How To Keep Clothes Fresh In Storage Bags

Discover practical tips to maintain garment freshness, prevent odors, and protect clothing during storage.

February 8, 2024
min read
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Putting away seasonal clothing in storage bags protects them from dust, pests, and environmental damage. But improperly packed containers can lead to permanent odors, stained fabrics, warped shapes, and even mold outbreaks. Follow these packing tips and wardrobe maintenance habits for keeping stored clothes fresher for longer.

Do I Need To Wash Clothes Before Storage?

Prewashing items eliminates body oils, food spills, skin flakes and other debris that can soil clothes over time. Soaking up these contaminants before storage avoids unattractive faded rings around collars and cuffs too.

For new unworn purchases, washing removes sizing residues or chemical vestiges from manufacturing. These often yellow over time if not rinsed away before first wear or storage.

Delicate silks, wools, and specialty performance wear may require professional cleaning to preserve unique properties. Otherwise, machine wash clothes on cool using a gentle, fragrance-free detergent alternative to prevent skin irritation when you unpack them months later.

Fold Clothes Properly Before Bag Storage

Haphazard wadding stretches knits permanently out of shape and creases delicate fabrics. Neat folding reduces bulk and keeps clothes looking crisp when unpacked.

For bulky sweaters and knit tops, lay the garment face down on a flat surface. Smooth edges neatly then fold in the sleeves evenly across the back. Now gently fold the entire piece up from the hem into thirds, keeping seams aligned. This prevents misshapen shoulders or stretched neck holes later.

When organizing drawer stacks, always alternate item direction to maximize capacity and support. Place heaviest jeans and trousers along the bottom, then lighter tops and blouses topped by lingerie and accessories. Folding also prevents snags from loose zippers, buttons, or embellishments from catching on adjacent fabrics.

Don’t Mix Different Clothing Types

Clumping all textile types together risks contamination issues down the road. Certain materials possess innate vulnerabilities that can compromise grouped neighbors over time.

Woolens and other animal hair fabrics deserve separate storage due to their susceptibility to clothes moths. The larvae digest protein fibers once laid eggs hidden along seams hatch.

Vinyl and leather items also threaten cotton, linen, and other breathable plant-based textiles they’re stored with through chemical instability from plasticizers leaching out over years. These can leave indelible stains.

Silks hate sunlight yet can mildew easily if denied fresh airflow that cottons thrive on. Fold them inside out within acid-free tissue to avoid weakening sensitive dyes or watermarks from condensation.

packing clothes

Make Sure Storage Bags Are Fully Dry

Any trace moisture trapped inside clothing storage provides the perfect breeding ground for rampant mold growth if spores gain access.

Always allow freshly washed items a couple days to air dry fully before packing away. Feel fabric interiors for hidden damp pockets, especially along seams, before loading into containers. Storing slightly humid clothes invites trouble.

Inspect storage units themselves for water droplets or standing puddles if kept below grade. Raise them onto pallets or shelving to avoid contact with wet concrete. Look for swollen cardboard and immediately repack affected goods into clean, dry plastic totes or bins until replacing soggy boxes.

Use Cedar Wood And Lavender Sachets

Tucking sachets filled with cedar shavings, dried lavender buds, eucalyptus, and other aromatics disguises irresistible smells to pests looking for cozy nesting spots or nutrition sources.

Cedar’s natural enzymes actively curb fabric-eating bugs and microbes too. The intense woodsy scent provides lasting protection from moths seeking protein-rich wools to spawn future generations in.

Lavender’s gentle perfume deters moths, beetles, and other fabric pests effectively year after year as well while ensuring stored clothing retains a light floral freshness.

Inspect Wardrobes Regularly

Out of sight doesn’t mean pests ignore stored clothes as future homes or food once seasonal use ends. Be proactive by periodically checking containers for signs of infestation.

Look for tiny pinholes, trails of dark dust, sticky webs, or casings clinging to fabric surfaces indicating larvae invasion underway. Also sniff clothes for musty odors suggesting mold establishment from excess moisture.

Deal with issues immediately before exponential population explosions ruin entire collections. Wash or dry clean affected items and isolate in sealed bags for closer monitoring until confirming eradication.

Adding cedar blocks, regular pest traps, or replacing compromised cardboard storage aids prevention in troublesome areas. An ounce of vigilance saves hours of tedious decontamination down the road!

Air Clothing After Long Storage

Even properly packed clothing benefits from occasional air circulation to prevent odor buildup over time.

Unpack winter woolens in spring and lightly air items outside if weather permits before summer storage. Sunlight naturally deodorizes and refreshes fabrics too.

In rainy climates, hanging garments indoors near an open window or porch allows moisture and chemical vestiges from textile dyes and sizing to dissipate. This preserves vibrancy and integrity for many extra years of wear.

Additional Tips

  • Label clear storage totes with contents and dates for easier spring rotation or retrieval
  • Wrap specialty items like wedding gowns in acid-free tissue inside archival boxes to prevent yellowing
  • Wash or dry clean vintage clothes before warehousing to remove ingrained oil and perspiration
  • Store clothing off concrete floors to prevent moisture transfer through plastic bins
  • Group store clothing categorized by member for faster accessibility

Follow clothing care best practices when packing away seasonal wardrobes to save time and money. Proper storage methods prevent permanent damage from pests, mold, and humidity too.

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About Wood Blocks

Our mission is to empower you with the knowledge to curate a wardrobe that not only reflects your personal style but also aligns with environmentally friendly practices. From exploring the wonders of natural mothballs and sustainable garment storage to diving deep into DIY solutions and green living, we're here to guide you on a journey towards a more eco-conscious, stylish, and intentional lifestyle.

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