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What Do Vacuum Storage Bags Do To Your Fabrics?

09 July 2018

Vacuum bags or compression bags have become quite popular in the last few years as more and more people have started compressing clothes and fabrics to save space.

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Vacuum bags come in handy when one is travelling or moving from one house to the other and is short on space. They are also remarkably useful when you want to swap out seasonal clothing in your wardrobe. They can help you put away unnecessary cold clothing in summer and the vice versa in winter.

Clothing and linens, particularly comforters, pillows, duvets, and towels take up a huge amount of space in a room and they are mostly full of air and fluff.

With vacuum bags, the air inside these items is sucked out, and their bulky size is reduced to a fraction of their initial volume. The bags also keep items away from dust and moisture, and they allow you to have additional free space in your room.

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However, storing clothes in vacuum bags for quite a long time – say six months to a year – isn’t really recommended. Some fabrics need air to keep their shape and starving them air for too long doesn’t augur well with them. Other materials develop severe creases due to excessive compression.

So, does storing your clothes in vacuum storage bags damage them?

The answer is both YES and NO.

Why YES?

Cloth materials should not be stored in vacuum bags for a long time due to various reasons. One is that most natural fibre clothes need air to maintain their structure.

By sucking all the air out of the clothes, you are compressing their fibres and making the garments lose their shape.

If you store the fabrics in this state for a long time, it could potentially damage your clothes.

When the clothes are removed from the vacuum storage bags, they’ll take a very long time for the fibres to uncompress. An expert in Fiber and Polymer Science even suggested that the garments made from these fabrics will take the same amount of time they spent in the storage bags to uncompress.

So, if stored for a year, you’ll have to wait for a year until your clothes are fit to wear again. To us, that sounds a little extreme but you get the general idea.

Which materials should you avoid vacuum sealing?

Some of the materials to avoid storing in vacuum bags – either for extended periods of time or not at all – include:

• Natural fibres like wool and fur
• Fluffy items such as sleeping bags big coats and down jackets
• Leather jackets or other leather clothing

Natural fibres

As mentioned earlier, items with natural fibres like wool and fur clothing shouldn’t be stored in vacuum bags for a long time. The fibres require air to stay in their natural shape.

Storing them in compressed bags for a few months isn’t that bad, but when storage exceeds six months, you’ll start to cause damage.

If you plan to leave them in the storage bags for a long time, you should air such fabrics once in a while. Plus, remember that wool products can hold moisture in them and therefore might damage the other pieces of clothing in your vacuum bags.

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Fluffy items

Fluffy items such as coats, insulated jackets and sleeping bags that have plenty of air trapped in them to operate optimally should never be vacuum sealed.

When you suck the air out of these items, their fabric is compressed and stays in that state for a long time. There is no great way to fluff them up again.

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Sleeping bags and fluffy coats perform so well because of the air they have trapped inside. When they are compressed, their capability to keep heat within is taken away.

What was a well-insulated piece of kit, is now nothing but a thin throw or semi-warm hoodie.

Leather items

Items made of leather fabrics should also not be stored in vacuum storage bags. Intensive pressure is applied when storing clothes through vacuum sealing, and this can damage your precious leather garments. The fabric will acquire creases and wrinkles, taking away its smooth appeal.

Why NO?

When you use vacuum sealed storage bags on the right cloth materials (cotton, spandex, polyester, etc.) and for the short term, your clothes should not incur damage.

Consider using vacuum storage bags for seasonal storage or, if you want to store things for longer, air the items stored every six months.

For more advice on how to use vacuum storage bags, contact the experts at Storage Vault today or book a storage unit where there’s plenty of room for your garments, camping gear and extra duvets to breathe and thrive.

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