How to CLEAN & CARE for a Dance Dress!

I get so many questions about how to keep the dance dresses clean!

A dance dress is an investment; particularly if you’ve commissioned a one-of-kind costume. To get the most out of your dress you’ll want to make sure you care for it properly.

I understand for most dancers the cleaning process is quite stressful. The thought of something going wrong and potentially ruining their costume is enough to make them want to ignore the cleaning all together! But it can potentially be MORE damaging to NOT washing the dress. So keep reading, and I’ll help walk you through the process.


Perspiration and chemical residues - like hair spray or tanning products - promote wear and break down of specialty fabrics. These chemicals will cause shiny finishes to dull over time and the stretchy fibers that make up lycra or mesh fabrics can break down and lose their elasticity. The best thing you can do is to clean your garment to promote longevity, and keep it sparkling fresh for many dance events ahead.  

I’m happy to share that most costumes can be easily hand washed as often as needed. Although it’s always best to check with the designer who made the costume, because only they know what materials and crystals they have used and their cleaning instructions.

Before we get to the HOW to wash your dance dress, I want to mention one important tip.... 


The chemicals used in the dry cleaning process can actually damage specialty fabrics and adhesive applied finishes. Fabrics with shiny or foil finish and other embellishments can dull. The feathers or fringes can shrink and get damaged. And what’s worse, many of these issues are impossible to repair.



  1. Bucket, sink or bath tub with lukewarm or cold water.
  2. Mild detergent.
  3. Mild fabric softener if desired.
  4. Sponge or delicate brush for spot/deep cleaning
  5. Towel
  6. Drying rack



  1. Add a small amount of mild detergent to the prepared water.
  2. Mix together.
  3. Hand-wash your dance costume.
  4. Spot clean your costume if needed.
  5. Rinse your dance costume really well. (add fabric softener if desired)
  6. Wring the costume by hand.
  7. Pat dry with a towel.
  8. Spread it on the drying rack



  1. If you need to spot clean troublesome areas with a spot cleaner. It’s best to use a product that is gentle and won’t damage your specialty fabrics. I usually just use soap or mild dish soap. Make sure you don’t rub the area too hard, as the fabrics fibers can get damaged.
  2. Some fabrics can bleed color. Use only cold water if you think this might be the case for your dress and be careful not to stain your towel.
  3. Don’t ever wash your costume in washing machine or dry in a dryer!
  4. Feathers of all kinds can’t be washed!
  5. Most fringes will start to unravel after washing. It’s recommended to avoid washing them also.
  6. Some fabric glues might turn white when submerged into water, but they will dry clear.
  7. Don’t hang wet dress on the hanger, they might change shape.
  8. To prevent fading, don’t dry dress on the sun!



The best way to get any wrinkles out of your costume is to use a steamer! The iron can damage some fabrics, steaming is the best option.

Store dresses in a breathable garment bag. Avoid plastic or nylon bags. ALWAYS make sure your garments are dry before storing. Damp items will mold or mildew.

Depending on the design, I recommend bending the dress halfway over the hanger to avoid stretching the dress, or lay them flat. The weight of the crystals can stretch very delicate fabrics if the dress hangs in the same position over long period of time.

Some crystals/ embellishments might fall off the costume with time and that’s normal. I recommend purchasing Gam Tac by Beacon or glue E6000 (clear) to have in case you need to glue crystals back.


If you aren't feeling confident to wash your costume, don't hesitate to contact me. I'll be happy to help!