Your wedding dress smells, um, not great for two reasons: when you get it new from your bridal store and after it has been dry-cleaned. Let's delve into the 'why' of these reasons and what you can do about them.
Many wedding gowns are made overseas. They are subsequently treated for insects--any bugs accidentally placed in the gown packaging will perish due to the chemicals used on the gowns. This odor is described as "fishy" and otherwise very distinct. In other words, you will definitely know if you have smelled it.
All garments transported to the United States must undergo this treatment to avoid insect problems. Manufacturers are still very careful about ensuring clean wedding gown packaging, it is merely a precaution. The odor has usually disappeared by the time the dress reaches U.S. soil. If it still smells a little off, simply air the thing in a ventilated space. The odor will vanish.
Dry Cleaning Smell
Dry cleaning solvents have the power to pick up a wide variety of odors, especially if the solvent is old. The older the solvent, the more concentrated the odor. Since dry cleaners place fabrics and garments together for cleaning, it is not uncommon for dresses and other clothing to pick up each other's odors.
Filters placed on dry cleaning equipment to keep the solvents clean also contribute to dress odors. If filter cleaning is not a frequent practice, the solvent smell becomes more concentrated. Both filters and cleaning solvents are expensive, so dry cleaners use them until they just can't use them anymore. This can result in a noticeable solvent odor on your gown. Airing the gown out in your home with the windows open will remove the odor, as will using fabric spray. Follow manufacturer directions for best results.
Remember, the odor will disappear! It just takes a little time, that's all.