Jerry Pozniak, owner of Cameo Cleaners in New York City, shares some great tips on how to store your clothes so they don’t get ruined in the off-season.
How To Store Clothes
If you live in a seasonal climate, you pack up a batch of clothes at least twice a year. You don’t need those sweaters taking up space in your closet in the heat of the summer after all. Keep your off-season stuff looking pretty by following these six tips on proper clothing storage.
- Clean all items thoroughly before packing—if the item is delicate, have it dry cleaned.
- Plastic or cardboard storage containers can be used, but both must be clean and dry to discourage bug larvae from taking up residence. On top of that, all containers should be lined with acid-free tissue to prevent fading.
- Mothballs and cedar blocks offer defense against insects, but are never a complete guarantee. Choosing a clean, air-tight container will be a better choice to avoid bugs.
- Knitwear or sweaters should be folded to prevent becoming misshapen from long-term hanging. Putting a piece of acid-free tissue inside knitwear will prevent fading and help keep its shape. All knitwear should be dry cleaned before storing to prevent permanent staining.
- To store dresses and shirts on hangers, utilize extra hanging loops to help clothing keep its shape. Don’t store items in plastic bags—they don’t circulate air or let the clothing “breathe.”
- Store all items in a cool, clean, dark and dry place. Above all, avoid wetness since it can attract mildew and insects.
How To Remove Stains From Your Stored Clothes
If you want to be wowed by your old spring clothes, it’s vital to freshen them up once they’re out of storage. Even if you’ve taken the necessary steps to preserve your clothing during the winter, stains can appear unexpectedly. Jerry explains the different types of stains and how to remove them to make clothing look new again.
Acid stains are the result of saliva, sweat, or glue. They might not be visible when clothing is first stored, but can show up months later.
Avoid using bleach on acid stains, because it can darken the color of an acid stain. Instead choose stain-removal products with hydrogen peroxide.
Water stains on cotton quickly form mildew when mixed with air.
When mildew develops, the only way to eliminate it is with bleach. Put a few drops of bleach in a bucket of water, and add the clothing in to soak. Gradually increase the strength of the bleach one or two drops at a time, and keep checking the garment. If you see any color fading at all, remove the clothes from the bucket. If you see no fading, you can leave the garment in the bucket for up to eight hours.
Yellowing happens when synthetic materials meet trapped gases. When clothing is in an air-free environment, it is less likely to discolor.