5 tips for storing wool for summer

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5 tips on wool clothes storage for summer

Chances are you have at least one woolen item of clothing or footwear at home. I remember one autumn, when first cold hit I was so excited to wear my favourite wool beret, but alas -- it was riddled with holes and suitable only for a scarecrow. It had been found by moths... I forgot to properly store it in the spring and the result made me so sad. Do you know what is the best way to make sure you will still be able to wear your wool garments when colder weather comes?Here's 5 quick tips on how to achieve that.

1st tip: Sun and air

Make sure to air your wool shoes and clothes. Take them out on a sunny day and hang or leave lying in the sun (not necessarily direct as that can bleach colours) at least for several hours, moths do not like light and fresh air, they tend to hide in dark nooks and crannies or behind the collar of that old coat you have hanging in your closet for a few years.

It is a good idea to air your autumn/winter clothes at least a few times during the warm time of the y
ear as that way you will not only make them unappealing to moths but also will be able to spot if the creatures have started their nasty work somewhere and save that piece of clothing or footwear before it gets destroyed.

2nd tip: Clean

Make sure the items you want to store are clean. If it is clothing -- get it to the dry cleaners or at least brush it with a stiff brush all over, yes, under those collars and other folds as well.
For how to clean wool shoes take a look at my previous blog post here.

Also clean and disinfect your storage place and wardrobe (especially if you already had an encounter with moths). Fully grown moths are not a danger any more as they do not feed on your clothes, the ones that make all these holes are the larvae, so your main purpose when cleaning is to get rid of all the eggs and make the are as inhospitable for the moths as possible.

3rd tip: Repellents

Lavender sachet There are a lot of different suggestions of how to get rid of moths out there. Most people would lean towards using mothballs or moth crystals as they are quite effective. There is a problem though as they contain strong pesticides that are carcinogenic and poisonous to people and pets.
If you decide to use mothballs, wear gloves and follow the instructions on the label. Also do not just leave them lying around in your closet. For one -- airtight containers are, in fact, the only way to make sure the fume concentrations are high enough to be effective. On the other hand - putting them throughout a closet won’t kill moths, and will cause headaches for the homeowner, literally.
If you choose to go the natural way the theory is that moths can be kept at bay by strong odours. In a recent experiment, researchers found that cedar wood, cinnamon, cloves, and lavender were all effective at keeping moths from eating clothing. You can make sachets or put out a bowl of scented oil in your closet.
Some aromatic herbs, like bay leaves, eucalyptus, lemon peel, and mint proved to be ineffective in the experiment, so be careful about which herbs you use.
Beware that some of these scents are very difficult to get out of clothing, in case you or loved ones dislike or have any allergies to these plants.

4th tip: Freezing

One of the best if not the most convenient ways to get rid of the moths is freezing. Take a garment or a pair of shoes, that you suspect to be infested and put it in a freezer for a few days (some sources advice weeks, but from my experience the little bugs are pretty dead in a few days together with their larvae).
Clean it with a brush or even a vacuum cleaner afterwards. Moths will freeze and die and any larvae will go the same way.

5th tip: Good storage

Linen bags for shoes Moths can get through extremely tight spaces. When storing woolens, resealable plastic bags or plastic boxes are best for keeping pests out. To protect the items from condensation, wrap them in lengths of clean cotton or put them in cotton/linen bags, and store. You can also use those little silica packets that come with some electronic or clothing items to keep them dry.
Be careful if you are putting something away for long time storage -- containers rather than bags are advisable and more serious protection from condensation would be needed.
If resealable bags are not an option, store your items in frequently aired wardrobes in cotton bags and take them out for inspection from time to time to avoid nasty surprises.

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