The following material is summarized from a brilliant Phd thesis submitted by Kirti Manek.
Humidity and temperature affect textiles the most. A high relative humidity leads to the fibers absorbing water and become swollen and low relative humidity causes the fibers to give off the moisture. This leads to abrasion and in presence of dust particles it becomes even more detrimental. It can also initiate dye yellowing, bleeding and natural browning of the fiber. High humidity will lead to moth and mildew activity.
Silica gel placed inside the cupboard can normalize the relative humidity. Quick lime lumps can also be used for dehumidification. One can also use sufficient quantity of cotton hidden inside concealed cases; cotton being hydroscopic, will absorb the moisture. All the measures as given above can reduce humidity.
Light affects both dyes and fibers. It fades the dyes and degrades the fibers. Prevent the textiles from getting exposed to light until absolutely needed.
Silver fish, cloth moth, cockroaches, termites are some of the insects that can damage the textile fibers. Silver fish feeds of starch present in the fibers- left over of sizing and starching. Damage by cloth moths is done by their caterpillars after coming out of eggs. Carpet beetles feed on wool and silk, they leave neat holes in the cloth with powder of the same color.Cockroaches stain the textile material with their excreta. Termites feed on anything made of cellulose. Even microbes such as fungi, algae and bacteria can discolor the textiles and reduce its performance properties.
Use napthalene balls. One can use dhoop ( Guggal) or Ashwagandha to prevent from insects. One can use liquid insecticides and all storage drawers can be treated with those. Vacuuming the textiles and dry cleaning it will keep it free from microorganisms.
Will continue in the next Post