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Monday, October 17, 2011

Storing garments for the Off-Season


Here in California our seasons don't change that drastically, but they do change, and people's wardrobes change according to the weather and temperature. This means that, for an extended part of each year, groups of garments must be put away until their season arrives. Improper storage of your off-season wardrobe, though, can cause irreparable damage. Following are some typical problems you may encounter, and advice on preventing the damage. 


Yellow Stains: Stains that are invisible when they occur, left on a garment during storage, will oxidize with age and appear as yellow, orange, or even brown. Juices, soft drinks, beer, white wine, tea or coffee, and other beverages or foods containing sugars can cause stains to develop during storage. The longer the stain is allowed to age, the more difficult it will be to remove. Natural fibers tend to retain stains more tenaciously, too, like cotton, wool, and silk. Prevention is the best "cure". When you get a stain, take the garment to us as soon as possible, and point out and identify the stained area. We have special stain removal agents that may remove, or at least minimize, the stain. 


Mildew: Mildew will develop on garments that are stored in damp or humid conditions. It has a musty odor and appears as black, grey, purple, or yellow specks with an irregular pattern. Mildew not only stains, it actually deteriorates the fibers of your garments, especially natural fibers such as cotton, linen, wool, silk, and leather. Once established, mildew growth can only be completely stopped by washing in chlorine bleach. Unfortunately, this is not safe on many fabrics and can remove color. The odor associated with mildew can be removed using an ozone treatment. To prevent mildew, store your clean, dry garments in a well-ventilated, climate controlled, dehumidified area. 


Insect Damage: When stains are left on garments, especially food, beverage, perspiration, and body oils, insects like clothes moths, carpet beetle larvae, and silverfish are attracted to the stain. Consequently, their efforts to eat the staining material will cause damage to the garment's fibers. Sometimes, a hole is apparent immediately; sometimes damaged fibers are flushed away during a subsequent cleaning, causing the hole to appear. There is no way to repair this type damage, but you can help prevent it by having your garments cleaned before storing them in a cool, dry place. Cedar chests and moth balls are effective, too. While there is an odor associated with cedar and moth balls, it can be eliminated by airing out or washing. 


Light Fading: Many dyes are sensitive to prolonged exposure to sunlight, and even to a light left on in a closet. Silks are especially susceptible, and fading can occur in a relatively short time. Light fading is typically evident on only one side of the fabric, and also only where an edge is exposed to the light source. Fading cannot be corrected, so do not store items in direct sunlight, and remember to turn off closet lights. 

The Cleaning Lady

Railroad Cleaners
2195 Railroad Ave 
Pittsburg, CA 94565

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