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How do I Properly Care for a Sequin Dress?

By Melanie Smeltzer
Updated May 21, 2024
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Embellished clothing can be difficult to care for, especially when it comes to sequins. Although a sequin dress may be attractive, the finish of these spangles can be very fragile. Sometimes people prefer to have these pieces professionally cleaned, but there are many ways that cleaning and care can be done at home. For instance, turning the garments inside-out and washing them on a delicate cycle can help keep the colors bright and the sequins intact. Letting them dry flat also can help prevent the garments from wrinkling without melting or breaking the sequins in a dryer.

Considering that sequined dresses are often reserved for formal occasions, they usually do not require frequent cleaning. Spot-cleaning is typically all that is required and can easily be done by placing the sequin dress on a dry towel and dabbing a stain with a washcloth soaked in lukewarm water. When the entire dress needs to be washed, it may be placed on a delicate cycle in the washing machine with a mild, alkali-free detergent. To help keep sequins in place as well as to keep the colors bright, the dress may also be turned inside-out and placed in a pillowcase prior to washing.

A sequin dress may also be washed by hand. This can be done by filling a bathtub with cold water and a mild detergent, slowly submerging the dress into the water, carefully scrubbing between the sequins with a soft-bristle toothbrush, then rinsing thoroughly. To dry the sequin dress by hand, place it between two dry towels and carefully press. It is usually not a good idea to wring it out, as this can cause the sequins to tear away from the garment.

Many feel that a sequin dress should be stored in a flat position instead of folded or hung up. Folding may cause the dress to become wrinkled and may make it more likely the sequins will be stressed and crack or break; hanging the garment for an extended period may cause it to stretch, which can cause the sequins to become loose or even fall off entirely. In many cases, leaving the dress flat is not possible, so it may be gently folded with no other garments placed on top if it, then temporarily hung to help work out any wrinkles. Should a few sequins become loose, they can easily be repaired with a thin, matching thread and fine needle.

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Discussion Comments
By lighth0se33 — On Sep 08, 2011

I am very careful with my blue sequin dress. My husband calls it my mermaid dress, because the color and texture remind him of fish scales.

I never put it in the washer, because I’m afraid that all the sloshing around would destroy it. The sequins are large, and they could easily be chipped.

I put it in warm water in the tub. I turn it inside-out first. I pour in a gentle detergent and let it soak. Then, I rinse it off and hang it up to dry. Once it is dry, I lay it flat across a shelf.

By StarJo — On Sep 07, 2011

I have a mesh laundry bag that I use for delicate garments. I place my sequin dress inside of it and zip it up before putting it in the washer on the gentle cycle. I originally bought this bag to protect delicate undergarments in the washer, but it works great for anything that needs sheltering.

I tend to sweat in social situations, so I need to wash this dress after every time I wear it. The laundry bag protects it from my other clothes in the same load, so zippers don’t get hung on the sequins and rip them off. Also, thicker clothes can’t bang up against the dress and damage the sequins.

By jonrss — On Sep 06, 2011

Before you take it to the dry cleaners make sure it is someone you have been to before or have good reason to trust. Dry cleaners are notorious for handling sequined dresses roughly and ruining something. This has happened to me twice.

One time a huge section of sequins had been ripped off and another time they changed the color of the sequins. It looked horrible with the goofy new color. Completely ruined, both of them.

So make sure it is a dry cleaner that knows how to treat a delicate dress right. You will save yourself a lot of money and grief in the long run.

By backdraft — On Sep 06, 2011

Oh God, whatever you do don't get sloppy in a sequined dress. I lived with a girl in college who would get dressed up every single weekend and go out to parties or clubs.

She almost always wore sequined dresses, it was kind of her look. Well, inevitably she would stay out until 3 or 4 in the morning and then come back to our room and whip her dress against the wall. Half the time she proceeded to dance on it after that.

Our room always had sequins on the floor that had fallen off the dress. Even if you vacuumed they would still be around. It was like glitter, the stuff just wouldn't go away. So if you wear a lot of sequined dresses at the very least hang them up or you will be picking sequins out from between your toes for weeks.

By LisaLou — On Sep 05, 2011

I have always loved the look of sequin and love wearing it for the right occasion. I bought a silver sequin dress to wear to a Christmas party and loved wearing it.

After the party I thought I would try and clean it myself at home. I followed the instructions on the tag by turning the dress inside out. I hand washed it in cold water and hung it up to dry.

I was still disappointed in the way it turned out. Some of the sequins fell off and the dress still needed to be ironed after it was dry.

Nothing that couldn't be repaired, but next time I will have a cleaners do it for me and not try to save some money by doing it myself.

By honeybees — On Sep 05, 2011

I have a black sequin dress that I wear for special occasions. Since I don't wear this dress very often, it doesn't need to be cleaned on a regular basis.

Whenever it needs to be cleaned, I always send it to the dry cleaners and let them take care of it.

I don't trust myself to doing any washing or cleaning by hand.

When I get it back from the cleaners, I leave it hanging up in the closest until the next time I am ready to wear it. It is nice to have a pretty little black dress to have on hand for just the right occasion.

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