When you pick up items of clothing from the dry cleaner, they typically come in thin, clear, plastic garment bags. Once you get them home, it would make sense to simply pop them in your closet, in the bag. After all, these are pieces of clothing that you’re paying someone else to clean, so they must be worth the investment, and are something you want to protect.
But that’s not the case. In fact, plastic dry cleaner bags can actually harm your clothing over time. Here’s what to know about safely storing your garments.
Why you shouldn’t store clothing in plastic dry cleaner bags
Dry cleaners put your clothes in those clear, plastic bags as a way to protect them from the elements and prevent them from getting dirty or damaged on their way back to your home. They were never meant to be permanent storage.
This is because your clothes need to breathe, and—as you know if you’ve ever worn anything made of vinyl—plastic does not breathe. When you leave your clothes in plastic bags, they could make it difficult for the clothing to release any dry cleaning chemical odors they may have absorbed in the process.
Plus, the plastic garment bags trap humidity, which, if left long enough, could result in mildew, which then could weaken the fibers of the fabric. It could also cause yellowing in the garment, which may happen if moisture comes in contact with one of the chemical used to manufacture the plastic bag.
How to safely store clothing
If you have special articles of clothing that you want to preserve and protect, your best bet is to use cotton garment bags with zippers. Cotton allows the clothes to breathe, while still keeping dust, moths, and other pests away from the fabric.