How to Store Heirloom Textiles


Some of us are lucky enough to have inherited antique textiles that were made by ancestors long, long ago. To receive a quilt or sampler that was made by the hands of one’s great-great grandmother is not only receiving a piece of world history, it’s also the opportunity to get a glimpse into one’s own personal history. Gifts like this should be both treasured and preserved for future generations. If you have a family heirloom that is an antique textile in your possession, first, consider yourself fortunate, and second, be sure to take the proper measures to safely store your ancestor’s work. Storing your precious textile in a climate controlled Lock Up Self Storage facility near you will ensure that it will last many more lifetimes by providing the optimal conditions necessary for textile storage.

The climate controlled Lock Up Self Storage facilities provide you with the perfect cool, dark, dry, and clean environment to store valuable textiles. However, environment is only part of the recipe for successfully storing heirloom textiles. Here are some procedures that should be followed before placing your items into your Lock Up Self Storage unit:

  1. Clean your textile. Dust particles can actually act like abrasives to the delicate fibers in textiles, cutting through them. Washable items should be gently washed, leaving them unironed, unstarched and unblued. If washing is not an option, try to remove as much dust from the item with a weak hand vacuum using a screen to protect the item, or by gently shaking it out.
  2. Wrap in clean white cotton. Your textiles should have no direct contact with wood, plastics, tissue or other wrapping paper. These items contain acids that are destructive to textiles. It’s best to use clean white cotton cloths such as bed sheets or pillow cases to gently wrap textiles. Don’t pack them too tightly or place in airtight containers as fibers need air movement to prevent moisture issues.
  3. Store your items flat. Folds will compromise fibers over time, causing breakage. If you must fold, be sure to pad any sharp creases with clean cotton strips. When a piece is taken out of storage, care should be taken to re-fold the item differently when returning it to storage so that the fold creases do not deepen over time. For particularly fragile items, cover a cardboard tube with clean muslin and roll your fabric around it. This will effectively prevent destructive creases.
  4. Store away from light. Both sunlight and indoor fixture lighting are damaging to natural cellulous fibers (think: linen and cotton) as well as animal fibers (think: wool and silk).

Following these simple steps and storing your heirloom textiles in a climate controlled Lock Up Self Storage facility will keep them safe and sound for future generations.

Have you used a Lock Up Self Storage unit to store any family heirlooms? Please tell us about it! If you would like to use The Lock Up to store family heirloom textiles, call 1-866-327-LOCK.


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