Gown Care Labels
Wedding Gown Care Labels Are Required by the FTC
Information on the wedding gown care label required by the Federal Trade Commission is intended to help you choose the proper care for your wedding gown. There should be four points of information–or three if there is a separate label with the name of the designer.
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1. Identity of the business (unless there is a separate label with the name of the designer)
The identity can be the name of the designer/manufacturer, the manufacturer’s identification number which begins with RN in the U.S. and CA in Canada, or the name of the shop where you purchased the wedding gown. Then if you need more information about your wedding gown, you will know whom to contact.
2. The fiber content of your wedding gown
There is a difference between fiber and weave. The shiny look of satin or the crisp feel of taffeta comes from the way the fiber is woven; the fiber itself might be silk or polyester. That is, satin, taffeta, organza, charmeuse, and other such names describe the look of the weave, but it is the fiber content that is important. If your wedding gown is silk satin, for example, safe emergency treatment for stains on silk would be very different from emergency care for stains on polyester fiber.
3. The country where your wedding gown was made
There can be more than one country if your wedding gown was made partly abroad and partly in the U.S. The country of origin is helpful if you need to contact a designer or manufacturer outside the U.S.
4. At least one safe cleaning method
The label may specify either washing or drycleaning and should include any necessary warnings about the cleaning method, for example short cycle or low temperature.
Oddly, the method specified may not be the only way to clean your wedding gown or even the best way. Sometimes the label specifies “spot cleaning” or even “no cleaning,” and believe it or not, these are valid instructions. In truth most wedding gowns can be safely cleaned in several ways–even the ones labeled “spot clean only.” However, if your wedding gown is cleaned according to the instructions on the label, and your wedding gown is damaged, the manufacturer is liable for the damage. On the other hand, if the cleaner chooses to clean the wedding gown in a way not specified on the care label, any damage is the cleaner’s fault. If you are asked to authorize a cleaner to process the wedding gown in some way that is not specified on the care label, be sure you understand what the cleaner is going to do and whether there are any possible problems.
Five basic symbols stand for washing, bleaching, drying, ironing and dry cleaning. Much like the universally understood pictographs seen on roadways, a diagonal line through the symbol means do not use that process. And there are wedding gowns and specialty gowns that carry labels with lines through all five symbols–even though most can be successfully cleaned. Marks added to the basic symbol indicate still more special handling.