From coats and boots to artificial Christmas trees and stockings, here’s why it’s important to dust the items you’ve kept packed away all year—plus, learn tips for maintaining your storage space.
Once the turkey has been picked to the bone and the football games are over, it’s a tradition among many families to break out the holiday decorations in preparation for the month of merriment ahead. But after a year of being packed away, it’s likely your stockings and lights have collected some dust. Before you deck the halls, try these tips for cleaning all your winter gear and keeping your storage area tidy all year long.
Whether or not you clean all your winter items before storing them for next year, accumulating some dust while in storage is inevitable. This buildup of dead skin cells and hair, clothing fibers, bacteria, dust mites, soil and pollen can lead to poor indoor air quality.¹
- Winter coats, gloves and hats: Dust mites feed on the dead skin cells found in fabrics. If the label allows, wash your winter coats, gloves and hats in 130-degree water to kill them off.
- Winter boots: Between snowmelt and salt, our winter boots take a beating all season long. Remove caked-on dust and debris from last year with a 50/50 mixture of water and vinegar.
- Faux holiday trees, garland and wreaths: Run a handheld vacuum over each branch, taking care not to knock off the needles. Next, wipe it down with a microfiber cloth dampened with a mixture of water and dish soap. Let it air dry before adding any bows, ornaments or lights.
- Stockings, tree skirts and pillows: Place delicate décor items in a mesh bag and tumble dry with cool air to remove dust. Always check the garment tag for specific laundering instructions, especially if beading or stitching is involved.
- Ornaments and other collectibles: Christmas ornaments and collectibles are often passed down through generations, so you don’t want to risk ruining them with cleaners that are too strong. Instead, gently wipe them down with a microfiber cloth, which is best for trapping dust.
- Candles: Nothing says “holiday” quite like the scent of pine or cinnamon. Clean dust and fingerprints from candles by wiping the surface with a piece of nylon or a soft cloth. (Air care tip: If you want to enjoy your favorite holiday scent without getting candle soot in your air, try a Flitrete™ Whole House Air Freshener that clips onto your HVAC filter and spreads delicious smells through your entire home.)
- Books: Dust is one of the biggest detriments to books, damaging paper and covers over time. Keep your vintage copies of A Christmas Carol and The Night Before Christmas in tip-top shape by lightly dusting them with a microfiber cloth or feather duster.
- Use plastic containers rather than cardboard boxes to properly protect your belongings from dust and termites.
- Place boxes on shelves or pallets to keep them off the ground, minimizing dust buildup and promoting good air circulation.
- Clean items with dust-repelling products—like fabric softener sheets, baby wipes, or a vinegar and water solution—before putting them in storage.
- Cover large items, such as furniture, with cloth tarps.
- Deep clean your storage space at least once per year.