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Surviving Summer Storage

Guidelines for Storing Winter Clothes

Pink Coat hangerNow that the warmer weather is finally here, it's time to move those heavy winter clothes out of the closet to make room for some summer finery. But don't just put them out of sight and out of mind. If you do that, warns Nancy Bock, Vice President of Consumer Education at the American Cleaning Institute®, you may be in for some unpleasant surprises when the cold weather returns. To avoid this, here are her recommendations:

  • Thoroughly clean all items before storing. Certain soils can attract insects. You wouldn't want your favorite sweater to become their feasting ground! In addition, stains that the eye can barely see may turn yellow or darken over time.
  • Make repairs. Check for sagging hemlines, missing buttons, split seams, etc. Repair them now so your clothes will be wear-ready when that first cold day strikes.
  • Don't starch or iron garments before storing. Starch just provides more nourishment for insects. Ironing may heat set stains that have not been completely removed. If they reappear after a long summer siesta, they may be impossible to remove.
  • Store garments in a cool, dark, dry, well-ventilated area. Good choices include a cool closet, an airtight chest, or an under-the-bed cardboard box. Avoid plastic bags or bins. They can trap air and moisture, creating a damp, unsuitable atmosphere.
  • Don't neglect your coats. Once we stop wearing them, there's a tendency to stop thinking about them. Then, on that first chilly day, you may be in for a nasty surprise. If professional dry-cleaning is required, check to see if the drycleaner offers box storage. Then make a note on your calendar to pick them up before the cold weather strikes.