Store Your Winter Gear the Right Way
Wool and Cashmere
Hang wool suits and coats in sealed garment bags to keep out pests such as clothes moths and carpet beetles. Fold wool and cashmere sweaters from each side inward to avoid a line down the middle. Avoid hanging them (because they'll stretch) and instead pack in airtight boxes or trunks with secure lids, along with all other items made of the same materials. Skip mothballs, which are actually pesticides that can harm people and pets (they're only necessary if you have an active infestation); cedar chests, which quickly lose their pungency; and other home remedies because they are not effective repellants—making sure everything is clean is your best defense.Photo: iStockphoto
Leather Shoes and Boots
To keep leather supple and remove scuffs, polish shoes and boots periodically, especially after a long winter. "Dab on a dime-size amount of cream polish, rubbing it all over the shoe," says Jim McFarland, a spokesperson for the Shoe Service Institute of America and owner of McFarland's Shoe Repair in Lakeland, Florida. "Let it sit a minute, then use a soft brush to buff it." Once clean, apply to protect against water and salt stains; look for products without silicone, which can darken the color.
Suede Shoes and Boots
Use a suede-cleaning bar to rub out stains on suede footwear, followed by a to raise the nap. If the suede is soiled, use a suede shampoo or have your footwear professionally cleaned. Once clean, McFarland recommends applying a waterproofing spray that does not contain silicone.
Down Comforters, Vests and Coats
Clean comforter according to the manufacturer's instructions and make sure it is completely dry before storing. Place it in a breathable to keep it dust-free or wrap in a brand new cotton sheet that has been laundered (sheets that have been used previously often contain body oils, even after washing). Avoid storing anything in plastic bags—they can trap moisture and cause mildew—as well as space-saving vacuum-packed plastic bags, which compact the down. For down vests and coats, follow the manufacturer's cleaning instructions, then store in a garment bag or wrapped in a clean cotton sheet.
Wipe winter salt stains off smooth leather with a clean, damp cotton cloth and let it air-dry. If the item is heavily soiled or if you've worn your coat for a few seasons, see a professional leather cleaner. Store your coat in a cool, dry area, using a wide, padded hanger (to retain its shape) in a breathable garment bag or drape it with clean cotton sheets.Photo: Shutterstock
Quilts, Afghans and Wool Blankets
Gently vacuum delicate items such as quilts or afghans with an upholstery attachment, says Dr. Ordoñez. Store them in a breathable cotton bag or wrapped in a new, clean cotton sheet (skip sheets made from polyester blends, which attract dust). Place them in a drawer or trunk away from outside walls, where temperature and humidity fluctuations can damage fibers. Wash wool blankets according to manufacturer's instructions and store folded, wrapped with a clean cotton sheet.
Video: storing winter clothes | Vacuum Storage bag | How to store winter clothes, clothing
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