If it hasn’t already, it’s time for your favorite ugly sweater to go back to where it belongs — away from human eyes. As for the cozy, cool sweaters you rightfully cherish? Those, too. Spring is here, meaning the season has come to pack away those heavy coats, scarves and, yes, sweaters you’ve bundled yourself in for the past several months.
But before you toss everything into a box or bin and forget about them, take a few steps to properly store your winter clothes and ensure their safe passage into the next season. With the proper care and attention, you can ensure your winter wardrobe remains ready to wear again when the cold weather inevitably returns. Read on for the best tips for storing winter clothes, so you can keep them in immaculate shape for years to come.
Reassess, recycle and sort
The end of a season is a great time to reassess your wardrobe. So, take a moment to scan your winter clothes and see what could be donated or recycled. If there are some pieces you didn’t wear this season, then it might be a good time to let them go. We recommend donating them to local organizations, recycling unusable items into rags, or selling them online to find a loving new home for your unused winter clothes.
Once you’ve filtered out what you can let go of, sort the remaining clothes to be washed. We recommend washing similar fabrics together and following the labels to maximize laundry day. Remember, delicate fabrics like cashmere and wool need extra care. So, always follow the label before you wash and store your winter clothes.
Wash your winterwear one last time
Washing before storing your winter clothes helps to keep them fresh and stain-free before their long hibernation. Imagine pulling your favorite sweater out of storage only to realize you’d forgotten to wash a coffee stain out of it from six months ago. Oops!
When it comes to laundry day, grab a pack of SaltyLama laundry sheets to ensure a high-quality wash that is both eco-friendly and delicate on your winter clothes. You don’t want to use any strong or highly chemical-based detergents on your beloved winter essentials.
Our sheets quickly dissolve in water to remove dirt, stains, and unwanted odors from fabrics. One laundry sheet can tackle a regular load, while two will handily take care of larger loads. If you are just washing a few items, rip a single sheet in half to get the job done. Just place one into the detergent drawer on your machine — or drop it into the load of laundry itself. From there, the sheet will combine with the water to wash your clothes just as well as regular detergents.
Great news! Winter clothes do especially well when washed in cold or cool water, so you can save energy by keeping the temperature down. Avoid using bleach or fabric softener as these can damage the material, especially winter fabrics.
Dry them without machines
Drying your winter clothes is a crucial step in maintaining their quality and longevity. After all, you don’t want to spend money buying a new coat or sweater every winter. First, it’s important to avoid using the dryer.
While it may seem like a convenient option, the high heat can shrink or damage the fabric of your winter clothes. Plus, some materials like wool or cashmere can be especially sensitive to heat. (Avoiding the dryer is also a fantastic way to be more eco-friendly in the laundry room.) Instead, consider hang-drying your clothes — especially such heavier items as coats or jackets. Use a sturdy hanger and hang them up in a well-ventilated area. If you’re dealing with sweaters or other knitted items, it’s best to lay them flat. You can use a drying rack or lay them out on a clean towel. Gently reshape them while they're still damp to maintain their shape. Remember to avoid twisting and wringing out your winter items — this can damage the fibers and cause them to lose their shape.
Store what you’re keeping
Proper storage is crucial in keeping your wardrobe in shape for next winter. You don’t want to pull out your favorite coat or sweater only to find that it’s moldy or damaged.
So, once your winter clothes are dry, fold them neatly and store them in a cool, dry place. If they are stored in a humid or damp environment, you may pull them out next winter to find mold. Let’s avoid that!
If possible, you can also store them in a breathable container like a cotton storage bag or cardboard box. We recommend folding sweaters and anything knitted. Then, hang up wool coats or pleated winter skirts.
Finally, make sure to check on your winter clothes periodically to ensure they haven't been damaged by any pests or moisture. If you notice any issues, address them immediately to prevent further deterioration.
Use cedar chips when storing
To further protect your winter clothes from pests like moths, try a natural repellent like cedar chips. These tiny, winged critters may seem harmless, but they can wreak havoc on your wardrobe by feasting on wool, cashmere, and other natural fibers.
With a pleasant, woodsy scent, cedar chips are a natural alternative to mothballs, which can contain hazardous chemicals. They contain natural oils that repel moths and other insects, without any harmful chemicals. Plus, cedar chips are completely safe for use around children and pets — unlike mothballs. Of course, we still recommend you check back on your clothes periodically. Neither mothballs nor cedar chips guarantee to keep pests away — they can only reduce the risk of infestation.
Just with these simple steps, you can help protect your winter clothes when storing them away until next winter. For more ways to care for your clothes — as well as tips on living and enjoying a more sustainable lifestyle — join us here at SaltyLama.