Your house isn’t the only thing that gets a freshening up when springtime rolls around — your wardrobe does, too. When putting those heavy sweaters, wool coats, hats and scarves into storage to make way for all your warm-weather clothing, there’s another step in between you must never forget: getting them professionally cleaned.
1. Prevent Permanent Stains and Discoloration
You may think the clothing you’ve put away is clean, especially if you’ve tossed them in your home washing machine or only “rarely” worn that holiday sweater, but you may be surprised by a stain when it’s time to break out the winter gear once again. Dry cleaners can remove many types of stains — even the ones you don’t see — so getting your clothing professionally cleaned before putting them into storage prevents any existing stains from setting. It will also remove any unseen particles that can cause discoloration while in storage for months.
2. Avoid an Insect Infestation
Stains aren’t the only things to worry about when putting clothes in storage: little critters can be a problem if the clothes are not properly cleaned. You can shake out your clothes all you want, but uncleaned clothing is the perfect hideout for insects large and small. Bugs such as moths and silverfish, commonly found in attics, can eat their way through your favorite sweater or leave stains that may be difficult to remove. When cleaned by a professional dry cleaner, these insects and their eggs will be removed from clothing and keep your clothes bug-free.
3. Keep Your Clothes Smelling Fresh
Storing clothing that has not been clean only allows any existing smells to grow stronger. Sweat, dust and other natural aromas can settle in clothing, and if they are not removed before you put clothing in an airtight container, you’ll get a big whiff of musty, stale-smelling clothing after months in the closet.
Other Tips for Clothing Storage
Storing your seasonal clothing takes a little more forethought than simply tossing them in a bin and putting them in the basement or under the bed. To make sure your clothes survive their hibernation, follow a few other tips after you’ve gotten them cleaned by a professional dry cleaner:
Store in plastic bins: Make sure to store your clothes in plastic bins, never cardboard boxes. Otherwise, you’re just inviting insects in for an appetizer before they reach the main meal: your clothes!
Don’t vacuum seal: Vacuum sealing your clothing may sound like a good idea, but your clothing does need to breathe. Compressing the fibers in your clothes can permanently warp and damage them.
Use cedar balls: Mothballs are commonly used to ward off bugs, but they can actually damage clothing and may be hazardous to humans. Instead of mothballs, which are typically made from naphthalene or paradichlorobenzene, use cedar, a natural way to repel moths.
Make sure you don’t get an unwanted surprise when it’s time to rotate your seasonal clothing once again. Prevent stains and insects from ruining your clothes (and keep them smelling fresh!) by dry cleaning your clothes before shutting the closet door.