedding gown preservation services are adept at handling delicate wedding gowns and have the requisite tools and technology to prevent gown yellowing. If you already have a yellow gown, the services have state-of-the-art techniques and products to restore the same to its previous color without hurting the delicate fabric or the embellishments.
Factors leading to gown yellowing
Now that we’re already aware that gown yellowing happens due to fiber degradation, let us dive a little deeper and learn about the possible culprits that contribute to it.
- Environmental factors: We’ve briefly mentioned this once before, but in truth, the fibers of your wedding gown are quite delicate and can succumb to accelerated decaying due to a number of environmental factors. These include direct sunlight, excess humidity, and heat. These hurt the fibers in the long run and turn out to be one of the prime reasons for gown yellowing.
- Chemical additives: While this isn’t something that you can do much about, chemicals added during the gown manufacturing process – such as textile softeners (animal fats, chlorine, oils, and waxes) begin to decompose over time due to incorrect chemical formulation and prolonged storage. That is not all! Such chemicals also attract particulates from the air like dust and dirt to further complicate matters.
- Pollutants in the air: Atmospheric pollutants are also one of the most potent agents contributing to gown yellowing. The oxides from home heating systems, automobile pollution, and other industrial setups, all contribute to it. Professional wedding gown preservation services have proper air circulation and purification systems in place that keep the atmospheric pollutants at bay during the gown preservation process.
- Transferred contaminants: As the name implies, transferred contaminants are the ones that get transferred to the gown after you purchase the dress. For years we’ve known that polyethylene (plastic) bags lead to phenolic yellowing. But apart from this, acidic papers, cardboard, and other wrapping materials also lead to fabric yellowing. This is why special wedding gown preservation kits use acid-free tissue paper and acid-free archival boxes to eliminate the risk of transferred contaminants.
Hopefully, we’ve been able to help you find out what actually leads to gown yellowing, so that you can take the necessary steps to reduce the chances of the same. That said, preventing gown yellowing on your own is a challenge – a job best left to the professionals. So, when it comes to dress preservation, we strongly advise against following DIY methods.