It’s that time of year again — Fall. It is a time of change in both the seasons as well as a change of habits. With each new season we find ourselves with the desire to do things just a little bit better. We set goals, like, “I am going to do laundry three times per week,” or, “this fall I will be sure to put my summer cloths away cleaner so they last longer.”
Every penny counts these days, so making your favorite cloths last longer is a priceless commodity. Caring for those favorite clothes professionally can keep them looking their best for years. Dry cleaning not only cleans your clothes, it restores them so they look new and fresh, even after being in a closet over the winter months.
Follow these seven steps via About Home for winter garment storage tips.
Clean all outfits thoroughly before packing.
Now is the best time to remove stains. Any stains left on clothing will only darken and become worse during storage. Cleaning the clothes also means that insects will be less likely to take up residence in your sweaters. Most clothing just needs to be washed normally or dry cleaned according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Taking a little time to thoroughly wash laundry before you pack it will keep your clothes safe during storage.
Use the right storage.
Plastic storage containers can be used for storing clothes, although if any bug larvae are in the clothing, they will have a feast. Cardboard boxes can be used for temporary storage. Make sure you use new clean boxes to avoid staining and insects. Even then be aware that cardboard boxes can attract bugs. One of the best storage containers is an unused suitcase that has been thoroughly cleaned.
Line containers with acid free tissue. It may be possible to pack the clothes in plastic storage containers although trapped moisture can be an issue depending on the storage conditions.
Be careful with the use of mothballs.
Many children and pets are naturally attracted to them with deadly results. Another option would be cedar blocks or cedar lined storage. Mothballs and cedar can be effective against insects, but keep in mind that neither is a complete guarantee. Just like with other cleaning products, storage chemicals should be used with care and according to directions.
Don’t hang everything.
Although it may be tempting, do not hang sweaters or other knit items that can become misshapen by long term hanging. Many a good sweater has been stretched beyond repair. Instead carefully fold the items and place into the storage container. Stack your folded items from the lightest items on top to the heaviest items on bottom. Stacking items loosely will allow air to keep circulating, even during a long storage.
If you hang items, use caution.
If you do choose to hang items, utilize all of the extra hanging loops to keep the clothing from becoming misshapen. Wrap the clothing in something breathable (i.e. fabric). Make sure the clothing has enough room to have air circulate. This will keep down the risk of mildew and mold. It will also keep the clothing from wrinkling and creasing during storage. I do not recommend storing clothes in plastic bags. The bags do not allow the clothes to breathe enough.
Remember Clean, Cool, Dark, and Dry.
Your storage area must be all 4 of these in order to protect your clothing. Clean any area thoroughly before storing. Choose a place that is not likely to be exposed to heat. Avoid areas near heating sources. A dark place will prevent fading and keep the area and clothing cool. Make sure the storage area is dry because wetness will attract mildew and insects.
Check on your storage.
Don’t abandon your stored clothing into oblivion. Regularly check on items to make sure that there are no issues. When you are ready to pull clothing out of storage, clean all items before wearing them. Inspect your storage containers to make sure that they are free from cracks, stains, or damage as well. Before you store items again, some storage containers may need to be replaced. Be sure to buy storage containers that will work well with your storage.