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Thread: Is Plastic Shelving Safe for Fabrics?

  1. #1
    Power Poster Mousie's Avatar
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    I know that unpainted wood has acids that can mess fabrics up over time, but not up to painting right now.
    Thought if the plastic shelving was safe, I would trade places with stuff until I feel like swinging a paint brush :mrgreen:
    What say you, lol?

  2. #2
    Super Member jrhboxers's Avatar
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    Find some acid-free cardboard - usually available from the places that do needlework - and use that on the shelf before you stack your fabric. That will provide a buffer from the plastic. HTH

  3. #3
    Super Member donnajean's Avatar
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    I put cardboard on the shelf 1st, but don't think it's acid free - just think it's safer than the shelving.

  4. #4
    Super Member mrspete's Avatar
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    Good question, I'll be watching for all the answers. My vote is plastic is safer, but what do I know? Chemistry, I don't even know how to spell it.

    Blessings,
    Ruth

  5. #5
    Super Member ckcowl's Avatar
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    i hope its safe, been using it for years.
    i have never had any unfortunate issues with the fabrics stacked on plastic shelves other than when they collapse because i think tons of fabric should fit anywhere. but the wooden shelves fell apart sooner than the plastic ones. i have had plastic shelving units for fabrics for about 15 years...no damage to any fabrics.

  6. #6
    Senior Member OdessaQuilts's Avatar
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    I read somewhere that the plastic bins are safe for storing fabrics, so I would think that if the shelves are made of the same type of plastic material, they'd be safe, too.

    But a couple sheets of acid-free tissue paper between the shelf and the fabric likely wouldn't hurt, either.

    Hi Mousie!

    Odessa

  7. #7
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    You spelled chemistry just fine. I'm not a conservator but I am a chemist so I can at least spell it. Most plastics are very stable. A very few will outgas at higher temperatures. I can't think of any time that a painted shelf would be preferable unless the fabric is encased inside some sort of barrier. I think the issue with plastic was the fact that plastic bags don't "breathe" and molds can form inside in high humidity climate/areas.

    I hope some quilt conservators will chime in and give you their $0.02 worth.

  8. #8
    Super Member ckcowl's Avatar
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    you do want your fabric to be able to 'breath' and not enclose it in plastic (like storing a quilt in a plastic bag...BIG NO-NO) if it is open to air, like shelves it should be fine, but enclosed in a plastic bag or even a tote with a lid can be disasterous if you have any humidity. moisture gets in and mildew grows :(

  9. #9
    Power Poster Mousie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ckcowl
    i hope its safe, been using it for years.
    i have never had any unfortunate issues with the fabrics stacked on plastic shelves other than when they collapse because i think tons of fabric should fit anywhere. but the wooden shelves fell apart sooner than the plastic ones. i have had plastic shelving units for fabrics for about 15 years...no damage to any fabrics.
    You make a very good point about weight.
    My DD just showed me a place in my sewing cave where you can feel the floor joist through the linoleum bc my sewing furniture has gotten so heavy with stuff! :shock:
    I'm pondering all the suggestions here and appreciate each and every one.
    I had trouble getting back to this thread bc of pc problems.
    Hope we are all fixed up now :XD:

  10. #10
    Super Member ghostrider's Avatar
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    Plastic shelves are fine for fabric storage. I was told by an appraiser (Gerald Roy) that it was quite safe to store my great-grandmother's quilts in plastic bins as long as they are not air tight. The quilts are wrapped in sheets to prevent creasing, but fabric on a shelf would not need to be.

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