I was super sad to find my favourite 100 per cent cashmere sweater — a $20 consignment score — full of tiny holes last fall. I also had mould growing on my clothes. (Yuck.)
I'd been storing garments in an open basket at the top of my bedroom closet. I've known to avoid toxic mothballs — made of naphthalene or paradichlorobenzene, both carcinogenic — for years. If you smell them, you're inhaling pesticide.
And because mothballs look like candy, children and pets are at risk of eating them. Save yourself a call to a poison control centre or a trip to the vet — get rid of any mothballs today.
Then try these less toxic ways to prevent moth and mould damage on stored clothing:
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Tip 1: Put clothes away clean
Wash and dry your out-of-season wardrobe or outgrown kids clothes before you store them. Mould can grow on organic material (food stains) or moisture (sweat).
Tip 2: Cedar is a natural insecticide
Purchase cedar blocks, balls or chips for your closets and drawers from your local hardware or housewares store. Read labels carefully — some "cedar" products contain toxic chemicals.
Tip 3: Reuse silica gel packs
You know those packets that come with vitamins or seaweed snacks? Battle moisture adding them to drawers and sealed clothing storage bins or bags. Critters like moths and silverfish thrive in moist environments. So does mould.
Tip 4: Use clean containers
Don't forget to store your clean clothes in clean, dry, reusable/recyclable bins!
Tip 5: Repel moths with essential oils
Add a few drops of citronella and lavender essential oils to cloth strips and place them inside cupboards and drawers. (This can also combat silverfish, flies and moths.)
These tips will help you keep a range of fabrics types — from leather to linen and wool — in good shape for years to come!
I uncovered conflicting advice while researching this blog. What's better — air-tight plastic bins and bags, or trunks and boxes that allow for air circulation? Or does it depend on what you're storing and whether it's in a hot attic or cold basement?
Lindsay Coulter, a fellow Queen of Green