6 Tips For Cleaning Winter Garments

Look Behind Before You Look Ahead

By Emi Schemmer
April 4, 2017
Fashion, Lifestyle

Warmer days are finally here to stay, meaning it's time to start thinking about winter wear storage and other spring cleaning necessities.

As we jump into springtime here in the city, it’s essential to spare a moment and think of what we’ll be leaving behind — winter clothes as a start. I can’t encourage you enough to start collecting any of your heavier garments — wools, jackets, coats, even sweaters — and head over to your local dry cleaning shop.  But if you can’t or don’t want to, there are a few things you can (and should) do at home. After all, storing your garments properly now only means that you’ll be able to use them again next winter (and save yourself some cash).

Here are six tips to make sure your warm wools, soft cashmeres, and ever so cozy leather jackets are cleaned and stored with care and love.  

1. Wash Before You Store

Just as you would launder your everyday garments before putting them in your closet, it’s important to take the time to do the same with heavier items to make sure you remove any oils, perfumes, body lotions, food stains or aromas and perspiration which all can be very damaging to fabrics especially if left unattended. Take them to the nearest dry cleaning shop or wash at home, but never store them in the closet without properly taking care of them.

Storing your garments properly now only means that you’ll be able to use them again next winter.

2. Hand-Wash Your Cashmere

Cashmere must be hand washed — unless you have an extra delicate hand-washing setting on your laundry machine. Use a clean sink, lukewarm water, and add only a small amount of gentle detergent such as The Laundress’ Wool and Cashmere Shampoo (¥3,456) or even baby shampoo. When washing, turn your garment inside out, gently squeeze rather than wring or twist, and rinse with lukewarm water (until all suds are gone). To dry, lightly press the washed garment between clean towels, lay out flat, and keep away from any heat sources. As a natural and delicate fabric, it’s important to reciprocate this type of gentle care to maintain the integrity of the piece.

3. Use Vinegar Mixture & Masking Tape To Remove Leather Stains

Leather garment care can be intimidating. For spots and minor stains — whether on garments, bags, even shoes — moisten the dirty area with a lukewarm soft cloth and gently blow dry at low heat from an arms length distance. Next, use a diluted vinegar water mixture (a teaspoon in a medium sized bowl should be plenty) and blot away any stains. For darker leathers, use a leather soap or conditioner, and for makeup, try using masking tape to cover and then pull off the stain quickly. 

4. Use Freezer Bags To Save Your Leather Pants

Handling leather pants is a much easier task. Some of you may have heard of the trick of putting your leather pants in the freezer. If you haven’t, guess what? It really works! Place your leather pants in a tightly sealed large Ziploc bag and leave overnight. This trick will kill any bacteria and also remove odors. You can also spot clean the lining of your pants — so long as they aren’t lined with silk, allow to dry and proceed with the freezer trick!

5. Use Leather Protector Before Storing

After you have done everything else possible, use a leather protector (spray or cream) on your delicate leather items before putting them back in the closet. I personally recommend Collonil’s selection, which you can purchase online or other similar sprays and cream from any major home center or department stores. 

5. Store In Dry Places

Now that you’ve cleaned and prepped you garments for storage, make sure that your winter wear is stored in a cool and dry space to avoid exposure to humidity and all consequences associated with it. Don’t store in damp basements, closets or attics.

6. Avoid Cardboards Or Plastic Boxes

For long term storage, try to avoid cardboard or plastic boxes — this can in fact make your garments not only smell, but can also lead to yellowing of the fabric as well as they may attract moths and other little critters. For proper long term storage of your garments, it’s important to use breathable storage bags, bins, covers, or even bags. I recommend something made from cotton or linen — and this is something you can buy at any department store, Tokyu Hands, Loft, Muji and even Nittori.

Spring cleaning is all about putting everything in order in the right away and in the right time. Every minute spent getting organized now will be well worth it later! Happy spring cleaning!