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Why You Should Store Clothes in Cotton Garment Bags Rather Than Plastic

Though synthetic garment bags are insufficient for long-term clothing storage, other types of garment bags are ideal. Learn more why breathable materials are the best choice for your clothes.

a woman in a pretty white dress carrying a white garment storage bag over her shoulder

With all the plastic garment bags you have likely accumulated from trips to the dry cleaner, you might be considering using them to store your garments long term.

And, while we wholeheartedly support repurposing and reusing items, we recommend you send this type of bag to your nearest recycling centre.

Not only does this type of bag negatively impact the environment, it can also negatively impact your luxury garments.

3 Reasons Not to Store Clothes in Plastic Garment Bags

1. Plastic garment bags offer minimal protection for your clothes.

Dry cleaning bags are ideal for short-term uses like transporting clothing from the dry cleaner to your home. They even provide some protection against dust and dirt. But, when it comes to storing your clothes long term, these bags are inadequate.

Using synthetic bags for long-term clothing storage  may cause your pieces to get mould, discolorations, and yellow spots, have fabric and structural breakdown, or even be infested by moths.

Even if you store your clothes in an area without direct sunlight, dust, mildew, or humidity, these bags are not made to withstand long-term storage.

white woollen clothing covered in plastic garment bags

2. Plastic garment bags do not allow your clothes to breathe.

It may sound strange, but just like people, clothing needs to breathe. In other words, while in storage, it is best if your clothing has a comfortable circulation of air. Fresh air nourishes the fabric fibres and significantly reduces the possibility of damage.

However, dry cleaning bags do not allow for air circulation. Instead, they trap moisture inside. Moisture becomes locked in the hot and humid bag and has nowhere else to go but to absorb into your clothes. And, moisture creates a breeding ground for mould growth, which can completely destroy your valuable clothing pieces.

3. Plastic garment bags harm the environment.

We are all aware of the harmful effects of plastic pollution. A number of countries have opted for a ban or minimisation of these bags due to their negative impact on the environment.

Discontinuing the use of these bags, even only as an individual, will better protect your clothing and the environment.

Better Alternatives

Though synthetic garment bags are insufficient for long-term clothing storage, other types of garment bags are ideal. The best choice, for your clothing and the environment, are garment bags made of organic natural textiles.

Only bags made of breathable materials, like cotton, are suitable for long-term storage. Hayden Hill garment bags are made of 100% organic, soft cotton with a sheer, organza side panel so you can see your pieces while keeping them protected.

a Hayden Hill garment bag made from 100% breathable organic cotton
an elegant and functional Hayden Hill hanging bag made from certified organic cotton

Garment bags made with natural textiles protect against moths, sun exposure, damage, and dust. As an added bonus, these garment bags are often deep enough to fit several pieces inside.

Another alternative for clothing storage is airtight plastic bins. Bins are easy to handle and stack on top of each other, so they are the practical choice for storing in attics, basements, or storage containers.

Useful Tips for Adequate Storage

Choosing the right garment bag isn’t the only thing to keep in mind when storing your clothing. There are a few other considerations that will ensure your clothing is in pristine condition when you take it out of storage.

1. Launder your clothes before storing them.

Laundering items before storing removes any remnants of sweat, dirt, or food that may damage your clothing and attract pests.

Storing items after they are freshly cleaned helps prevent any musty smells forming while in storage and prolongs your clothing’s shelf life.

2. Choose your favourite method for preventing odours.

Essential oils, baking soda, and cedarwood blocks are excellent options for adding pleasant scents to your clothing while in storage and preventing any musty smells from forming. 

woollen sweaters with a collection of cedarwood blocks that can also be used on hangers

Place your preferred scent in your storage location, and replace as needed every couple of months.

3. Take action to prevent pest infestations.

It is critical to take the necessary precautions to prevent moths when storing your clothing. Once infested, clothes moths can be incredibly tricky to exterminate and can completely destroy your valuable items.

Fortunately, in addition to preventing unwanted odours, cedar chips or blocks and lavender-scented sachets also keep pests away. Lavender soap, mint leaves, and neem oil will also do the trick.


Can you store clothes in zippered plastic bags?

Even though zippered plastic bags are convenient for storing clothes, they are not the best option for the longevity of your clothing. Storing items in a zippered bag creates a level of compression that can cause severe damage to the natural fibres found in cashmere and silk, as well as cracking damage to any leather item.

Should you store clothes in plastic boxes?

The only plastic boxes suitable for safely storing your clothes are airtight plastic bins with lids. This type of bin protects your clothes from moisture and insects, as well as from dust or dirt.

the message Reduce Reuse Recycle written into the sand on the beach

Using eco-friendly storage bags and containers is not only better for the environment, but it is also better for your most treasured pieces of clothing.

Purchasing garment bags made of natural materials, laundering items before storing, and taking steps to prevent odours and pests will ensure your favourite items last a lifetime.

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