Tips for long-term clothing storage

Published on 6/17/2022

Tips for long-term clothing storage.

When putting something in long-term storage, it's important to make sure it won't get damaged. Clothing, particularly that composed of natural fibers, is particularly sensitive. Here are some tips to protect your clothes.

Before storing, wash or launder it.

Chemicals (such as those found in fragrances and deodorants) will discolor unclean clothing over time. Stains that have already settled will become more difficult to remove. Mold, mildew, and vermin can all be attracted to dirty clothes. Wash or dry clean your garments before storing them to extend their shelf life.

Clothing should not be vacuum-sealed.

Although vacuum-sealing might reduce space and make room for additional objects, it also has a disadvantage: it can harm your clothes. Clothing that has been vacuum-sealed compresses the fibers, causing them to lose shape over time. 

Clothes can be reshaped, but the time it takes for the fibers to decompress could be the same as the time they were stored. Vacuum-sealing, on the other hand, is not an issue for short-term storage.

Clothing should be stored in airtight plastic containers.

Plastic containers with airtight lids are ideal. Clean them thoroughly and make sure they are completely dry. If you're storing a valuable item, such as a bridal gown, keep it in an acid-free box with a plastic container around it.

At all costs, avoid using cardboard boxes or plastic bags. They do not give the necessary protection for your clothing. Pests are particularly fond of cardboard and will devour boxes (and your clothes). Plastic bags hold moisture, making them ideal for mold and mildew to thrive.

Use lavender sachets or mothballs.

Mothballs and lavender can help to protect your garments from mold, mildew, and vermin. Mothballs are effective, but they contain poisonous substances that are harmful to people. They might leave a residue and an unpleasant odor on clothes that can be difficult to remove.

Lavender is a more environmentally friendly alternative. It is an efficient insect deterrent with a nice odor (unlike moth balls). You can put your clothing on right away after taking them out of storage. Place the lavender in sachets to prevent staining. You may need to replace the sachets every few months because their aroma fades over time.