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Caring For Your Winter Clothes

Winter is a challenging time for your wardrobe and snowstorms certainly don’t help either. The clothes we wear tend to have more sensitive fabrics, heavier weights, and constant exposure to the elements. If you got caught in the snow during our recent snowstorm or are worried about exposing your clothes to the snow, now is a great time to make friends with your dry cleaner; who can make sure your favorite garments will always weather the weather.

Although some wool items claim to be machine washable, they will last longer if properly cared for by a dry cleaner. Water can stretch the fibers and cause a garment to lose its form. Delicate knitted items can also be hand-washed, but again, will last longer and look better if given professional attention.

Leather gloves should be taken to a dry cleaner at least once a season to keep the skin healthy and conditioned. Gloves made from fabrics can be gently hand-washed, but to avoid deforming them, it’s best to take them to the dry cleaner, as well.

Salt and other thawing chemicals like alkaline crystals can severely damage the leather on your shoes. They will dry out the skin and cause it to become brittle, which—along with moisture from snow and slush—can cause irreversible damage. The easiest way to prevent this damage is to regularly wipe off your shoes when you get inside. Still, the act of entering warm buildings from cold and wet environments can cause great stress to leather, so it should also be regularly conditioned. Consult a professional dry cleaner or cobbler on the best approach to care for your leather footwear in the winter.

Fabric moths tend to thrive in colder months. While the fully grown moths are harmless, their growing larvae can chew holes through your garments. Dry cleaning your winter clothes regularly—and especially before storing them for long periods—will effectively kill off any moth eggs.

Moisture is probably the biggest source of danger for your winter clothes. Between perspiration, precipitation, and constant fluctuations in humidity, your coat’s fibers can really suffer if not cared for properly. Always try to keep them as dry as possible, and avoid storing them while they’re wet. Lay wool out flat to dry, while making sure to avoid any wrinkles or creases. Do not hang wet garments with sensitive fabrics—and if you must, try to always use broad plastic hangers that can support the garment’s weight without warping it at the shoulders.