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How Do I Store a Dance Costume?

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    • 1). Clean dance costumes immediately after use. Use a professional cleaner rather than doing it at home. Dance costumes are often complex in construction with layers of different kinds of materials. Washing the costume at home may distort or destroy some of those materials.

    • 2). Hang some clean costumes on padded hangers. If the garment has twill tape loops for hanging, use them to take the weight off the garment; you may want to attach your own twill loops if they are not already sewn in. Do not hang costumes that are stretchy or that have heavy full skirts, trains or beads. Chiffon and other lightweight material also does not hang well.

    • 3). Stuff the bodice and sleeves of costumes on hangers with acid-free tissue or clean cotton sheeting to maintain the shape of the garments.

    • 4). Cover garments on hangers with clean unbleached cotton muslin or sheeting.

    • 5). Fold clean garments that cannot be stored on hangers in acid-free tissue paper or clean unbleached cotton muslin.

    • 6). Pack folded costumes in acid-free cardboard boxes. Use boxes without windows, which are fragile and can get punctured.

    • 7). Store costumes in a space that is away from outside walls and away from areas where people smoke or where there may be strong odors.

    • 8). Keep the shades drawn in the storage room and turn off artificial lighting when not in use. Light damages fibers and can cause fading. Sunlight and fluorescent lighting are particularly damaging, because they emit high levels of ultraviolet rays. Damage caused by light is irreversible.

    • 9). Clean the storage area regularly to deter bugs.

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      Remove the stored items annually and examine their condition. Wash cotton covers and other cotton storage supplies yearly. Repack folded garments with the folds in different areas to redistribute wear.

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