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Storing Wool Sweaters – We don’t all buy cedar chests or are lucky enough to inherit them (as I did) so what’s the best way to store wool sweaters? What are most effective methods to prevent costly damage?
Let’s learn how to correctly store wool sweaters and protect them from moths and other pests by using scented storage bags that fit on shelves, under bed zippered bags, hanging sweater storage or the ultimate hanging clothes wardrobes with cedar panels.
Buying & Storing Wool Sweaters
Shopping for sweaters is nothing new – even as knitters. As a long time knitter, it always makes me grimace to see even the most expensive wool sweaters hanging on hangers.
Here’s one way to protect wool sweaters! ==> Check Out All Moth Repellant Products
High-end stores know exactly how to display all types of knitwear from the delicate cashmere or alpaca sweater to the bulky outdoor pullover knit in a worsted weight pure wool.
Yet, few retail establishments display knits (particularly sweaters) correctly – folded as few times as possible and displayed on shelves or tables.
Have you noticed those little plastic loops attached to the shoulder seams? They are designed to prevent the sweater from sliding off the hanger. Sweaters should actually not be on hangers of any type – not even padded hangers.
However, they do absolutely nothing to prevent the actual weight of the sweater from pulling it out of shape – before you even try it on or ultimately decide to buy it.
Now that you have purchased that fine wool sweater, be it cashmere, merino or a less expensive worsted weight wool, do you know everything there is to know about storing wool sweaters so they last a lifetime?
Quick Tips About Storing Wool Sweaters
Storing Woolens for the Summer: by Kathy Wishnie
“Now that the trees are leafing out and flowers are beginning to bloom, we are shedding our winter woolens for lighter, cooler clothing. But before you run out for a hike or ball game, don’t kick that wool sweater under the bed, thinking you will worry about it in the fall when it gets cold again.
Pests may use that sweater or other unprotected wool, alpaca, mohair, angora or animal hair product as a nursery to lay their eggs. The eggs hatch in a few weeks and the larvae graze on your clothing, blankets or other woolies, often doing irreparable damage. Stopping this destruction is simple, and now is the time to prepare.
The most important thing to do before storing any wool item is to be sure it is clean. Either wash it according to manufacturer’s instructions or have it dry cleaned. Dirty wool is much more enticing to pests than clean. Besides, it is more convenient to have things ready to use in the fall when that first cold snap hits.
After they are nice and clean, wool items can be stored in a variety of ways. Pillowcases make great storage containers, since larvae won’t eat through the cotton barrier. Plus, pillowcases and other types of cotton bags are readily available and easily made. This is my favored method of storage for everything from blankets and clothing to yarn and fleeces. And I store a lot of wool! Cedar chests are effective as well as decorative, but you can get just as much protection from a clean paper bag firmly closed with tape or staples. Plastic bags or containers are a good barrier, but they don’t allow air circulation. Be sure your items are completely dry before storing them in plastic.
Scientific research shows many of the traditional fragrant herbal repellants do work. The scent confuses the insects, so they move on in search of a more compelling food source for their young. If you would like to use any of these scents as additional protection, you can use sachets containing herbs such as camphor basil, pennyroyal, eucalyptus, lavender, patchouli and many others. These sachets can be placed in containers with sweaters, blankets and socks or in your drawers and closets. Never use mothballs or crystals, because these have potential health hazards, especially for children and pets.
If you have tapestries, wool rugs or fiber art pieces, take them outside for a few hours in the sun and wind. Shake them gently to remove dust, and inspect them carefully for signs of insects or damage. Pest larvae like dark, undisturbed places, and they quickly fall off items exposed to fresh air and sunshine. As an added precaution, I use a mild insecticide that is approved for fabrics, such as one made by the Fuller Brush Company. Spray the front and back of tapestries and allow them to dry outside.
If the worst happens and you find eggs or larvae, kill them immediately. Use sprays containing pyrethrins or have the items dry cleaned. If the items are washable, soak them in soap and water for at least 12 hours to drown the eggs and larvae. Empty your infested drawers and closets, and vacuum to remove eggs or critters that might be hiding in the crevices.
Remember, it is much easier (and less disgusting) to thoroughly wash your woolens and store them properly to begin with. You’ll save money too, because usually there is little hope of repairing insect damage after it occurs.”
Reference Box: Kathy Wishnie of Belgrade, Montana, has been weaving since childhood and attended the School of the Art Institute of Chicago Fiber and Weaving Department. She can be reached at info@MountainWeaver.com, and her colorful handspun, handwoven wool tapestries, blankets and accessories are available at Mountain Weaver.
Getting Rid of Wool Eating Pests
Learn How To Get Rid Of Silverfish
When it comes to storing wool sweaters (and nearly all clothes made with natural and synthetic fibers), there is another household pest that requires our attention – the silverfish.
They don’t just feast on paper, carbs and plants. They love clothes including all types of knitwear.
But…there are home remedies for silverfish control”.
You can take the “trap them” route or discover a simple, quick and chemical-free *permanent* way to eliminate silverfish and keep them out of the house forever.
Moth Repellents For Wool Storage
Along with cedar blocks and chips , there are many other herbal sachets that act as moth repellents.
Lavendar tops the list of fragrant herbs but you can also use eucalyptus, cloves and mint. You can even create your own herbal moth repellent recipe.
Read more about the basics of moth proofing from a well known domestic diva.
Wash Your Wool Sweater Before Storage!
Before storing wool sweaters, be sure to wash them.
Own one of the washable wool sweaters? Here too you can ensure that your sweaters are cared for correctly. Use a shampoo that preserves lanolin oils and repels moths.
Try the shampoo on any sweater or accessory knit in wool blends, cashmere, merino and even mohair yarns. A cedar or lavendar sachet, a sweater box or zippered bag can go a long was towards storing wool sweaters correctly.
Just imagine…those favorite wool sweaters can become heirlooms.
Sweater Storage Ideas: Bags, Boxes & Chests
There was a time when the ultimate wedding gift was a Lane© Hope chest – to store prized dresses, linens, and possessions and keep them safe from all types of pests.
These same cedar line “Hope” chests are also family heirlooms.
The chests were cedar lined but some featured plain exteriors while others were very decorative.
I inherited the beautiful cedar lined chest seen in the photo above amd a plain chest with a black painted exterior.
The interior is pristine – I found a beautiful little fan in excellent condition nestled in the small box with a lid attached to the right side of the chest (as seen in Part 2 of the video).
Those beautiful chests are still available brand new in classic forms, country styles or as reproductions of highly prized, and hand painted Pennsylvania Dutch style dower chests.
If you are more into DIY, you can even build your own cedar chest then get out the stencils and the paints!
Current cedar chest choices? ===> View a Selection Of Decorative Cedar Chests
Cedar chests come in a multitude of sizes from miniature trinket boxes to toy boxes and steamer trunks. Many pieces of more expensive bedroom dressers and furniture also feature cedar lined drawers or shelves.
Here is another idea if you own a sizeable collection of wool sweaters and the floor space to accomodate another piece of furniture. Purchase an unfinished pine tall chest of drawers, sand all the surfaces to a smooth finish then add cedar drawer liners. When the interior of the chest is done, paint or stain the exterior of the dresser. Voilà! Your own antiqued heirloom chest.
In the meantime, I will cherish my heirloom cedar chest – this Pennsylvania classic is rather austere, full to the brim with family treasures and serves as my coffee table in the living room!
Storage Bags For Sweaters Come In All Shapes & Sizes
Today, cedar lined boxes and bags are considerably more affordable than even a cedar chest but I would love to own a true Pennsylvania Dutch painted dower chest.
Unfortunately, I would need the bank’s help to own such a conversation piece if this article is any indication of the price of an antique.
Turn your favorite wool sweater into an heirloom! Here are more helpful hints for the storage of wool sweaters.
- Buying & Storing Wool Sweaters
- Quick Tips About Storing Wool Sweaters
- Getting Rid of Wool Eating Pests
- Sweater Storage Ideas: Bags, Boxes & Chests
- More Resources