The Proper Way to Machine Wash and Care for Your Sweaters
Can you feel it in the air? Sweater weather is here, and whether we’re talking cashmere or an ugly holiday sweater, there are some crucial know-hows when it comes to washing and caring for your favorite knits.
Read the Label: First and foremost, you will want to read the fabric care instructions on your sweater’s label to make sure it is machine washable. Certain materials are hand-wash or dry-clean only, so you’re better off leaving these to the professionals at your local cleaners. If your sweater is machine washable, read on for the next step.
Choose a Quality Detergent: Sweaters are sensitive, so it’s important to treat them gently. Make sure you’re using a high-quality detergent that’s formulated for delicates, such as Woolite, but be sure to only use a small amount. A teaspoon for smaller loads, and a tablespoon for larger loads should do the trick.
Wash with Other Delicates: Don’t wash your sweaters with bulky items, as this can create friction and cause pilling. Instead, keep your delicates together or place your sweaters in a mesh laundry bag to prevent them from being overhandled.
Select the Right Water Temperature: For the most part, you’ll want to use cold water when washing your sweaters to prevent shrinkage; however, there are materials that can be washed with warm water, such as acrylics. Generally speaking, sweater materials that are natural need cold water, while manufactured materials need warm water.
Choose a Delicate Cycle for a Short Length: The gentle or permanent-press cycle runs at a slower speed, which will keep your sweaters from being stretched out of shape. Select the shortest length or lightest soil and skip the spin cycle.
Always Air-Dry: Even if the label says you can put your sweater in the dryer, it’s best to play it safe and air-dry it using a rack or by laying it flat on a water-proof surface. Keep your sweaters away from heat or direct sunlight and reshape them as much as possible to help keep their original form.
Store Your Sweaters Properly: Avoid hanging your sweaters to keep them from stretching out of shape, and instead neatly fold them in a drawer. Once you’re ready to pack away your knits for the season, be sure that they’re clean and dry before storing them to keep stains from setting in.
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