Clothing doesn’t last forever, sad to say. When it’s not being worn on a regular basis, it can develop yellow age spots, get attacked by moths, and deteriorate from dust.
We protect most of our clothing items from such problems by wearing and washing them often. But nearly everyone owns at least a few pieces that we don infrequently, yet we certainly don’t want them to become unwearable due to the mere passage of time.
For example, your children’s baby blankets and outfits might make great keepsakes, but after your kids grow out of them, you don’t want them to deteriorate into rags. The same goes for your wedding dresses, tuxedos, and other formal wear.
Proper preservation of valued but seldom-worn clothing will significantly extend the life of each article. Given the right storage techniques and attention to the important details, you can preserve your clothing potentially for decades.
Properly Wash Each Item
Each item must be utterly clean before you put it into storage. Follow the cleaning label recommendations, even if that means sending out the piece for dry cleaning with plenty of starch.
Treat stains and consult a professional on any that prove difficult to remove. Make sure each item is completely dry before taking the next step, because moisture will create mold and mildew that could ruin your clothes.
While you’re at it, inspect the item carefully for pins and other foreign articles that could poke holes in storage bags and thwart airtight storage.
Use Moth-Resistant Storage Bags
Moths might seem harmless to humans, but they can be deadly to your clothes. They lay eggs in clothing, blankets, and shoes.
When the eggs hatch, the larvae can eat their way through the fabric, and leave holes. Your everyday wear is usually safe from moths simply because you wear the items frequently.
But anything you place in storage becomes a perfect breeding ground for these furry, flying insects unless you take steps to prevent it. Look into storage bags designed to protect the fabric from moths and other insects. Moth Prevention is a trusted brand worth trying. Such bags come in various sizes so you can safeguard pieces of clothing in a variety of shapes and sizes.
Box Up Your Wedding Dress Professionally
You’ll want to do this for any white or lightly colored item that’s made of expensive material you don’t want to develop yellow age spots because it’s been sitting in a closet. Most professional cleaners or bridal shops will provide this service for a fee.
They’ll properly clean, fold, and vacuum-seal your outfit in a box so it’s safe from insects such as moths, mildew, acids, and other chemicals that travel about through the air.
Use Tissue Paper to Cushion the Folds
Wrinkles can often be ironed out, but if delicate fabrics have been stored for 10 years or more, they may have developed stiff folds, and you might never be able to expunge the lines completely.
To reduce the potential for this, tissue should be inserted between each fold. You can add several layers, if you think that might be necessary. Doing this will make the creases less severe, and discourage them from wrinkling beyond salvation.
Protect from Sun Damage
When we spend too much time in the sun, our skin grows darker. But when our clothes absorb too much sunlight, they show the opposite effect.
Clothing stored in a sunny place will suffer from sun bleaching and other undesired effects. There are a couple of ways to protect your clothing against this outcome.
First, look into sprays that are designed for drapes and furniture, and behave as a sort of sunscreen when they’re applied to the fabric. Next, wrap the material in dark or reflective bags to keep sunlight from penetrating. As a final preventive, store the articles out of direct sun as best you can.
Store in a Cool, Dry Place
As mentioned earlier, moisture is not a friend when it comes to clothing storage. It will lead to mildew, which will deteriorate your clothing more rapidly.
Put the items in water-proof plastic for a start, but it’s more crucial to store treasured articles of clothing where water can’t get to them. Above all, avoid leaky basements and any other spaces where flooding might occur.
In addition, avoid storing your things where they might encounter too much heat. Even if you’ve applied sun protection, warmer-than-normal temperatures will cause colors to fade.
They can also weaken plastic or even melt it so that it sticks to your clothing. A closet off a temperature-controlled room is ideal.
Check At Least Once a Year
Just because you’ve taken all the correct steps to protect your valuables, that doesn’t mean they’ll survive in pristine condition forever. In case something might go wrong, inspect your stored clothing at least once a year.
If you notice problems like staining, mildew, or hardening creases, you still have an opportunity to rectify the situation before the damage becomes irreparable.