You can keep mildew away and moths at bay by packing your winter coats in the right way.

It’s time. We are almost at the end of spring, and we have moved on from lockdown. We can hopefully get rid of our heavy winter coats (although this is Melbourne where the weather is unpredictable).

We asked experts to help you choose the best storage method for your coats so they are in top condition when you get them next winter.

woman in black jacket and blue denim jeans sitting on brown wooden chair

Decide what you want to store

John Roberts, chief executive of Australian Wool Innovation (parent company to The Woolmark Company), says that not all coats should be kept in the summer. Wool has many inherent benefits, such as breathability or moisture control. This means wool can be worn throughout the year. He says that wool felt coats can be stored for people who live in high-heat areas in the summer. The active-use phase will be increased if wool is stored in the right manner.

Daniel Nieslsenbeck is the owner of Shop Bruce in Melbourne. He suggests that you try on the jacket or coat to make sure you are still attached to it before you store it. You might think about consigning the item or donating it if you have changed your mind about the style or fit.

Before you go to the store, restore

Charlotte Hicks is the designer and founder of Esse Studios. She suggests that you spend time at the end to make your coat look as good as when it was new. She recommends repairing any minor faults like torn pockets linings, belt loops or missing buttons. This is essential “so that things don’t fall apart” after the item is packed away.

She suggests that you dry clean your coat at the end of each season to “prevent any residual spills discoloring the fabric over the course of time”. This will “remove any odours that can attract unwelcome friends”, she says.

Nieslsenbeck agrees. Nieslsenbeck agrees.

Practise best storage

assorted-color clothes lot

Wool and other animal fibers can attract moths. It’s important to make sure that your woollen, cashmere, or mohair coats don’t get eaten.

After your coat is cleaned and repaired, don’t put it in a dry cleaning bag. Hicks recommends hanging coats on round, broad-legged hangers to keep the shoulder shape throughout the winter. To repel silverfish and moths, cover the coat in a calico bag with cedar wood balls. A cedar wood suit hanger should also work.

Roberts concurs that wool can be preserved as new by wrapping it in light cotton fabrics.

Nieslsenbeck & Hicks recommend against vacuum-packing coats into airtight bags. The suction can cause the coat to lose its shape. Nieslsenbeck suggests that you store your coats folded with acid-free tissue paper in clear plastic bins. He also recommends adding some  .Huon pine block . to repel moths. Nieslsenbeck says that packing boxes shouldn’t be filled to the brim and should be stored in an environment that is free of mould, damp, and humidity.

Storing puffer jackets

As with woollen coats and puffer jackets, down jackets and jackets should also be kept clean. However, it is not a good idea to take a down jacket to a dry cleaner.

Instead, wash your down jacket in a machine at 30C. Select the extra rinse option, and skip the spin cycle. Follow the instructions on the label for down-specific detergent. Because traditional detergents can strip down its natural oils, and adversely affect loft (how puffy) and performance, this is crucial. Puffer jackets can be washed in warm water for up to an hour. After the coat has been soaked, squeeze out any excess water, making sure to not wring it.

It is important to dry your puffer before you put it in storage. This is a tricky task because down absorbs so many water that it can feel dry much faster than it actually is. Mildew can develop if down is left wet.

It will generally take between 24-48 hours for it to dry depending on the weather. It’s a good idea for it to get a little fluff every now and again as it dries.

To get rid of any clumps, dry the coat with some tennis balls or dryer balls. After you are sure the coat is dry, make sure it is not stuffed tightly. If you want to know how Kathmandu does it, Kathmandu offers an online guide.

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