As the weather gets colder, do you dig out your winter coats from storage and wish that they don't look so tired? Or maybe you consider packing your coats away because you've already had enough of winter and decide you'd rather spend it down south somewhere. Regardless, you may have questions as to just how you should be storing your winter coat to keep it looking brand new.
Don't just toss them back into the basement closet to fend for themselves until you need them again. Here are our suggestions on how to store winter coats properly.
Just because you don't need to wear it for a while doesn't mean you can pack it away dirty. Even if it doesn't seem dirty, think of what it has been protecting you from on the outside and keeping trapped on the inside. Don't wait until next year to clean it because chances are you won't. And by the time you get to it, the oils and dirt will be even more difficult to remove, and may even be visible.
Start by checking the pockets for random things you don't want to be washing (and cross your fingers there's money in there!). Next pay special attention to the cleaning instructions on the tag. If they're too difficult to read or if you've removed the tag, follow the instructions mentioned here for cleaning a women's wool coat, down coat, or synthetic coat.
If you have a timeless wool coat that you want around for years, be sure to treat it like you want it around for years. Did you know that you should actually brush your wool coat? While experts say to brush it after every wear, nobody has time for that. Just be sure to brush it now and then throughout the season to clean out any dirt, hair, or food particles that have decided to make their home in it. Many wool coats need to be dry cleaned. If yours is machine washable, just be sure to use the delicate cycle and use a wool-friendly detergent.
As for storing your wool coat, remember the dreaded moth. They love wool and will ensure they put holes in it so it looks like swiss cheese. Invest in a moth-proof garment bag and be sure to hang it on a wooden hanger for storage in your closet.
Down coats and synthetic coats are some of the warmest winter coats, and they're also great at repelling moisture. But they can lose their fluffiness and easily show their dirt if you don't take care of them properly. It should be easy enough though, since they don't typically need to be dry cleaned, and you can likely wash and dry them at home providing the instructions say so. Keep in mind that down needs to be dried properly if it gets wet, or it won't be able to trap the heat like it's intended to. It is typically recommended to air-dry a down coat, but if you're worried that air-drying will take away its fluff factor, you can put it in the dryer on low for about 10 minutes with some tennis balls to fluff the feathers back up again afterward.
Down and synthetic coats like to be stored loosely on a sturdy wooden or plastic hanger, not packed in too close to each other. But if you're worried about the amount of space that will take up, you can store them in a vacuum-sealed bag for the season. The absence of air makes them super compact and easy to store. When you need it again, just open it up and watch the air breathe some life back into the coat. You'll want to fluff it up again in the dryer as mentioned before, but at least you won't have to sacrifice any space to store it properly. Alternatively, you can get a packable down coat that even fits into its own pocket!
As far as leather and suede are concerned, you'll definitely want to have those professionally cleaned. But storing is something you can do on your own. Just avoid using plastic garment bags as leather and suede need to breathe. Instead, choose a fabric storage bag and make sure it's stored in a cool, dark place during the summer.
As far as when to store your winter coat, that will depend on how crazy the weather is where you live. Just make sure that whatever you do, you follow your coat's care instructions and store it according to the advice mentioned here so that it stays looking like it did when you first bought it.