How do I store my fabrics?

Having a proper storage system for your fabric collection is essential for keeping your fabrics clean, protected, organized, and accessible. Understanding the best ways to store different types of fabrics will help maximize their lifespan and keep them looking their best.

Why is proper fabric storage important?

There are several key reasons why properly storing your fabrics is crucial:

  • Prevents damage from light, moisture, bugs, and dust – Direct light, variations in temperature and humidity, bugs like moths and silverfish, and dust and dirt can all cause fading, discoloration, holes, and other damage to your fabrics if they are not stored correctly.
  • Avoids creases and wrinkles – Folding or bunching fabrics incorrectly can lead to unsightly creases and wrinkles, especially in delicate materials like silks and linens.
  • Retains original vibrancy of colors – Light and air can cause dyes and prints to fade over time. Storing fabrics in dark, enclosed spaces preserves the original vibrancy of the colors.
  • Maintains fabric structure and shape – Hanging, folding, and stacking fabrics with care maintains the shape, drape, and structure of the materials.
  • Keeps fabrics clean – Proper storage containers and areas protect fabrics against dust, dirt, spills, and other elements that can soil them before use.
  • Allows access and visibility – A good organizational system makes it easier to see what fabrics you have in your collection and access the ones you need for projects.

Tips for storing fabrics

Follow these general tips for keeping all fabrics properly stored:

  • Store fabrics in cool, dark spaces – Light and heat can damage and fade fabrics, so choose storage areas like closets out of direct sunlight.
  • Maintain consistant temperatures and humidity – Fluctuations in temperature and moisture can deteriorate fabrics over time. Keep storage spaces climate controlled.
  • Use acid-free tissue or paper – Separate folded fabrics with acid-free tissue or archival paper to prevent dye transfer and creasing.
  • Keep fabrics clean – Wash and thoroughly dry fabrics before storage to prevent mold, mildew, and insect damage.
  • Allow adequate airflow – Do not pack fabrics too densely into containers and leave space between shelves and racks so air can circulate.
  • Use cedar products for moth protection – Cedar-lined chests, drawer sachets, and closet liner boards help repel moths and other insects.
  • Keep fabrics under pressure – Use stackable bins or shelving to keep folded fabrics compressed and wrinkle-free.
  • Store vertically when possible – Hanging full bolts of fabric vertically avoids pressure points that can weaken and distort the materials.
  • Clean storage areas regularly – Dust and vacuum storage spaces regularly to keep dirt and bugs from accumulating on your fabrics.
  • Use fabric protector spray – Treating fabrics with a fabric protector spray before storage adds a protective barrier against dirt, moisture, and stains.

How to store common fabrics

Certain types of fabrics have particular storage requirements. Follow these guidelines for keeping different fabrics in great condition:


  • Fold loosely and store flat in cool, dark places away from direct sunlight.
  • Use acid-free tissue between folds and stack no more than 4-5″ high to prevent creasing.
  • Store in breathable containers like acid-free boxes or cotton fabric bags.
  • Wash before storage to remove sizing, then thoroughly dry to prevent mildew.
  • Maintain humidity around 50% to avoid brittleness from overly dry storage conditions.


  • Roll loosely on acid-free tubes or loosely fold and interleave with acid-free tissue.
  • Store flat in shallow, lidded boxes or bins.
  • Keep out of direct light and avoid humidity above 60% which can cause mildew.
  • Allow linen to fully dry after washing before returning to storage.
  • Iron at medium heat as needed to smooth out creases and wrinkles before refolding for storage.


  • Store in sealed plastic bins or garment bags with cedar products to repel moths.
  • Use loose folds and acid-free tissue between layers.
  • Keep in cool, dark spaces between 50-60°F.
  • Let wool fabrics air thoroughly if storing while damp to prevent yellowing from moisture.
  • Refresh wool by steaming or pressing with a cool iron before returning to storage to maintain shape and structure.


  • Roll loosely on acid-free tubes or fold using archival tissue between layers.
  • Keep out of direct sunlight in enclosed storage tubs or chests.
  • Maintain temperatures under 70°F and steady humidity around 55%.
  • Gently hand wash and completely air dry silks before storage to avoid creases.
  • Use cedar blocks or sachets to repel insects that can damage delicate silk fibers.


  • Fold with creases matching up to avoid imprinting folds.
  • Store flat in stacks no more than 5” high.
  • Keep in cool, dark spaces and avoid humidity exceeding 65%.
  • Wash before storage and allow to fully air dry to prevent stiffness.
  • Use fabric freshener spray lightly before storage to keep denim smelling clean.

Chiffon, lace, and delicate fabrics

  • Roll loosely around acid-free tubes or loosely fold using tissue between layers.
  • Keep in flat, rigid boxes or chests to prevent crushing.
  • Store in cool, dark spaces with 50-55% humidity.
  • Dry clean before storage and reshape while damp on a flat surface.
  • Use cedar sachets or blocks to protect against insects.

Outdoor and performance fabrics

  • Roll around tubes or loosely fold and stack no more than 5” high.
  • Keep in lidded plastic bins.
  • Store in a cool, dry place protected from moisture and direct light.
  • Wash and thoroughly air dry before storage.
  • Use fabric protector spray to guard against dirt, stains, and water.

Knits and stretch wovens

  • Fold using acid-free tissue between layers.
  • Store flat in breathable bins or boxes.
  • Keep in cool, dark spaces maintaining 50-60% humidity.
  • Allow freshly washed knits to fully dry while laid flat before storage.
  • Lightly steam knits before storage to smooth wrinkles and prevent distortion of the fibers.

Quilting fabrics

  • Roll fabric bolts around acid-free tubes or fold small cuts using acid-free tissue between layers.
  • Keep in sealed plastic bins to protect from dust and dirt.
  • Store out of direct light in a dark closet or shelving unit.
  • Maintain temperature around 65°F and stable humidity around 60%.
  • Wash unprinted fabrics before storage and press flat while slightly damp.

Choosing the best storage solutions

The right storage containers and organizational tools can make it easier to neatly store your fabrics while keeping them clean and protected. Consider these storage solutions:

Clear plastic bins

  • Available in stackable sizes perfect for organizing folded fabrics.
  • Allows you to see contents easily.
  • Seals out dust, dirt, bugs, and moisture.
  • Can integrate cedar blocks for moth protection.
  • Lids can pop off if overstacked, so don’t pile too high.

Acid-free boxes

  • Available in archival quality for safe fabric storage.
  • Breathable option for cotton, linen, and delicate fabrics.
  • Stackable when not overfilled.
  • Dark color blocks light to prevent fading.
  • Must be kept on shelves or in closets away from moisture.

Chests and trunks

  • Often cedar lined for effective insect deterrent.
  • Vintage and antique options add character.
  • Can double as furniture in craft rooms or bedrooms.
  • Difficult to access contents at the bottom or in the middle.
  • Humidity and dust can be a problem if not perfectly sealed.

Garment bags

  • Available in large sizes with multi-garment capacity.
  • Clear window allows visibility of contents.
  • Prevents crushing and wrinkling.
  • Easy to hang from closet rod or fold and stack.
  • Plastic traps moisture if fabrics are damp before storage.

Acid-free tissue

  • Interleaves between fabric layers prevent dye transfer and creasing.
  • Maintains shape and structure of delicate fabrics.
  • Can leave shreds behind on fabrics if low quality.
  • Difficult to source in bulk at affordable prices.

Cedar products

  • Cedar-lined chests, cedar blocks, and cedar sachets repel moths.
  • Fresh, pleasant aroma.
  • Also available as closet liners, shelf lining, and storage chests.
  • Scent diminishes over time and needs replenishing.
  • Can be expensive compared to other storage options.

Acid-free fabric tubes

  • Ideal for gently rolling fabrics without sharp folds.
  • Maintains shape and structure of delicate fabrics.
  • Rounded edges prevent imprinting lines on fabric.
  • Tube inserts must be purchased separately.
  • Rolling and unrolling fabrics can cause wear if not done carefully.

Vacuum storage bags

  • Compresses fabrics to save significant space.
  • Clear material allows viewing contents.
  • Seals out bugs, dust, and humidity.
  • Not suitable for delicate fabrics that require draping.
  • Can flatten and misshape fabrics if overly compressed.

Hanging fabric racks

  • Allows full bolts to be stored vertically without folding.
  • Easy to flip through to view options.
  • Maintains drape and prevents creases.
  • Fabrics require lots of vertical space.
  • Not suitable for small cuts and scraps.

Shelving units

  • Stackable, adjustable options optimize vertical storage space.
  • Open construction allows air circulation.
  • Can customize with bins, boxes, and hanging racks.
  • Fabrics exposed to light, dirt, and humidity unless enclosed.
  • Shelves can bow or collapse if overloaded.

Creative storage solutions

If you are short on closet space, try one of these creative storage solutions for your fabric collection:

  • Underbed storage with clear plastic bins makes use of wasted space.
  • Decorative armoires, wardrobes, or cabinets for a compact storage piece that doubles as a furniture accent.
  • Bookcases turned on their back can hold large clear bins of neatly folded fabrics.
  • Plastic drawer carts are great for stashing small cuts of fabrics while keeping them flat.
  • An over-the-door hanging rack provides vertical storage for full bolts.
  • Repurposed dressers offer plenty of drawer space for neatly filed fabrics.
  • Freestanding coat racks with extra shelves or pegs can store folded fabrics or full bolts.
  • Vintage trunks lined with cedar panels keep fabrics protected from bugs in a stylish container.

Avoiding common fabric storage mistakes

It’s important to know what not to do when storing your fabrics. Steer clear of these common storage mistakes:

  • Leaving fabrics compressed, folded, or bunched for prolonged periods, which can imprint creases.
  • Letting fabrics sit damp or humid before storage, leading to yellowing, stiffness, and mildew.
  • Exposing fabrics to direct sunlight, which causes fading, drying, and damage from UV rays.
  • Storing fabrics in non-archival materials like cardboard that can discolor or deteriorate delicate textiles.
  • Using cheap thin plastic bins that easily crack and break.
  • Overstacking fabric containers or shelving, crushing and misshaping contents.
  • Leaving fabrics uncovered where dust, bugs, and dirt can accumulate.
  • Failing to wash or dry clean fabrics before storage, risking stains and pests.
  • Storing different fabrics together without protection allowing dye transfer between materials.
  • Neglecting to clean and vacuum storage areas regularly so bugs and dust take hold.


Caring for your fabric collection by using proper storage methods helps keeps your fabrics looking and feeling their absolute best for years to come. Take steps to keep them clean, wrinkle-free, organized, and protected from light, moisture, dust, and insects. Invest in archival storage materials and avoid common mistakes like direct sunlight and improper folding. With the right storage solutions and habits, your fabrics will be ready whenever inspiration for your next project strikes.

Leave a Comment