With winter is slowly coming to an end, it is important to know how to store your winter garments so that you can keep them safe until next season. This Consumer Awareness Bulletin is being made available to media and retail garment establishments.
Common Sense Rules for Winter Clothing Storage
Now that winter is almost over, it’s time to store away all those winter clothes until next season. Follow these simple rules to keep your winter fashions looking good season after season.
- Wash and dryclean everything before storage. Some stains that are now invisible may darken with age. Dirt and food are also invitations to insects.
• Make all necessary repairs—sew sagging hemlines, replace missing buttons, and fix split seams— before cleaning and storing for the season.
• Store all items in a cool, well-ventilated area. Hot attics, damp basements, and garages are to be avoided.
• Store away from natural and artificial light. A cool, dark closet is a good location for storage. Store woolens in cedar chests or other airtight containers. Second choices for storage are cloth or canvas bags and cardboard boxes. If you store your garments in a closet, drape a cloth sheet over your clothes to protect them from dust and light. Do not store leathers, furs, and woolens in plastic. Plastic encourages moisture, which can create mildew.
• To decrease wrinkles in sweaters, fold them and wrap in white tissue paper before storing. If you hang your sweaters, fold over the cross bar to avoid shoulder stretches. Down, like all winter clothing, should be cleaned (either washed or drycleaned according to the care label) before storage. Down should be stored loosely to allow for air circulation.
• Furs should be stored on a well-padded hanger in a cool, dark place, ideally with a professional fur storage company or a drycleaner with fur storage capacity.
• If you do not have proper storage space, ask us about box storage. You can get your clothes cleaned and properly stored all at the same time.
Cleaning and Storing Garments to Prevent Insect Damage
Mysteriously appearing holes may be the result of insect damage. Often the holes may not be readily apparent until after cleaning. Garments that have been stored for a long time are particularly prone to insect damage. Moth damage is commonly seen on wool fabrics, but beetles, silverfish, roaches, and other insects feed on stains and sizings on fabrics made of other fibers. The type of fabric or food substance insects are attracted to determines whether the damage they cause is direct or indirect.
Direct damage occurs when insects such as webbing cloth moths, case making cloth moths, and sometimes termites, feed directly on the fabric. This group of insects attacks wool, mohair, natural bristles, fur, feathers, and down. They also damage blended fibers such as wool/polyester – dispelling the notion that the use of synthetic fibers immunizes the fabrics against insect damage.
Indirect damage occurs when insects such as silverfish, beetles, and roaches feed on leftover food, perspiration, beverage spills, and starch on the fabric. For this reason, any stains, especially food and beverage residue, should be removed from a garment before it is stored. Prevention of insect damage includes cleaning garments and using mothballs or cedar chests. Cleaning discourages insects from making their home in your garments. Although most forms of moth life are destroyed by drycleaning solvents during cleaning, moth larvae can attack fabrics once the solvent evaporates.
Using moth balls or cedar chests or chips can help prevent insect damage. The odor of mothballs may repel larvae and insects if the area of use is enclosed, thus ensuring a high concentration of odor. Suspend the mothballs above the garments; do not place them directly on the garments. The scent of cedar chests or chips repels insects, but it is the air tightness of the chest that protects the garments from insect damage.
One problem with using mothballs is the lingering odor after the garments are removed from storage. Try hanging the garments outside for several days after removal from storage. If hanging outside won’t remove the mothball odor, ask us to remove the odors. In some cases we may need to use an ozone generator. Ozone generators work by passing dry air through a high frequency electrical field. The resulting electrical discharge splits an oxygen molecule into two free atoms, allowing them to combine with an oxygen molecule that has not been split to form ozone. The contact between ozone and the odors embedded in the textiles causes oxidation to recur, eliminating the odors and releasing oxygen.
Your garments will love you for not leaving them to the moths.
Remember that your clothes best friend is your Member of the Ontario Fabricare Association who will treat your garments with loving care. For the nearest member in your community, visit our website at www.fabricare.org.
Ontario Fabricare Association
120 Promenade Circle #910
Thornhill, Ontario L4J 7W9