How should you store your threads?
Two questions we hear frequently are “What’s the best way to store my threads” and “How can I tell if my thread is old?”. Both questions tend to go together because properly storing threads will decrease degradation due to dust accumulation or UV exposure (or the occasional dog thinking thread is a chew toy).
The best way to store any thread or fabric is to keep it out of direct sunlight and away from air vents. Sunlight, especially UV rays, can fade colors and cause some threads to become brittle over time. We're not talking days or weeks, but exposure over a prolonged period of time can cause damage. Air vents can cause dust to collect on open spools and cones of thread. The dust doesn’t affect the thread as much as it can affect your machine. Imagine dust covered threads running through your tension discs and contact points on your machine. The dust will come off the thread and stay in your machine. It's not a pretty picture. It’s a good idea to keep your threads in a drawer, closet, or in a closed plastic case/tub.
Bobbins in a plastic storage case
Handy Nets keep your thread from unraveling when sewing or in storage
Threads made today are of higher quality and last much longer than threads of yore. Synthetic fibers, like polyester threads, can last 100+ years without compromising quality. Modern day high-quality threads made from natural fibers like silk or cotton are processed with new technology and will last perhaps almost as long as synthetic fibers.
If you're worried about using an old thread from your stash, try the snap test. Unwind 6-12" of thread and hold it firmly with both hands (thread in the middle). Pull apart until the thread breaks. If the thread has a clean break and snaps, it's still good to use. If the thread feels like it's pulling apart like taking a cotton ball apart, it belongs in the trash. Threads that don't snap will be difficult to stitch with, break often, and cause you frustration.