By: Ron Maier

Winter clothes are usually the most expensive wardrobe investments, not only because of actual materials but also because most consumers plan to use these clothes for several seasons. Garments such as leather jackets, thick wool sweaters, and the like are usually expensive, but are usually justified based on how long they will last. However, without proper winter clothing storage, even the best quality garments will quickly deteriorate.

By taking a few precautions before packing away the winter wardrobe, your clothes will last from year to year looking great. Winter clothes must be clean before they are put away. They should not only look clean, but they should also be washed well to remove any unseen stains. Though certain items may seem stain free, not all stains can be seen immediately. After several months of storage, some of those invisible stains will not be so invisible. These kinds of stains may also attract a variety of insects depending on the cause of the stain. Be sure to follow all washing instructions including dry cleaning those designated items, most commonly cashmere, lamb's wool, alpaca, merino, wool, etc. Do not use fabric softener with winter clothing that is washed at home. Softener may be used once the clothes are unpacked in the Fall, but it is better to keep them without the smells of fabric softener while in storage.

Most winter clothing is especially vulnerable to washing. Without proper washing techniques, many winter garments have short lives. If a garment label indicates that it may be hand washed, it must be done correctly. Hand washing should be done in cold water with quality detergent specifically produced for certain materials. Sweaters should be turned inside out and gently worked under the water. Pulling, wringing, and rubbing may seem like useful cleaning strategies, but really the soap and water should do most of the work. Carefully roll out the soap and water, taking it slow and then begin to rinse with more cold water. Several rinses are much better than trying to quickly purge the garment of soap. Once all of the bubbles from the soap have gone, the extra water can be removed by rolling it up in a towel.

The main thing to remember when drying is not to use tumble dry or an iron. The safest drying method is to lay it flat away from any direct heat.

Once the winter wardrobe is clean, the bulk of the work is done. Sweaters and knitted clothes are folded and put into boxes or drawers. Inserting some cedar wood with the wool garments will keep moths away. Heavy suits and full-length coats should be hung on sturdy wooden clothes hangers or strong padded plastic hangers to keep their form. A crease in pants is avoided by hanging pants from the cuff or the hem.

Remember, when clothes are packed away for months at a time, creases are difficult to remove.

About the Author:

Ron Maier is the owner of OnlyHangers, a leading provider of wooden hangers, plastic hangers, and other types of clothes hangers. For more information, please visit

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