Winter is officially over in Goa. Most of us have already turned to our comfy cottons and linens. Those of you who haven’t already tucked away your winter clothing are probably wondering how to do it in the best way possible so your precious clothes are still in pristine condition for the next winter season.
Here are a few points to remember while storing various winter items.
Clean all your garments thoroughly before storing them away. Any stains left on clothing will only darken and become worse during storage. Besides, food stains and body oils attract moths and other pests. Dust and dirt can dull the appearance of your woollens. Hence, brush woollen clothes lengthwise to remove surface soil that could become stains later. Most clothing just needs to be washed normally or dry cleaned according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Woven garments can be hung on shaped or padded coat hangers. Utilise all of the extra hanging loops to keep the clothing from getting distorted. Empty out pockets, remove any belts or other heavy accessories and close all buttons or zippers to avoid distortion of fabric. Wrap the garment in fabric bags. Do not use plastic bags as plastic does not allow the fabric to breathe and may also trap moisture which in turn attracts mildew and moths. Make sure the garments have enough room for air to circulate. This will keep your clothes from wrinkling and creasing during storage.
Never hang sweaters or other knit items. Long-term hanging can cause knits to become misshapen. Instead, carefully fold the items and place them into an air tight plastic storage container. Stack your folded items from the heaviest items on the bottom to the lightest ones on top. Stacking items loosely will allow air to circulate even during long storage. You can even stack all your garments in an empty suitcase to save space.
Clean your storage area thoroughly beforehand, including storage containers or drawers. Make sure the storage area is cool and dry. Wool is a protein fibre which if exposed to extreme heat or moisture can get damaged. Moisture will also attract mildew and insects. You can use silica gel packs to absorb any additional moisture. In order to keep moths away, use cedar moth ball sachets or even dry neem leaves between your clothing items. Keeping your clothes in a dark place will prevent fading.
Always clean your silks before storage. Silk, like wool, is a protein fibre. Stains and moisture tend to attract mould and insects. Most but not all silk items require dry-cleaning. It is best to read the label and follow the manufacturer’s recommendations to the letter. You can hand wash your delicate silks in a pH neutral liquid detergent or even shampoo. Do not wring the fabric; instead roll it in a towel. Avoid chlorine altogether as this can cause the fabric to turn yellow and weaken the fibres drastically. Avoid temperature changes when washing. Stick to either cool or lukewarm.
Always store your silks in a clean, cool, dark and dry place. The fabric is very sensitive to light and will fade or get discoloured if left unprotected. Long term exposure to sunlight tends to weaken the fibre. Dampness and moisture will attract mildew and moths. You can use silica gel packs to absorb extra moisture. To keep moths and insects away, use cedar moth balls or dry neem leaves.
As with all fine fabrics, if you plan to store silk for a long time, you will do best to store it in a cotton pillowcase or otherwise surround the silk with a fabric that can breathe. Avoid storing in plastic since this can trap moisture, which can lead to yellowing or the accumulation of mildew.
Clean and dust your leather garment before long term storage.
Store leather garments on padded hangers and cover with a plain bed sheet or cloth garment bag. Avoid plastic bags, as they don’t allow the garment to breathe, and can promote mould and mildew. Leave room on either side of the hung garment because it needs to breathe to stay supple and healthy looking. Never fold a leather garment for storage. Before storage, you can wrap your leather in acid-free paper. Acid-free paper acts as a barrier of protection against moisture, dust, dirt and bugs. Wrapping your leather in paper will also help retain its shape.
Store your leather in a dark, dry place. Sunlight will cause fading. Humidity can result in the oils to bleed out and cause the leather to dry out, which can cause moulting. Humidity also attracts mould and mildew.
To help maintain the shape of the garment, empty all pockets and remove additional accessories that may add weight to the garment. Close all buttons and zippers before storage.
Besides following the above tips, make sure you check on your stored items every now and then to make sure there are no issues. Replace moth balls from time to time and keep the storage area clean and dry.
Until next time, stay stylish!
(Ninoshka Alvares-Delaney is a fashion designer and is available at www.ninoshka.co.in)