At Total Wardrobe Care HQ, we are starting to think about putting away our winter wears and bringing out our summer outfits. If for you, this means piling everything at the top or back of the wardrobe in a bit of a frenzy, let me enlighten you with some brilliant tips for storing clothes for the season or the longer term. It takes a bit of time initially but with the right kit and mind set it’s not a major inconvenience and makes things so much easier when it’s time to change over again. It’s also good to know that your clothes will be protected from moths and mildew.
Stored clothes must be clean
Giving your clothes a quick once over to check if they’re clean before you store them away for any length of time simply will not do. Clothes moths can detect the slightest whiff of skin, hair, sweat and microscopic food splats and will home in on them straight away. They have evolved to feed on the protein Keratin found in all of the above and they are very good at finding it! Even if you choose to hand wash delicates like silk and knitwear between uses, I would highly recommend having items dry cleaned at the end of the season before you store them away. This way, you know they will be meticulously clean and the dry cleaning fluid is off putting to moths as well.
But, its not just clothes moths that can damage your clothes. If left untreated, stains can ruin clothes too. You may not see them initially but over longer periods of time the stains will oxidize and become much more prominent. What was seemingly clean when you put it away, can give you a nasty shock when you get it out again after a few months and these stains are very difficult, if not impossible to get rid of.
What to store clothes in
Once your clothes are clean, what to store them in is the next conundrum, but don’t worry we have everything you need. Firstly, proper storage covers provide protection from dust. Dust consists of a lot of skin cells so keeping dust away from clothes is a simple way to stop them becoming attractive to moths. Dust also retains moisture and can encourage mould.
It’s important to store items inside something that is sealed so that moths cannot weasel their way in. For coats, suits and anything that needs a hanger to maintain its shape use hanging garment bags. Our non-woven garment bags include a Velcro fasting at the neck of the hanger to close any gaps and come in a range of lengths. We also supply cotton washable garment bags which are wider to accommodate up to eight garments. Again, these have a Velcro fastening at the neck. Do not use the plastic that clothes are returned in from the dry cleaner as it will trap moisture and encourage mould.
For items that can be folded, use either our knitwear bag which accommodates a few chunky knits or up to ten more delicate items. It’s made of breathable fabric and has a sturdy zip to let clothes breath whilst protecting them from moths; use our folding pallet to get the neatest fold and make the most out of the space available. For very large items such as hats and wedding dresses, use roomy storage boxes to ensure items are not crushed or misshapen.
Consider using tissue paper between each layer of clothing to protect the fibres from weakening at the creases. Our acid free tissue paper is pH neutral, this is important as it stops dyes within the fabric from reacting with the paper and becoming discoloured. Don’t use normal tissue paper from the stationers and for that matter don’t use standard cardboard boxes as they also contain acids as do wooden boxes. If you have the luxury of wooden storage chests, ensure that your clothes do not come into direct contact with the wood.
Where to store clothes
Most of us will have limited space but wherever you plan to store your clothes, be aware that temperature fluctuations can encourage the development of moisture and consequent mould. For this reason, its best to avoid loft spaces. It’s also worth checking on garments every now and then and storing them in the loft make this inspection less likely!
How to protect stored clothes from moths
Of course one of the key reasons for storing clothes correctly is to prevent clothes moths from getting in and laying eggs among your garments so, before you put your lovingly cleaned and beautifully packed items away, be sure to give the storage area a good vacuum first. It’s worth noting that clothes moths do not like strong smells so using fragrance to repel them is also advisable. We have some delightful scents designed to smell gorgeous and deter moths using a bespoke selection of essential oils. Our scented sachets are available for both folded items or for coat hangers.
Specialist long term cloths storage
It goes without saying that all of the above advice should be followed for specialist items such as wedding dresses, but if suitable storage is an issue or you have a wardrobe to rival Joan Collins, you may want to consider professional storage. Our sister company, Total Wardrobe Storage, provides storage for single precious items or entire collections and of course it cares for clothes scrupulously.
For all your storage needs have a good browse around our site, there are countless items to help you keep clothes clean and moth free whilst they’re stored away. Please don’t hesitate to contact us for specific advice.