Proper vacuum-seal storage bags for clothes should be made of a material substantially more durable than the kind of trash bag you pick up while shopping. This is a slightly thicker, sturdier type of plastic in most cases, but you might find that less expensive brands aren’t offering much of an improvement on that trash bag hack.
You’ll also encounter a variety of methods for removing the air from a storage bag. In this use, the term vacuum here refers to the absence of air in the bag - not the household appliance you might use to achieve that lack of air. So, you can find storage bags that you can fill with clothing, flatten and roll to push out air and create a vacuum seal.
Storage bags that do have a valve for use with a vacuum machine will feature a special zippered opening that allows you to fill the bag up with your garments. Either style can be found in a variety of sizes, but you’re more likely to find extra-large sizes in those with valves compared to roll-up style storage bags.
If you’re concerned about any impact that light exposure might have on your clothes while they’re in vacuum-sealed storage, you can choose brands that make bags from more opaque plastics. It stands to reason, of course that if anyone’s packing up clothes for vacuum-sealing, it’s not because they’ll be leaving them out in sunlight anywhere any time soon!
When vacuum storage bags first showed up on the market, you can imagine they might be a pretty big hit. It’s hard to argue against the benefit of shrinking the space bulky clothes and linens took up all while protecting them from the elements. And, vacuum storage bags deliver on their promises more often than not. After all, using a household garbage bag may not be a great idea.
The problems that come with using vacuum storage bags have to do with why people think they should be using them, and what they’re actually effective at doing. Here’s the thing - yes, sucking out all the air from around a bundle of clothing does shrink how much space they take up. And yes, a durable, completely sealed plastic covering absolutely protects textiles from external sources of damage.
In any case, the basic steps behind packing items for storage in a vacuum-sealed bag are all the same:
Step 1: Sort all the items you want to store together
Step 2: Look over each item for necessary repairs and tend to them
Step 3: Remove stains, thoroughly wash and fully dry according to each item’s care instructions
Step 4: Fold or roll each item neatly; avoid stretching or twisting anything out of shape
Step 5: Stack or store items together in as uniform a manner as possible
Step 6: Follow manufacturer’s instructions for removing air from the vacuum bags
Wrinkles are an inevitability when storing clothes in vacuum bags, so it’s better to understand how you can minimize the time it takes you to work the creases out of your clothing. A lot of this comes down to preparing your clothes for storage properly, but the type of vacuum bag you use can also play a role in how deeply creased you’ll find your clothes once you bring them up for air.
A good strategy for minimizing the chance of huge wrinkles showing up in your clothes is to pick vacuum storage bags made of a thick plastic instead of thin - the stiffness of the bag means the bag itself will crinkle up less, which can help a little.