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How to Prevent Clothes From Yellowing in Storage

Updated February 21, 2017

Whether you're packing away your child's old baby clothes, storing a wedding dress or merely clearing the closet of seasonal garments, how you store your clothes will affect their appearance when you later remove them. Improperly stored garments can be eaten by insects or stained by mildew. Lighter colours can yellow. Pack your items properly before sending them off to storage and those baby clothes will be ready for the next child or your favourite summer dress will remain fresh for next year.

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Wash the garment before storage. Pre-treat any stains. If you store something without this step, any stains will set and darken, even ones you didn't notice the last time you wore the garment, such as perspiration stains. Oil from your body left on the garment can also darken and stain over time.

Wrap the garment in acid-free tissue or clean cotton sheets. Storing garments in cardboard boxes, old suitcases or plastic dry cleaning bags can lead to yellowing as the acid from the cardboard or suitcase linings or moisture trapped in the plastic bags react with the fabric.

Keep the garment away from extreme heat or humidity. If you live in a warmer climate, avoid storing clothes in hot attics. The extreme temperature can cause fabric to discolour. Don't store clothing in a damp basement, either, since the dampness encourages the growth of mildew. The ideal conditions for storing clothing are temperatures of about 23.9 degrees C, with 55 per cent humidity, according to NobleHouse Tailors.

If you use moth balls or scented sachets with your stored clothes, make sure the moth balls or sachets don't touch garments, as these could leave marks or stains.

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Things You'll Need

  • Acid-free tissue
  • Clean cotton sheets

About the Author

Cynthia Myers is the author of numerous novels and her nonfiction work has appeared in publications ranging from "Historic Traveler" to "Texas Highways" to "Medical Practice Management." She has a degree in economics from Sam Houston State University.

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