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How to Care for Winter Coats

Maintain your coats with a few wise practices so that you can continue enjoying how they look, and how you look in them.


  • Step 1: Store winter coats in well-ventilated bags or containers to let them breathe while preventing moisture from damaging them. Hang them individually on well-padded cedar hangers to avoid cracking or tearing the lining.
  • TIP: Remove your coats from dry cleaner plastic immediately, as this can trap mold and mildew. Air the coat out for three days after dry cleaning before putting it away for the season.
  • Step 2: Use mothballs or cedar sachets in your closet when storing your coats. Look forward to having a clean, well-protected coat next winter.
  • FACT: An insurance company survey found that over 30 percent of women said they would save their shoes in a house fire before anything else. Twenty percent chose an expensive coat.
  • Step 3: Apply spray protectant to your coats, especially leather, to protect the material against possible staining. Spray a small test area and let it dry for 12 hours to avoid staining the material.
  • TIP: Wear scarves to keep oil and perspiration from your neck out of contact with the collar.
  • TIP: Wool coats should only be dry cleaned -- washing will cause shrinking.
  • Step 4: Hand wash wool and cashmere garments in mild, neutral, dissolved detergent -- do not run them through a washing machine. Avoid scrubbing the fabric and thoroughly rinse out all of the soap.
  • Step 5: Lay natural-fiber coats on dry towels rather than wringing them out, and blot them dry. Smooth wrinkles by hand on a flat surface and allow them to dry in a well-ventilated area. Iron natural-fiber coats if necessary, but protect delicate materials from the iron with a cotton towel or handkerchief.
  • Step 6: Air your coat out when you bring it in from the elements. Hang your coat inside out to let any moisture on the inside evaporate.
  • Step 7: Read your coat's garment care instructions thoroughly to prevent accidental shrinking or fading. Each fabric will require different wash instructions, so read carefully.

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