How to clean and care for sweaters?

Knitwear is a Fall/Winter essential for both men and women. Not only are they great for keeping warm but also for layering and building well coordinated outfits. Investing in good quality sweaters and knits is a must for a stylish and functional wardrobe. Living in a country like the United Kingdom means that the weather can quickly change even in the summer time so lighter cardigans and sweaters are something we Brits can never get enough of. However, washing your knitwear incorrectly can cause it to loose shape or shrink which is a definite no-no. The good news though is that if your sweater is woolen, you do not need to wash it as often as you would other fabrics. This is because wool has natural anti microbial properties and simply airing your favourite woolen sweater between uses means its good to be worn again. This also applies to woolen socks and other woolen items. In this blog post, we are sharing some tips to clean and store sweaters the proper way.

Caring for wools and sweaters:

  • Before putting away sweaters or washing them, be sure to empty out the pockets and remove any jewellery or accessories. Button up your jumpers and close zippers as well. 
  • Remove cigarette and food odours from your woollen garments by laying them flat on a table or surface for an hour or so. Better still outside in the fresh air. 
  • Fold your sweaters and stack them on shelves in piles of 4 or 5. Make sure the piles are not too high.
  • Hang your wools and knits on padded hangars.  Make sure not to hang bulky items on hangars, use them for lighter items like cardigans or sweater dresses instead. This is because hanging bulky woolen garments can distort their shape.
  • Add lavender bags amongst your knitwear to keep them smelling fresh. This will also deter moths from damaging the items. 
  • At the end of Winter season, store your woolen coats and sweaters in clear airtight storage boxes. Not only will the box protect your knits from getting into contact with insects and dampness but you can also see what is inside to help prevent you rummaging around. If you do not have clear boxes, try to label your boxes or cartons to make life easier.
  • Rest your woolen garments for 24 hours before wearing them as it gives the garment time to turn back to its original shape if stretched.
  • Be careful when ironing wool and press woolen sweaters on the wool setting on your steam iron. Make sure they are neither wet nor completely dry before ironing them.
  • If wool gets wet, dry away from direct sunlight and heat. Never use the tumble dryer for woolen garments as it can cause them to shrink.
  • Steam such as that in a hot bathroom can get rid of wrinkles and creases in woolen garments which saves you having to iron them. 
  • Do not use fabric softeners on your jumpers as it can cause the fibres of the garment to soften making them more susceptible to forming bobbles. 

Note: It is advisable to wash knitwear by hand and not use the washing machine.

Follow the steps highlighted below to clean your knitwear and sweaters at home:

  • Before choosing to wash your wool sweater, determine if it needs a wash or can a stain removing agent also do the job? You only need to wash wool if it smells or you can see physical dirt or grime on it. Some good stain removing agents which are safe to spot treat woollen items include De Solv It Stain Remover readily available on Amazon or Dr Beckman’s Stain devil pre wash range.
  • Always read the care label before washing. Use lukewarm water and mix it with some mild liquid soap. You can also use special wool cleaning liquids for the job. They are neutral and mild so gentle on your woollen sweaters and garments. Some of the best wool cleaning liquids in the market include the Ecover delicate laundry liquid and the Persil silk and wool washing liquid. Avoid using detergents containing bleach and bio detergents containing enzymes. 
  • Submerge the garment in the water and let it soak for about 5 minutes. 
  • Carefully rinse the garment in warm water making sure there are no bubbles. 
  • Don’t wring or twist the garment. Instead, lay it flat on a thick towel to air dry it. Remember never to tumble dry woollen garments or dry them in direct sunlight or heat. 
  • Bobbles on your jumper? Combat them by using sticky tape or pick them off by hand. Bobbles are the main reason washing machines and fabric softeners are not recommended for jumpers and woollen sweaters. 
  • If you do choose to use the washing machine, the key is to soak your woollen garment in cold water before putting it in the washing machine and only use gentle colder cycles on the machine. If your machine has a wool setting or a hand wash cycle use that instead and steer clear of the tumble dryer!

Even though we have compiled a comprehensive list of dos and don’ts for when it comes to cleaning and caring for your sweaters and knitwear, woollen garments are still prone to shrinkage and losing their shape. Moths are another nuisance which can attack your woollen clothes and knitted garments. 

Because of the delicate shrinkage prone nature of woollen garments, it is best to get them cleaned by experts like Gold Dry Cleaners. Not only do we have in house experts with years of experience in cleaning and renewing woollen garments but we also have special drying techniques to ensure no lumpy misshapen garments result. We can apply steam on semi dried wool garments and give them their shape back if required. Gold Dry Cleaners offer a complete range of knitwear care services including jumpers, light cardigans and heavier knitwear. Starting from only £5.50 for lighter knitwear, try our services today!

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