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Protect Winter Clothes During Summer Months
By Allison Powe
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Southerners are accustomed to warm weather, so when spring arrives, many people are eager to replace sweaters and coats with short sleeves and swimsuits.
Stephanie Wayne, extension apparel and textile clothing assistant at Mississippi State University, reminds Mississippians to store winter clothes properly to ensure that they maintain good quality and are ready to wear when the next fall arrives.
"Cleaning and storing winter clothes isn't the most fun thing to do at the beginning of nice weather, but properly storing out-of-season clothing is a good practice," Wayne said.
Clothing that is not cared for or worn for a significant length of time becomes susceptible to damage caused by surroundings such as dust, moisture or insects.
"When storing out-of-season clothes, put them in breathable garment bags instead of plastic bags that might come from a dry cleaner. This prevents mildew from developing in collected moisture," Wayne said.
Clothing and linens also store well in air-tight boxes, trunks and suitcases. Wayne advised against putting boxed clothes in damp areas like attics or basements.
"Wrap garments in breathable fabrics to add extra protection from dust and insects. Tissue paper or light sheets and pillowcases serve this purpose well," Wayne said.
The textile assistant said all clothes and linens should be cleaned and folded neatly before being placed in storage. Dirty items of clothing are likely to attract insects which can greatly damage clothes. Closets, drawers and storage boxes also should be clean before placing clothes in them.
Moth balls effectively deter insects, but when they come in direct contact with clothing they can weaken dye in fabrics. Wayne recommended using 1 pound of moth balls per 100 cubic feet of storage space, which is about the size of an average closet.
"Do not pack too many clothes tightly together in one storage space. Allow silks, linens and other delicate natural fibers that wrinkle easily to lie flat, with as few folds as possible. Don't forget to wrap these fabrics in a breathable material," Wayne said.
Wayne recommended against the use of sachets, which may contain chemicals. However, she said as long as they do not come in direct contact with clothing, sachets probably do not cause any damage.
"Don't completely forget about out-of-season clothing while it is in storage. Check the clothes about once a month to be sure they are not being damaged by insects or moisture. If any problems occur, treat or wash the clothing immediately," Wayne said.