What is the safest way to store textiles?

It is important to store textiles properly to avoid damage over time.

Flat in drawers with lifting sheets. If you need to fold them place a small cushion (cotton filled with dacron) or roll of cotton inside the fold to prevent creases developing with time. Hanging on well-padded coathangers (cotton and dacron or acid -free tissue paper. This takes the strain off the seams and prevents creases developing. Large textiles like tapestries or patchwork quilt covers can be rolled onto a large cardboard or plastic roller. Polypropylene is better than PVC and cardboard should not be the coarse brown type which contains acids. Use tissue or cotton between the layers as you roll it. This will prevent bleeding of the dyes from one layer into the next.

Inspect regularly for insect infestation. Silks and wools are particularly vulnerable to several species of moth and beetle. Bag in polythene and freeze for 48 hours any infested material.

Colin Macgregor , Manager, Materials Conservation
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