National Gown Cleaners - FAQ
1. How long have you been in business?
National Gown Cleaners has been providing cleaning, preservation and restoration services to textile conservators since 1930. In 1978, the company started offering its services and archival products to the public.
2. What is the difference between you and a normal dry cleaner?
A normal dry cleaner cleans everyday clothing. We only clean bridal, christening, communion and social gowns. We employ textiles conservators. National Gown Cleaners uses solvents and wet-cleaning methods developed for cleaning fragile textiles and gowns with beads, sequins and glued-on ornamentation, which cannot be safely cleaned in perchloroethylene (a common solvent used by dry cleaners). The company uses state-of-the-art technology and equipment including custom made devices only used by National Gown Cleaners. The company laboratory uses conservation equipment found in the best museums in the world.
3. What type of services do you offer?
National Gown Cleaners offers cleaning, restoration, preservation, restyling, textile search and replacement, laboratory analysis, refolding and textile management, controlled and monitored storage, smoke and water restoration, and archival products for conservation and restoration.
4. Can a gown which has not been cleaned in years benefit from your service?
Yes! We offer a wet-cleaning and restoration process for gowns which require special care and handling.
5. What is your price for cleaning?
National Gown Cleaners prices vary from gown to gown and depend on the method of cleaning offered, what solution is being used, and what other services the gown might benefit from. Cleaning services start at $125 and up. We provide a free consultation and price quote for all gowns with no obligation.
6. What type of preservation do you offer?

We currently offer two types of preservation (storage) methods:

  • Museum quality storage
    ("archival box" and fold method)
  • Muslin hanging storage
    (muslin 400U hanging garment bag)

In museum quality storage, only materials meeting the specifications of textile conservators and major museums are used. Materials such as boxes, are solidly blue/gray or with a tan exterior and a white interior, and are completely free from acids, lignin and other metallic or sulfide impurities. The tissues we use are pure white, made from flax fiber, completely acid-free and heavily buffered. An un- buffered tissue of neutral pH is used for wool or silk textiles. This method of storage provides long-term stability and access for managing the textile, giving the customer complete quality control over the aging process. National Gown Cleaners does not use any plastics in storage, since plastics cause static electricity that pulls on the fibers and also decompose giving off harmful fumes. In addition research on textiles stored in or around a plastic environment concludes that plastics in combination with light cause rapid oxidation and fume fading to the textile. In hang storage, we provide a garment bag made out of 400U muslin fabric, which is unbleached, unsized print cloth. The bags are made to fit normal sized costume gowns and are free from metals, plastics snaps and zippers.

7. Can I see, feel and touch my gown inside the box?
National Gown Cleaners recommends that periodic inspections should be given to the gown. The gown should be removed from the box, inspected and refolded every 5 to 7 years. The customer, however, can handle the gown at any time since there is no seal on our archival boxes and cotton inspection gloves are included in the box to allow handling without transferring oil or dirt from the hands.
8. What is the price of the archival storage materials and can I purchase them separately?
National Gown Cleaners does not hold the customer hostage to its cleaning methods. If a customer has a gown already cleaned or chooses another cleaning source, National Gown Cleaners will still provide archival museum products for storage. The cost of a complete package consisting of an archival lig-free box, archival tissues buffered or non-buffered (quantity depends on size of gown and amounts of folds) and one pair of 100% cotton lab gloves is between $50.00 - $110.00.
9. Do you require a "Release" or "Disclaimer" be signed before services can be started?
National Gown Cleaners has never required a release or signed disclaimer on any textile it has ever processed in the company's history. In fact, the company feels strongly that any disclaimers signed only opens the door for possible neglect or damages.
10. Are you insured and do you guarantee your work?
National Gown Cleaners carries a special insurance policy to handle gowns of all material types and designs. We also carry a bailees policy to cover the textiles when we are working with outside conservators on special projects. All work is normally done at our own cleaning facilities. National Gown Cleaners always stands behind its work and products. We offer Garment Storage Recommendations with a description of warrantee and specifications on papers, boards and boxes.
11. Do you have references?
National Gown Cleaners has a wide variety of references and would be happy to provide a list when requested. See few of them in Client Testimonies.
12. Why should I use National Gown Cleaners service?
Because we are specialized and therefore able to take the time needed to perform the very best care for your gown. Since we have textile conservators on staff, you are receiving the best trained and educated people in the business. All our employees are dedicated to do the best job possible on every garment they handle. They also keep informed of the changes in the museum as well as the dry-cleaning industry.
13. How do I use National Gown Cleaners services?

Bringing in your gown for a consultation.

You can call our customer service number at (408) 371-3174 or email to info@nationalgown.com to arrange a personal, no cost, consultation in a local office. If you are not close to a local office, you can arrange to have your gown shipped to us. (Please see below.)

Shipping your gown in for a consultation.

1. If you are shipping a gown in for services, simply roll the gown up (somewhat like a sleeping bag) and place inside a clean or new plastic bag.

2. Place the gown inside a well-padded box (use a shipping box the same size or slightly larger than the gown size when rolled up) using bubble wrap, packing popcorn or wrapping papers around all sides of the gown.

3. Place a letter with your name, address, both day and evening phone numbers and your email address inside the box on top of your gown.

4. Take your gown to a local UPS service center or other postal provider (you should consider insuring your gown for the cost of the purchase price). Make sure that your return address is on the shipping label.

5. Once National Gown Cleaners receives your gown, we will call you to confirm our receipt of the gown. If you prefer, we can email the confirmation.

6. We will provide a phone consultation to discuss type of services we recommend and the cost. There will also be a written estimate mailed to you for confirmation as well.

7. If you agree to the services, a retainer will need to be provided within 10 days from the estimate date. All services require a 50% retainer or $75.00 whichever is greater. Products are required to be prepaid. Payment can made by Visa, MasterCard, Check, and U.S. dollars. Balance and shipping charges will be due at time of completion.

14. What form of payment do you accept?
We accept Visa, MasterCard, Personal Checks or currency in U.S. dollars.
15. Can I purchase a gift certificate?
Yes, we do offer gift certificates in the increments of $25.00. The certificate is good towards the total cost of services and products. They cannot be used towards the deposit of gown cleaning and preservation services. Any credit balance remaining must be applied towards other services or products.
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