Storing Clothes to Prevent Mold and Moths Naturally
Protect Your Investment
Knowing how to store clothes to prevent mold and moths is an important way to protect your investment. Every year clothes are removed from storage only to end up in landfills and scrap piles because they have been ruined by mold, mildew, and moths.
It isn't necessary to add poison, or use dangerous chemicals. A few simple steps can keep your clothing as good as new for years to come.
Prepare for Storage
Preparation is the key to anything. It isn't any different when trying to keep moths out of your favorite lamb's wool sweater over the summer. A few moments of careful preparation will make a huge difference when it is time to unpack the clothes.
- Store clean items- this sounds so basic but many people put clothing away without it being cleaned or even washed. Organic materials in fabrics, such as spilled food, dirt, or even sweat, attracts pest but it also give mold a place to grow. Always have your garments clean when storing.
- Seal in plastic bags with no holes- Ziploc puts out a huge plastic bag for storage, now. Plastic bags will keep the moths and mold out unless there is larvae or mold spores sealed in with the clothing. Be careful, some clothing (furs for example) should not be stored sealed in plastic.
- Watch the humidity- Mold grows best in a warm, damp environment. Use a de-humidifier or store in an area that has good ventilation, such as louvered doors.
- In cases of difficult to control moisture use silica gel, or activated alumina
- Don't carpet closet or storeroom floors- moths and beetles find carpet to be excellent housing.
How to Make Your Own Natural Mothballs
Say No to Chemicals
Many people use mothballs to keep moths away from their clothes, but there are healthier ways that work as well. Mothballs have toxic chemicals in them, and out-gas these chemicals for long periods of time. The chemicals are absorbed into the fibers of the clothing.
If you use the main chemicals of moth balls, DDVP or PDB, near plastic dry-cleaning bags, coat buttons or metallic fabrics the chemicals can make the plastic become sticky, damage the metallic fabric or buttons, or even cause leather to fade. Keeping that in mind, are these chemicals something you want near your skin?
Natural Moth Repellents
- Aromatic Cedar-repels bugs
- Artemisia- powdered it repels moths
- Costmary-repels insects in fabrics
- Lavender-storing clothes and linens with stems of lavender between layers is an age old moth preventative. And it smells great!
- Sage-scatter dried leaves among clothing items to deter insects
- Santolina-hang in closets to deter moths
- Sweet Woodruff- repels moths
Essential oils can also be used when storing clothes. Just put a few drops of the oil of choice on a cotton ball and place in the storage bag with the garment or linen. Cedarwood, clove, rosemary, lavender, and sage are good choices, alone or in a combination that pleases you.
What if you all ready have stains on your clothing?
Try blotting the area with lemon juice and leaving outside on a sunny day. The lemon and the sun with bleach and disinfect, and hopefully remove the spot. Rinse thoroughly.
If you need to remove mildew from leather clothing, wipe them with a cloth moistened with a solution of one cup alcohol to one cup water.
A Word About Mold Prevention
Clothing must be completely dry when put away. Damp fabric is a gourmet treat for mold and mildew spores. After you wash and dry your clothing, run it through an extra drying cycle, adding some lavender essential oil on a cloth. Allow the clothes to cool completely before storing.
By following these simple steps you can be secure in the knowledge that the clothing you put away today will be in good condition when you get them out tomorrow.