As you may be aware, I’ve recently moved to Brisbane and as usual in the summer it’s hot and humid a lot of the time. I’ve noticed a few friends have cronic mould problems on walls and furniture, which seem to be aided by clove oil.
I was starting to get a bit worried though about the storage of all my wool, cotton and other yarns. I’m lucky enough to have a craft room, which is under the house and a little bit cooler as it’s all concrete walls, however it’s a bit more open than the proper house upstairs. There’s also the issue of moths.
I have now conducted some research into this and this is what I have discovered:
- wool – a protein fibre, attracts mould, high susceptibility to insects, store in low light
- cotton – a cellulose fibre, attracts mildew, low susceptibility to insects, store in the dark
- nylon – no issues with mildew or mould, low susceptibility to insects, store in the dark
- Ensure yarn is clean
- Ensure yarn is dry (leave to dry a few days before storing)
- Ideal storage temperature is 18 to 20 C (65-68F), relative humidity 45-50 percent.
- If adding mothballs, make sure they’re in a cloth bag, as balls can not directly touch the yarn
- lavendar and other strong smelling herbs can mask the smell of mothballs
- Don’t use PVC containers – Safe containers include those made of polyethylene, polyester, and polypropylene, or acid-free cardboard/paper. Can also wrap things in brown paper.
- air out storage box every few months, and also expose the wool to sunshine
- don’t cram yarn in – allow room to breathe
- advice from Ravelry forums suggests
- baking wool in the oven or freezing in the freezer for 30mins to kill any possible nasties (one suggestion includes putting the entire stash in the car and leaving it to bake in the sun!)
- throw a few drops of cedar essential oil onto a cotton ball and throw it into the ziplock bag with any suspect yarn
- for humid climates you can add silica packets to each storage box
Killing critters in your yarn
- drowning, freezing, baking all works, see Pest problems and fiber storage (pdf) for more details
- use approved wool wash
- dry items flat
- allow a few days to dry before storing as yarn may still contain moisture
Cleaning yarn that’s gone mouldy
- take wool outside so as not to spread spores around your house
- brush off any loose mould
- expose to sunlight for a few hours (approx 3hrs)
- sunlight kills mould and mildew
- wash in approved wool wash being careful not to agitate or stress wool as this will make it felt (matt together)
- dry flat in sun – unravel your balls
- leave for a few days before storing to ensure all moisture is gone
Some of the resources I found useful: