Clean garments prior to storage
Dark, Dry, Cool and Clean are the four words to remember for clothing storage. Store in a dark place to prevent fading and make sure the storage area is dry to prevent mold, mildew and insects. Protect garments from heat, which can break down some fibers and make sure all articles are clean. Even if there is no visible soiling or an item was lightly worn, storing clothes that haven’t been cleaned can cause stains or damage:
- Invisible or small stains you can’t see become visible over time. Any beverage or food containing sugar can oxidize and cause a permanent yellow stain.
- The same foods and beverages that cause stains, along with perspiration, perfume and body oils, are a food source for moths and insects that create holes.
Store items on hangars using hanging loops if the garment has them, except for sweaters and knits that stretch and ‘grow’ over time. Fold and stack them loosely in a container, with the lightest on top and the heaviest on bottom, to allow air circulation.
Tip #5 – Prevent moth holes
Moths are attracted to protein fibers found in natural fabrics like wool, silk and cotton – and they do the greatest damage to garments made of these fibers that are left undisturbed for long periods of time; especially if they have not been cleaned prior to storage. Moths feed not only on natural fibers, but on particles and invisible stains left by food, beverages, perfumes, perspiration and body oils.
How to keep moths away:
- Use cedar in storage area. It’s nontoxic and the cedar oil vapor kills young larvae. However, it has no effect on mature moths, and the cedar wood must be replaced every few years as the oil loses its potency.
- Mothballs are effective at killing moths, yet they are toxic to humans and pets and they are effective only in airtight storage space.
The most effective way to prevent moth damage: Clean all garments prior to storage, especially those that are made of natural fibers like wool, silk and cotton.