Storing Winter Clothes
by Lorene Bartos, Extension Educator
Carpet Beetle Larvae
Hopefully winter is done and warm weather is going to be here to stay. Those tempting days in the 50's have people thinking of getting out the spring and summer clothes and storing the winter ones. Insect and moisture damage are the two main problems that occur with storing clothing. Taking proper steps to store clothing will help eliminate these problems. Storage areas should be clean, cool and dry.
It is important garments are clean and dry before storing. Invisible body oils and food stains can cause staining and attract insects. Some stains, deodorants and other substances, can cause fiber deterioration.
When preparing clothes for storage wash or dry-clean, but do not starch or iron. Ironing may heat-set pale or invisible stains and starch can attract insects. Make any necessary repairs such as sewing on buttons and mending small holes or tears.
Cleaning closets occasionally helps decrease the chances of insect damage. Clean fabrics/clothes should be stored in tightly sealed containers with paradichlorobenzene moth crystals. Dry cleaning destroys all stages of pests. Chests and closets made of cedar will repel fabric pests, but cedar loses it repellency over time. Cedar chests are not air tight. It is possible items can still be damaged in a cedar chest. Moth proofing is the best way to guard against insect damage. It is suggested to use one pound of crystals or balls for each 100 cubic feet. To hold the vapor, the container (garment bag, chest box or trunk) must be airtight.
Store items in a cool, well-ventilated place away from natural and artificial light. A cool, dark closet is a good choice; a hot attic, damp basement or garage is not. If possible, place woolens in an airtight container. Otherwise, use cloth or canvas bags or cardboard boxes. Line boxes or tubs with a clean cotton or muslin sheet or fabric. It is best not to store leathers, furs and woolens in plastic as it encourages moisture, which creates mildew. To discourage wrinkles in sweaters, dry clean or launder, fold and wrap them in white tissue paper before storing.
Take time to store your garments correctly to guard against unwanted stains and holes in your garments next fall.