The Dos and Don’ts of Yarn Storage

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Storing your yarn stash takes some thought to make sure your yarn is in good shape and ready to use for your next project.

pile of yarn

Here are some tips:

  • Do not store yarn in plastic bags. Yarn needs to breathe and depending on the fiber can hold up to 30% it’s weight in moisture without feeling wet. I have seen cotton yarn mold because it was stored in plastic bags in a humid climate!
  • Store all yarn in a climate controlled environment, not in a damp basement or hot attic.
  • Store yarn in an extra closet (hanging shoe holders work great for this) or in plastic tubs out of direct sunlight.
  • Do not store yarn in baskets on rugs. Carpet beetles love to eat yarn!
  • The best way to store yarn for a long period of time is to place it in old pillowcases in a closet (a linen closet is perfect!) in the main living area of your home or on open shelving out of direct sunlight.
  • Do not store unlaundered garments, the buggies love them!
  • Store all washed crocheted wearables folded on a closet shelf or in a dresser. Hanging garments stretches them out of shape.
  • Moths like undisturbed dark places, so if you leave your crocheted garments out all year in a closet or dresser you use daily, they are less likely to take up residence!
  • Cedar, lavender and other herbal remedies to prevent moths or bugs works because of the smell. If you can no longer smell the fragrance, it is not working.
  • Moth balls may work, but the off-gas emitted can actually damage your yarn. If you use moth balls, make sure they do not come in direct contact with your yarn.
  • Got moths?! If you see moths, throw out the offending yarn immediately! It is not worth taking any chances with the rest of your stash. Some say you can put the yarn in the freezer for a month or two to kill the moths, but that doesn’t kill any eggs that may be present. The best thing is to get rid of the yarn and thoroughly clean the area.
  • It may be a bargain, but do not buy yarn at garage sales unless you know what to look for! If it smells musty or breaks when you pull on it, do not buy it! It has been stored incorrectly. And you may bring home some uninvited critters in the bargain!

Deb Arch and her yarn stash

Designer and Annie’s video instructor, Deb Arch stores her yarn on open shelving in her craft room.

Have you figured out a great way to store your yarn stash? Send a photo to editor@crochet-world.com so we can share it with our readers.

14 Comments

14 Responses to The Dos and Don’ts of Yarn Storage

  1. mick says:

    I recently found a couple metal hope chest stored in a attic in Phoenix Az where temperature I am sure reach well over 130 degrees in the summer. They were probably stored up there for at least 15 years or so. Would the yarn still be any good?

    • Jackie Daugherty says:

      Mick, I would not take any chances working with this yarn. Since most fiber crafts take so much of our precious time, it would be a shame to use it and find out the fiber is compromised. More than likely, this yarn will show signs of damage. Take a length of yarn, and tug on it. If it breaks, it has suffered irreversible damage due to the high temperatures in the attic.

  2. Eunmi says:

    Hi I leave in CA and I believe I have stored my yarns correctly, but they are 2-3 years old. Are they still good to give it a try ? I appreciate your opinion!

    • Jackie Daugherty says:

      Eunmi, If stored properly yarn can be kept for a very long time. Here are a few things to check:
      1) Smell the yarn, does it smell musty? If so, it may have molded and I would toss it out.
      2) Take a length of yarn, about 12 inches, and tug it gently. Does it break? If so, that is dry rot and should not be used.
      3) Look the yarn over and check for bugs or moth damage. If you find broken or weak areas, that is a sign of an infestation and the yarn should be thrown away.

      If your yarn passes all of these tests, you are safe to use it for your projects.

  3. Ella says:

    Hi I keep my yarn in a shelf (no plastic bags) with plenty of space between each drawer but its kept on an enclosed balcony. I am wondering about humidity and should I bring it inside now when autumn is here?
    I get very different answers from different friends, they are super worried about mold, but my yarn is never directly exposed to rain since the windows on the balcony protect them.

    • Jackie Daugherty says:

      Ella, all yarn is best stored in a climate controlled environment such as your home. Not the basement, attic or porch. Also, yarn should not be stored in plastic bags or tubs for very long as all yarn holds moisture and when it is in a plastic bag, the yarn cannot breathe and can mildew, rot or mold.

      They very best way to store yarn is on shelves in a closet in the main living area of your home. If you are worried about dust, yarn can be placed in pillow cases to keep it clean.

  4. Mary the weaver says:

    I have my yarn organized by fiber in plastic bins. Would it be best to take a drill and put some small air holes in each one? Or would that allow moths in? The room is in the main part of the house, climate controlled.

    • Jackie Daugherty says:

      Mary, as long as your house is not too humid, storing in covered plastic containers should work. I have tried drilling holes in plastic unsuccessfully, so I don’t bother with that. As far as moths, if your house if pest free now, that should not be a problem.

  5. Lynn Soloway says:

    If yarn should not be stored in plastic bags, why is it acceptable to be stored in plastic tubs or containers. Isn’t it the same philosophy?

    • Jackie Daugherty says:

      Lynn, thanks for your question. Storing yarn in plastic containers is not ideal, but is acceptable if the they are stored in your climate-controlled home (not the attic or basement). Plastic bags, especially if tightly closed, tend to trap moisture.

  6. Ellen Mabry says:

    Could you store yarn in the vacuum-sealed storage bags?

    • Jackie Daugherty says:

      Ellen, I suppose you could. I assume it would be moisture free if vacuum-sealed. Just make sure you store it in a climate-controlled environment – not an attic or basement.

  7. Megan McGonigal says:

    I have started making baby blankets for my future great-grandchildren. My oldest grandchild is 17, still in high school and planning to go to college. The youngest is 2, so great grandchildren are still a long way off. What’s the best way to store them so they can be used that far into the future?

    • Jackie Daugherty says:

      Megan, What a sweet thing to do! Since you need to store your heirloom crochet for such a long period of time, I would invest in acid-free boxes and tissue paper and store them in your climate-controlled home – not the basement or attic. You can search online for acid-free boxes and tissue paper.

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