Storing Vintage and Heirloom garments at home

How to Care for Your Vintage or Heirloom Garments at Home

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We have seen so many fascinating pieces come through our doors at Rey’s Cleaners to be cared for.  Many are items that were tucked away at the back of a loved one’s closet that have yellowed with age or deteriorated under the arms or whose beading fell apart in several areas. Other garments are treasured, one of a kind finds at a local thrift store that have similar issues but just really need a little TLC to bring back to life.

This gown for instance was a wedding gown found in one of our client’s mother’s closet.  It was her grandmother’s and as you can see it had yellowed with age tucked away out of sight.

Heirloom Wedding Gown Before Restoration
This beloved vintage wedding gown was forgotten in time and desperately needed some tender loving fabricare.

How can one let these items go? It just can’t be done, they need to be saved. At Rey’s Cleaners, we’ve taken in these items and with a little bit of meticulous patience, soft hands and gentle elbow grease, taken aged items back in time and restored them to their former glory.

Here you can see how our client’s grandmothers heirloom wedding gown was restored back impeccably.  Wedding gown restoration happens to be one of the most thrilling services we provide because it is intensely high risk, but oh-so-absolutely rewarding when you see the improvement.

Heirloom Wedding Gown After Restoration
Wedding Gown Restoration Success!

Here are a few tips for you to do at home so that you can help your vintage items to last as long as possible:
1. Hanging Heavy or Beaded Items
Do not leave them hanging, especially if they are quite heavy. Beaded and or heavy items should be either gently rolled with acid-free tissue paper so as to avoid putting stress or prevent stretching of the fabric. If you know they’ll be put away for a long time, consider buying archival quality acid-free, dye-free tissue paper to protect the folds or rolls of the fabric and place into an archival quality box.  We have them for sale at Rey’s and will place the gown in its optimal positioning for storage. Please give us a call for more information at, 786.235.0795.

2. Wood Hangers or Sturdy Plastic Hangers
If the vintage piece is light, storing them hanging up might be the best thing for it. However, don’t use wire hangers. Use either wood hangers or sturdy plastic hangers that don’t cause the shoulders to pinch or nipple out.
3. Take Poly Plastic Off for Storage

Take the vintage items out of plastic (actually its a good rule of thumb to take all items in your closet out of plastic, especially in Miami!) South Florida is known for its high humidity and nothing says mold or mildew more than high humidity trapped in poly plastic. The reason cleaners place your items in plastic in the first place is to ensure that they are protected from the elements for safe passage back to your home. Once home, please take them out of the plastic bagging and let your items breathe.

4. Keep your Treasured Garments Out of Sunlight or Harsh Lighting

Sunlight and/or bright lighting can eventually fade bright colors or unevenly discolor garments. Place your vintage items into breathable garment bags or sweater bags and keep them in a dimly lit area. These bags are made of a breathable material that will help circulate air whilst still protecting your treasured items inside. We have these breathable bags available for sale at Rey’s  Cleaners too. Call for pricing, 786.235.0795

5. Keep an Eye on Your Treasures

Check on the vintage pieces every now and again as the years go on. A good rule of thumb to put on your calendar alert is every 2-3 years.  If you begin to see any signs of yellowing or age, take the items in to Rey’s for restoration. It’s always easier to remove the beginnings of aging signs then to wait until the entire garment has aged to a deep yellow.
6. Store your vintage/heirloom items in A/C

Air Conditioning and breath-ability are key. If it happens to be a closet, make sure your check the humidity level in the closet and try to extract it. If you’re unsure and/or don’t have the space, give us a call at 786.235.0795. Rey’s Cleaners has a permanent loft-style storage space that is air conditioned and climate controlled.

Hopefully that helps to prevent some serious damage to your vintage and heirloom garments and items at home. Don’t worry though if there’s any cause for concern, we’re only a phone call away to the rescue!

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