Don't Leave Your Clothes In The Dry Cleaning Plastic Too Long. Here's Why

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Laundry storage is not always as simple as just tossing your items in a bag and placing them in your closet. In fact, making laundry storage mistakes like this can actually ruin your clothes, so it's important to care for your fabrics properly. Armed with the knowledge of how to protect your garments, you'll be able to prevent pests, stains, mold, mildew, and more from damaging these items when they are stored in your closet. There are a few precautions to take to ensure your clothes are not at risk of becoming damaged. Dry cleaning plastic, for example, is not the best material to use for long-term garment storage. It can trap moisture that may lead to mildew, and the plastic covering also contains a chemical that can give your clothes a yellow hue. 

The next time you get your clothes dry-cleaned, be sure to remove them from the plastic covering as soon as you get home and store them in your closet properly. You can also help reduce plastic waste by entirely ditching the covers the dry cleaning business provides. If you are interested in this added benefit, consider requesting that your local dry cleaning business leave the plastic off of your garments or bringing your own cotton covering for them to use instead.

Why you should remove the dry cleaning plastic from your clothes

Dry cleaning businesses place plastic over clothes to protect them temporarily. They should only remain over your clothes until you are able to hang them up in your closet, as they are not designed to be used to store garments long-term. This plastic covering is not breathable, which makes the inside of the bags a potential mildew breeding ground. Further, even dry-cleaned clothes can contain a bit of moisture from the cleaning solvents businesses use along with the steaming and ironing process they undergo. This moisture cannot escape when it is trapped in plastic for an extended amount of time.

In addition to the risk of mildew growth, the plastic covering you get from your local dry cleaner likely contains Butylated Hydroxytoluene (BHT). This is a preservative that can make your clothes turn yellow after it comes into contact with air pollutants or moisture. If you do end up with yellow staining on your dry-clean-only clothes due to BHT, you will need to take them back to your local dry cleaner to have the stains removed. This can be costly and time-consuming. Removing your clothes from the plastic covering as soon as possible is vital to avoid these complications.

How to protect your clothes without dry cleaning plastic

On the other hand, if you really need to dry-clean your laundry but want to avoid damaging your clothes by putting them inside of dry cleaning plastic at all, you have a few alternatives. As previously mentioned, you can avoid using a protective covering altogether if you plan to hang your clothes up right away. You can also store your clothes in cotton if you need to protect them either in the short- or long-term.

Unlike dry cleaning plastic, a cotton garment bag will allow your clothes to breathe. You can purchase one from Amazon, such as the Hayden Hill Luxury Cotton Garment Storage Bag that costs $44, to use to safely store your laundry. If you would like to save money by creating an affordable laundry room DIY alternative to a garment bag, you can also use an old cotton sheet. Simply cut a hole in the center so that you can fit your hangers through the sheet. Place it over your recently dry-cleaned clothes and hang them in your closet. This protective layer will keep dust and debris off of your clothes without trapping moisture.