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So wooden hangers are bad, yes? Alternatives?

Discussion in 'PUBLIC Vintage Fashion - Ask Questions Get Answers' started by BigBrother, Oct 30, 2022.

  1. BigBrother

    BigBrother Registered Guest

    I was reading the storage guide on here a few weeks ago and was surprised to see wooden hangers warned against, given their acidic property. I never knew this, and found it surprising given the generations and generations who've used them (thinking especially of menswear), but maybe it's indeed a thing.

    But then I've also heard plastic is bad. Gah!

    (I'm beginning to think the only true way to store vintage is suspended in a force field, flat, in a vacuum, in a heretofore physically-impossible level of darkness, with a moth bouncer outside enforcing the strictest of policies :).)

    So what material *is* considered safest/best for hangers?
    nsweezie and Flannery Crane like this.
  2. Jonathan

    Jonathan VFG Member

    Wood is fine if its varnished, only raw wood is acidic but frankly the whole acidity issue is controversial in the museum field right now - what's more of an issue is hanging things that are too fragile, or will get fading/dirt along the hanger tops. More damage is done by hanging things that should be boxed. Lying flat should be all knitted, beaded, and bias-cut garments, chiffons, brocades, lames, satins etc. Really the only things that are safe to hang are cotton, poly and wool dresses and suits. What is more important is that what is hung is on a sturdy hanger and not one that the hook comes out of because its a piece of cheap Chinese crap, and pad the hanger, even a bit of tissue paper (acid-free preferred) is good, and even moreso, cotton, especially if its padded with poly fibrefill. DO not pad hangers with dry-cleaner bags, or leave those spongey things dry cleaners put on wire hangers, and like Joan Crawford said - NO WIRE HANGERS - EVER.
  3. Distantdetails

    Distantdetails Administrator Staff Member

    Is anything better than Jonathan’s mini-lessons?! THANK YOU!!
  4. Jonathan

    Jonathan VFG Member

    Thanks Janine - It's only because I am constantly dealing with this at the museum. Some museums do hang a lot of their collection but they also add extra tapes sewn to the waist seam and side seams, to loop onto the hanger to alleviate any stress on the shoulder line -- it's an ongoing job... We use varnished wooden hangers and unvarnished wooden hangers wrapped in acid-free tissue for hanging suits and coats, but we also use inert plastic hangers, and plastic suit hangers. I do occasionally use those felted plastic hangers that tend to snap when they get old or overladen, and they aren't recommended, but we use them as a temporary way to hang things with wide necklines and made of slithery fabrics sp they won't fall onto the floor, which is the prime objective...
  5. BigBrother

    BigBrother Registered Guest

    pink pineapple likes this.
  6. Flannery Crane

    Flannery Crane VFG Member

    Thanks Jonathan!~
  7. lkranieri

    lkranieri VFG Member

    I made many padded hangers based upon the instructions in THIS video.
  8. Jonathan

    Jonathan VFG Member

    The problem with plastic hangers is the material they are made from and many suppliers don't list what type of plastic. If its PVC (Polyvinylchloride), the avoid them. You want Polyethelene or polypropylene, which are stable and inert. Write and ask the manufacturers if they don't say, but chances are they are polyvinylchloride. Having said that, we do have some hangers in the collection that are PVC, as well as artifacts that are made of PVC, and we are trying to replace the hangers, and isolate the artifacts. PVC tends to get brittle or soft with age and it off-gasses substances that can harm other chemicals in the collection.
  9. pink pineapple

    pink pineapple Registered Guest

  10. BigBrother

    BigBrother Registered Guest

    Jonathan likes this.
  11. Jonathan

    Jonathan VFG Member

    That should be a good solution. The only issue I would worry about is that wooden hangers these days seem to like to come off of their metal screwed in hooks if you put anything too heavy on them - at least the cheap walmart ones do, maybe the IKEA hangers are better.
  12. BigBrother

    BigBrother Registered Guest

    I think these ones are fine, from everything I've seen (plus IKEA tends to be cheap, but not cheap :)). The clear acrylic lacquer I guess is still unknown but maybe I'm being way too concerned (?) :)
    Jonathan likes this.

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