Not only do they occupy a lot of space but are also prone to catching dust and microbes due to moisture. Here’s a list of ten things to help you keep your woollens as nice as new until the next winter
Winter brings with it a whole new wardrobe – it’s finally that time of the year when we can show off our gorgeous coats and cashmere sweaters. With a rush of excitement we unpack those shawls only to find them a little duller than the last year or filled with moth-eaten holes. Woollens, just like home linens (read our story on How to store your linens), need to be maintained and stored properly while in use as well as during the non-winter months.
1. The most common cause of dullness in woollens is dust. Always brush your woollen garments lengthwise after every wear and give them a good brush down before packing them away until the next winter.
2. Woollens don’t need to be washed after every wear. Sweaters, tops, pants and skirts should be washed every fourth to fifth use while scarves and gloves can last on three to four washes per season. Jackets and coats should be washed a maximum of twice a season. Check the label to see if they can be washed or you need to dry-clean them.
3. For machine wash, set the water temperate to cool. Hand washing, however, is the best way to take care of those woollens not marked ‘dry-clean only’. Remember to use a mild detergent like Godrej Ezee Liquid Detergent, which has the Woolmark Certification.
4. Always wash or dry-clean your woollens at the end of the season before packing them away. To remove excess water after washing, gently roll the garment in a towel. Never hang your woollens on a clothesline to dry. The weight of the wet fabric stretches it causing it to lose its shape. Lay the garment flat on a towel and allow it to dry away from heat and direct sunlight.
5. Before packing away your woollens, clean the area thoroughly. If you are using suitcases, plastic boxes or metal bins, wipe them down with a wet cloth and leave them in the sun for a while. Vacuum closets and cupboards and let them air before packing them away.
6. Scatter mothballs in your cupboard to prevent moths but don’t let them touch the woollen fabric. A great way to do this is to pack loosely folded woollens into cotton pillowcases, and scatter the mothballs on top of the pillowcases. You can also wrap the mothballs in a muslin cloth and place them in the cupboard.
7. If you don’t want to use mothballs, which can contain harmful chemicals, try spreading dried neem or mint leaves at the bottom of the cupboard or container. Cloth sachets filled with dried lavender also work wonders. A few drops of pure neem or lavender oil on a cotton balls is equally effective.
8. To safeguard your woollens against moisture, use silica gel packs in the closet or containers. Make sure that you dry your garments thoroughly before storing as wet spots are breeding ground for pests and mould.
9. One of the best materials to use for storage to repel insects, especially moths, is cedar wood. If you can, make or buy storage chests made out of cedar or line the inside of your cupboard with cedar wood. If you are using plastic bins or metal containers, place a few cedar blocks or chips in them but remember to replace these periodically.
10. Once you’ve packed your woollens away, don’t forget about them. Check on them periodically to ensure there aren’t any moths, insects or fungus damaging your clothes. It’s a good idea to air your woollens once or twice for a few hours during the summer months before packing them away again.