There are several reasons why one might want to store a futon. Some of these reasons include:
- keeping a guest futon
- keeping different season-appropriate futons
- freeing up floor space
Whatever the reason, it is important to properly store your futon in order to prevent damage and extend its lifespan. In this article, I will talk about correctly storing your futon.
Before Storing Your Futon
It is important to know what materials your futon is made out of because then you can properly store your futon. You can find this information on the tag on your futon or on the packaging when you buy it. This information may be in Japanese. Depending on the material, how you should dry your futon will be different. Also, as will be mentioned below, storage may be a little different for each material. For example, animal-based materials, such as feather and wool, are more susceptible to insects and also especially should not be stored vacuum-sealed. Proper preparation is essential before actually storing your futon.
Dry Your Futon
Let your futon dry out. You may think the humidity isn’t particularly high, but futons retain a lot of moisture. The easiest ways to dry your futon would be to hang it out in the sun or use a futon-dryer. Please see the articles about how to dry a futon outside and inside for more details. Be sure that your futon is completely dry before storing your futon.
Vacuum the Futon
After you dry the futon and perhaps brush it, vacuum both sides of the futon. Brushing or VERY lightly beating your futon will bring dust, mites, and other unpleasant bed-fellows to the surface of the futon. You will want to use a vacuum to remove of the aforementioned unpleasantness. Many vacuums even have a special futon-cleaning nozzle.
It’s also not a bad idea to have your futon professionally cleaned before storing your futon.
Storing Your Futon
Don’t Vacuum Pack
To save space, many people use a vacuum-sealed bag to store clothes and futons. However, vacuum-sealed bags tend to compress futons to the point that the futon loses much of its fluffiness and won’t return to its previous shape. This is especially true of feather-filled futons. For this reason, down futons should never be vacuum-packed. But, regardless of the materials, most sources agree that futons should not be stored in vacuum-sealed bags.
If it is a necessity to vacuum-store a futon, this website recommends compressing the futon only 1/4th of the way.
In relation to this, don’t place items on top of the futon when storing it. This will also compress the futon and cause it to lose its shape.
Prevent Moisture Build-up
One of a futon’s worst enemies is moisture. Moisture causes mold and bacteria to flourish, which may in turn trigger allergies and cause musty smells. Humidity is at the highest in the rainy season in June and during muggy September. However, heating inside during the winter months can cause condensation to form inside, which is also a worry.
In order to prevent moisture build-up, firstly, take care in choosing a breathable storage case, particularly with wool or down futons. If a futon is stored in a airtight case, eventually, moisture will build up. Cotton is a good material for a storage case. Many home-goods stores sell storage covers specially-made for storing futons. Wrapping your futon in old cotton sheets is also a valid way of storing your futon. You should fold or roll up the futon and place it in the breathable storage case before putting it in the closet. The storage case will help keep off dust and keep insects out. Since dust can retain moisture, a case that keeps dust out will also help prevent moisture build-up.
Secondly, store the futon in a high place, such as the top shelf of a closet. The humidity level is relatively lower in raised places. Placing the futon on a slated wooden grate in the closet will further reduce humidity levels. Also, you can place drying agents, such as humidity-reducing packets and sheets in the closet to further keep levels down. Be careful to choose drying agents that last for at least as long as you plan on storing the futon, unless you are comfortable with changing the drying agent more frequently.
All futons are susceptible to becoming home to insects, but futons made of or filled with animal-based materials, such as down or wool, are even more inviting to bugs. To prevent insects from living in or damaging your futon, you can use a futon-safe insecticide, often sold at home-goods stores or drug stores. Additionally, as with drying agents, be sure to choose an insecticide or insect-prevention method that will last as long as you plan to store the futon.
Check the Futon Periodically
If you plan on storing a Japanese futon for six months or more, there is a chance it could sustain some damage from moisture or insects, even with the best prevention measures put in place. At fixed intervals, preferably at least once every six months if not more often, it is a good idea to check the futon, air it out, vacuum it, and then put it back in storage in order to extend the life-span of the futon. Also, when you are cleaning, open your windows and the doors to your closets to let in fresh air.
I hope these tips have helped you in storing your futon!
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I am not a futon expert — I just use a futon! I have gathered, translated, and arranged these care instructions from the following sources which focus on how to go about storing your futon.