New Delhi: Busy packing away your winter clothes? Go for Azadirachta indica (neem) or tobacco leaves instead of naphthalene balls to preserve woolens from damage, say the experts.

Storing winter dresses is a huge responsibility, especially when one wants to preserve the fabric, freshness and colours of the garments for the next season. Experts suggest that woollies are safe if kept with organic items.

"Before storing the woolens away, wash them in lukewarm water...never in too hot or extremely cold water. Put camphor tablets or clove in between folds of the woolen items," designer Aniket Satam told media.

"Delicate embroidered pieces should be wrapped in butter paper. One can also use organic items like Azadirachta indica (neem) or tobacco leaves instead of naphthalene balls to save woolens from damage," he added. Stains or particles on woolens need to be cleaned before storing them away; so dry-cleaning for some items is a must.

"If there is any residue of food particles, it can not only leave a permanent stain but also invite moths. And that will definitely eat away your precious and favourite clothes," designer Ekta Jaipuria of the brand EKRU told media.

Designer Ruchira Kandhari says after ensuring the garments are clean, "wrap each clothing item separately in a cloth". "The storage area should not be damp. Air should be able to pass through the clothes. If you have the luxury of space, it is best to hang each garment instead of folding and stacking them," she added.

One other important factor that needs attention is that closets, dressers, drawers and trunks should be cleaned before storing woolen clothes. Also, packing clothes in airtight containers can help in a big way.

"One can use plastic tubs with tight-fitting lids, plastic baggies with zippers or plastic sweater boxes. Place mothballs or moth crystals inside the storage containers and you are done till the next season," said designer Namrata Gupta of studio Anantam. Some items can be washed and ironed at home. If you are planning to do so, keep Satam's tips in mind.

"Steam pressing is needed for woolen wear. After washing, dry them well in sun. Do not store immediately after drying. Never dry them on racks or ropes. Always flat dry them and avoid squeezing while draining excessive water.

"Add a teaspoon of glycerine while washing the woolens as they will retain their lustre and protect them from shrinking during washing as well," Satam added. How does one store woolen shoes for the next season?

"Use a tissue or cotton and gently wipe dirt and moisture from the shoes. After that wrap them in a shoe bag or shoe container and store it," said Jaipuria. Also, one can nicely wrap footwear in a brown paper bag. Avoid direct wrapping in plastic bags.


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