How to Store Clothes

Most of us in California don’t plan to store our clothes. We have one set of clothes for the entire year and wear things as the weather dictates, hence the problem.

You go into your closet to pull out a garment only to find holes in it or color fade that wasn’t there when you put it away. It is extremely important to properly store your garments if you think you are not going to use them for an extended period of time, this can be as short as a few weeks to a month or two.

Many things can happen to clothes in the closet or in storage.

Color can fade from light exposure. It doesn’t have to be from direct sun light, indirect light from a light bulb for an extended period of time can cause color fading.

Insect Damage is a common problem with storing clothes. Moths, Silverfish, Carpet Beetles, and Cockroaches are some of the insects that love to nest in dark damp still areas and feast on materials like wool, silk and cotton.

Mildew happens a lot when clothes are placed in damp or humid conditions. Mildew is a fungus that grows in moist conditions; initially most mildew is grey and fuzzy, as it matures the mildew with turn black.

Mysterious yellow stains are another common problem with stored clothing. Most of these stains are food stains that have aged over time. These stains are not visible at the time of wearing and storing but time causes them to age and yellow. Stains like oil, grease, sugar, juice, soda, beer, tea, coffee, champagne, etc are some of the foods that can cause this problem.

Underarm fading is also a problem. This is caused by the salts and mineral in perspiration that deteriorates the dye and causes the color to fade or yellow.

Heat in the closet can cause the dye to transfer or streak on some garments.

So what’s the solution or prevention?

If the garments are in regular use, clean the garments regularly, close the closet door to keep the light out, move or shuffle the garments weekly and use a dehumidifier if necessary.

If preparing the garments for storage always clean them before storing. The cleaning will remove the unseen food stains and perspiration which will reduce the risk of yellowing, dye fading and remove any residual food for the insects. Keep the garments in a cool, dark, dry area such as a dark sealed container with a dehumidifier. Sealing the container will keep out the insects and the dehumidifier will reduce the moisture in the air which will reduce the likeliness of mold and mildew.

Moth balls will work but they are toxic and the smell can be permanent. Cedar is also good for keeping away the insects but there must be a strong cedar cent otherwise it is useless.

Solution; To avoid most of the problems associated with stored clothes is to clean the garments before storing and keep them in a cool, dry, dark, sealed breathable container if possible.

Karl Huie

Pacific Heights Cleaners

Service with Pride since 1969, providing you a non toxic alternative, using a environmentally friendly green dry cleaning system.

The First Dry Cleaners to be Green Business Certified by San Francisco Environment and Bay Area Green Business Program Marin County.

Other Articles of Interest:

Classic Fashion Pieces For Your Wardrobe

Breast Cancer and the Relationship to Dry Cleaning Chemicals

How to Care for Your Dark Color Garments

How to remove blood stains

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