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March 25, 2020

Storage Conditions for Linens

stack of clean white towels on a table in front of washer

Circumstances can arise where linens need to be stored for an extended time due to excessive inventory, facility remodeling, or emergency closures (such as the COVID-19 pandemic). If your linens are not stored properly, damage can occur. Be sure to understand how to properly store your linens , and what kind of damage to look out for to improve your storage methods.

Types of storage damage to look out for

The three main concerns that can damage cotton products during storage include:

  • Mildew/Excessive Moisture
  • Pests
  • Sunlight

What are the ideal storage conditions for cotton and cotton blended items?

Cotton fibers prefer a cool, dark, and well-ventilated area away from sunlight. This includes both 100% Cotton and Cotton blends.

What are the important factors to control when preparing linen for storage?

There are three important factors when it comes to storage prep. If you follow these tips, you’ll set yourself up for success and limit the potential for storage related damages.

  1. Cleaning the product.
  2. Packaging Method/Materials Used.
  3. Storage Conditions.

Cleaning the product

Launder your products prior to storage. We recommend the following wash instructions:

  • Use a full/normal wash cycle.
  • Target a pH of 6.5 for the product after washing.
  • Do not use softeners or starch, they can yellow overtime.
  • Completely dry the product, try not to over dry…must not be damp.
  • If possible, let the product sit for 6-8 hours prior to final packaging. Room should be a dry cool place – 50-80º F. This practice will allow cotton moisture content to equilibrate to the proper level.

Packing Method/Materials

Plastic is not recommended for storage because it does not breath and is prone to condensation due to temperature variations. Not only that, but if the plastic is not BHT free, it can yellow cotton. One of the best coverings are discarded sheets or canvas bags. Stacking on wire shelves and covered with a sheet in an appropriate storage area would be ideal. If boxing is necessary, use cardboard, but line the box with a discarded sheet to prevent staining of stored linen.

Find the right storage area

The optimal storage area should include the following features:

  • Secured/protected from insects and rodents.
  • Ventilated and temperature controlled (humidity control would be ideal).
  • Without windows and free of sunlight.

For additional information, contact your sales rep or reach out to our technical services team online.