5 rules for properly storing clothes to keep them pristine

Mothballs alone aren't enough to protect your favourite garments. Here are five rules you can follow to properly store your clothes and help keep them pristine.

5 rules for properly storing clothes to keep them pristine

Clothing in storage: what to avoid

Occasionally, following a separation, move or death in the family, clothes must be set aside in storage. Certain things should be avoided:

  • Storing clothes in plastic containers because it encourages mould.
  • Overstuffing boxes, drawers or closets. Air needs to circulate between your clothes.
  • Laying a rug on the floor of the storage unit. They attract dust and will absorb moisture from the floor, which will increase the risk of an infestation of moths or carpet beetles.

1. Wash your clothes

  • Wash all your clothes before storing them — even if it’s just for a single season.

Insects are attracted to the leftover odour of stains. One option is to have your clothes dry-cleaned before storage. You should also thoroughly clean the warehouse unit before packing clothes away.

2. Control temperature

The storage unit must be ventilated, and have temperature control.

  • Clothes fare better in cooler temperatures.
  • If the temperature fluctuates, condensation and moisture may invite mold. Install a dehumidifier if this is a concern.

3. Use essential oils

Use essential cedar, lavender or rosemary oils (or all three), to repel insects and pests.

  • You can use essential oil sachets and hangers, or even a block of cedar wood as an effective deterrent.
  • Pay special attention to animal fibres which may fall prey to mites.

4. Avoid sunlight

Make sure there is no direct light in the unit when you lock the door.

  • Ultraviolet light can deteriorate clothing.

5. Check in on your clothes

Check on your clothes at least every 60 days.

  • Verify the level of ventilation in the unit. To do that, inspect several random items and refill insect-repelling oils, as necessary.

Your clothing storage checklist

  • Fabric covers: A musty scent is very difficult to remove. Odour is due to moisture, often caused by plastic covers. For this reason you should always use fabric covers.
  • Plastic bins and acid-free tissue paper: Synthetic fabrics may be stored in plastic bins. For natural fabrics, you should double-line the walls of the container with acid-free tissue paper.
  • Paper: Scrunch up extra balls of paper and insert them between clothing items so that air can circulate.
  • Pillowcases: Stow shoes in pillowcases to protect them from dust. Fill shoes with crumpled paper to help retain their shape.
  • Roll, fold, hang: Linen should be rolled, silk and wool should be folded, and coats should be hung. Fur coats can be entrusted to a dry cleaner or professional fur storage facility instead of being placed in a warehouse with the rest of your garments.
  • Mothballs: You can still use mothballs, but make sure they don't come in contact with the clothes. Place mothballs in socks.
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