Tips for Storing Winter Clothes (HINT: Wash Them First!)
While it may be tempting to just stuff all your winter clothes in the closet at the end of the season. But be aware, you may regret that decision 6-8 months from now when you go to pull those stinky, dirty items back out. Trust us; your winter clothes will last longer, look better, and serve you better if they’re properly washed and stored when winter ends. So what can you do to ensure you have like-new outerwear next winter? Check out the following tips for washing and storing winter clothes.
Washing and Storing Winter Clothes
Before you even think about storing winter clothes, you need to wash them. Winter clothes need to be properly prepped before storage or bad things tend to happen. Those bad things can include awful smells and stains that can set in for the long haul, winter salt damage that can never be repaired, and the ongoing festering of all kinds of germs, mold and mildews. Check out some quick washing tips to prevent all of the above.
Leather, Suede and Fur Coats
Always follow manufacturer cleaning suggestions for leather, suede and fur. In most cases, the directions will suggest giving these coats to the pros. You don’t want to see what happens to them if you don’t adhere to “dry-clean only” directions.
Wool coats can be washed on your machine’s hand-wash, delicate or wool cycle. Keep the water cool, and use a detergent that’s safe for all fabrics; Charlie’s Soap works well here. Never put your wool coat in the dryer as it will shrink. Hang dry and, if needed, roll the coat in a clean towel to remove excess moisture after the wash.
Don’t be nervous to wash your down jackets. In fact, washing your down jacket can actually give the interior feathers a boost by helping to preserve their oils. Use a delicate wash cycle and a detergent that’s safe and gentle on fabrics but tough on dirt, like Charlie’s Soap. Down jackets can go in the dryer after a wash, but only for a quick, 20-minute fluff on low (no heat would be even better). Add dryer balls or tennis balls to the dryer to prevent the feathers from clumping together. Otherwise, just allow your down jacket to air dry for at least 24 hours or until there is no moisture remaining.
If your snow pants and ski clothes say machine-washable on the label, use a low-spin, delicate cycle with a gentle detergent like Charlie’s Soap. Keep the washer load light, and don’t mix in different fabric types. You can also pre-treat any stains if needed with a pre-treatment that’s safe for all types of fabrics.
Always skip the dryer for snow pants and similar clothes, letting them hang to dry instead. Once fully dry, spray with a water repellent specifically designed for clothing to revamp the water-resistant properties.
Scarves, hats and gloves made of wool and other warm, cozy fabrics can be either hand-washed or machine-washed on delicate. Put them in a mesh laundry bag before placing them in the washer. Use a gentle detergent like Charlie’s Soap. Finally, let your winter accessories air day, as the dryer will ruin their shape.
Leather gloves can be hand-washed by first dampening them with a clean, soft cloth and then adding a dab of gentle laundry detergent or dish soap. Massage away any dirt and grime, then wipe clean and let air dry.
Tips for Storing Winter Clothes
Once all of your winter clothes are washed and completely dry, it’s time for proper storage. Durable clothing boxes work for accessories and smaller items, while larger, bulkier items do well in vacuum-sealed plastic bags. Pack as many items into the bag as can comfortably fit, and then remove the air from the bag with a vacuum. Voila! Your compact bag of winter clothes can now be stored in the closet, leaving room for all the other goodies you’ll need all year long.
Just make sure the storage area you pick is dry, dark and maintains a temperature of around 65 degrees Fahrenheit. Cooler temperatures help preserve your winter wear during the hotter months, so you don’t want to stash them in an outdoor garage, the hot attic space or shed that’s not temperature regulated.
There you have it. Your winter clothes will now be fresh, clean, and ready for action the next time winter rolls around. Even better, the same gentle Charlie’s Soap you used on your winter gear does an equally fabulous job on your clothing for summer, fall and spring. Check out our Charlie’s Soap clothing and textile detergent lineup to get yours today.