We provide extraordinary care for fine
garments & household textiles
While most of the USA has been digging out from
under snowdrifts and shielding against the driving rain, we've had
a relatively mild winter so far in Arizona (yesterday, I was
outdoors in a T-shirt and shorts!)
But it'll turn colder soon and you'll be finally digging out
your woolen sweaters, coats and scarves. Hopefully you won't be
greeted with little holes in any of those woolen garments.
Now you're thinking, here we go again. The vicious cycle of
storage, reweaving, wearing, and storage, reweaving, wearing.
So what can you do to break the cycle?
with most issues, before you can formulate a solution, you
need to first understand the problem.
Here's what you need to know (at a minimum) ...
The female adult moth can lay up to 200 eggs in a cycle, up to 5
cycles a year. When the female adult moth is searching for the
"ideal" egg laying location, she's looking for a source of
nutrition for the larvae to feed on when they hatch. The larvae
must feed in order to survive and grow.
Unfortunately, garments stored without first being
cleaned contain all the nutrients necessary to sustain
life for those larvae. These nutrients include proteins, mineral
salts, vitamin B complex and cholesterol that accumulate on your
garments from perspiration, body oil, food or beverage simply by
virtue of the fact that the garment has been worn.
The problem is complicated by the fact that the larvae will
often feast on the inside of a garment, on the surface of a
garment, or on certain threads in a garment. This reduces the
thickness or strength of the fibers in those places. So when the
garment is either worn, hand washed or dry cleaned, the possibility
exists that holes that were not previously visible to the naked eye
could open up.
So you need to look for areas where the cloth has been eaten
through (the fabric will show a hole with the fibers around the
edge of the hole partially eaten away). And look for areas where
the cloth has been eaten on the surface (the fabric will appear to
be "cratered" with the cloth partially eaten away). Lighter colors
are easier to detect; darker colors more difficult to detect. But,
with careful examination, you should be able to see moth damage
with the naked eye.
Now that you know what the problem is, the solution is really
quite simple: the only way to "guarantee" that you won't
have a moth problem is to hand wash and/or dry clean your fine
woolens before you store.
Even if you think your items are
clean, you ought to clean them anyway. Why? Because there are many
different kinds of stains that you may not have seen and that will
leave a layer of organic material for the moth larvae to feed
Remember the mantra: clean before you store because no
source of nutrition means no moth problem.
Notice that I've said nothing about cedar blocks, cedar chests,
cedar lined closets, herbal sachets, moth balls, polypropylene
boxes, zip lock bags or nylon or vinyl zip up bags supplied by your
favorite clothing store.
Why? Because these solutions don't
eliminate the problem, they only
contain the problem.
That having been said, you can enhance the protection of your
fine woolens while in storage in two ways:
In tomorrow's post, I'll examine what you can do about woolens
that have developed moth holes.
Here are two examples of moth eaten textiles.
Huntsman wool bespoke suit jacket
Frette cashmere throw
How can I help you?
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