How to care for sweaters

Say goodbye to shrinkage and hefty dry cleaning bills.

Let’s bust this myth once and for all: You do not have to dry clean your sweaters. That’s right: Not even cashmere requires professional cleaning. If you’re like most people, you’re reluctant to wash your sweaters at home because you’ve had some disasters that have scared you, like when one of your wooly favorites accidentally ended up in the dryer. But if you practice some TLC, there’s no reason to haul your beloved knits off to the cleaners whenever they need a cleaning. To help you avoid the stress and save time and money, we asked Gwen Whiting of The Laundress for her advice on keeping these luxurious pieces looking pristine for seasons to come.

The Best Way to Wash Wool and Cashmere Sweaters

To help you understand why it’s possible to wash wool and cashmere at home, you must first understanding the fabric. “All animals in the wool family, whether sheep, alpaca, mohair, lamb, merino, or camel use the same cleaning process,” says Whiting. Her advice: It’s always safer to hand wash. Fill a sink, tub, or basin with tepid water and add a squirt of a cleanser that’s specially formulated for wool, like The Laundress Wool and Cashmere Shampoo. Don’t have any on hand? “The alternative is a good hair shampoo, because wool and cashmere is hair,” she says. Next, submerge your sweater in the bath. Gently swirl it around for about 30 seconds, and let it soak for up to 30 minutes. Drain the dirty water and rinse with cool, clean water. Next comes the most crucial step: “Avoid that gut reaction to wring it,” stresses the expert. “Wringing manipulates the fibers, and when the yarns are wet, they’re weaker. You might end up disfiguring your sweater.” Instead, gently remove the water by pressing your sweater into a ball (think: pizza dough). You can even press the ball into the side of the sink or your work surface.

How to Wash Wool and Cashmere Sweaters in the Washing Machine

Though Whiting prefers hand-washing, she says that the washing machine isn’t off limits. For best results, place your sweater in a mesh washing bag. Select the delicate cycle on the machine, and make sure the water temperature is cold and the spin is on low. “You can shrink or felt an item by overly agitating it,” she warns. “That’s having your machine on too high, or really going to town with the item while hand washing, is a problem.” Once the cycle is complete, promptly remove the sweater to reduce creasing.

How to Dry a Sweater

Whether you wash your sweaters by hand or in the machine, our expert stresses that they should stay far away from the dryer, which is notorious for shrinking knits. Once you’ve gotten the excess water out, lay the sweater flat on a clean towel or drying rack and re-create its natural shape. Let it air dry. To speed up the drying, roll the sweater up in the towel like a sleeping bag. Then, unroll it and replace the wet towel with a fresh dry one or place the sweater on a drying rack and reshape it again. A major no-no: Hanging your sweater up to dry. “You’re going to end up with a sleeve sagging in a place it shouldn’t be,” says Whiting.

How to Treat Stains

Is that ketchup on your sweater? Don’t freak out and dab like crazy-that will just make it worse. Whiting recommends working a stain remover into the area before the next wash. But go easy with the application. “If you’re scrubbing it with your fingers or a scrub brush, you’re going to have a visual result,” she says. “You’re either going to disrupt the weave or cause it to be super fuzzy.” Gently massaging it in will do the trick.

How Often Should You Wash Your Sweaters?

While washing or dry cleaning after every wear isn’t good for the yarns that make up your beloved sweaters, just how often you do is up to you. “It depends on your rotation, if you wear undershirts, or if it’s a sweater that goes over [a T-shirt]. Those kinds of things factor in,” Whiting says. Whiting launders her sweaters in the beginning of the season and toward the end of the season. “If you have pile of sweaters in your closet that you don’t wear on heavy rotation, then once or twice a season is perfect,” she says.

How to Get Rid of Wrinkles

Heat is kryptonite to wool, so don’t use an iron-it crushes the fiber. Instead, reach for a steamer. “Some wools, like a lighter merino or cashmere, are more prone to wrinkles after you wash-then you need to steam,” says Whiting. She also likes to use the steamer in between washes for a quick pick me up. “Steaming fluffs the yarns up and is a natural refresher.”

How to Store Sweaters

Although they’re space hogs, always fold-never hang!-your sweaters. “If you hang a sweater, you’ll end up with distortion from the hangers, you’ll have horns on your shoulder, or your arm gets stuck in the hanger and stretches it,” says Whiting. For long-term storage, avoid plastic bins, where moisture and bugs can happily thrive. “We recommend cotton storage bags because bugs can’t eat through cotton, and it’s breathable, so you’re not going to have that retained moisture.” And before you store your knits away for the season, make sure to give them a wash. “You always, always, always want to launder at the end of the season,” stresses Whiting. The main reason: moths. “You think, ‘Oh, it’s clean, I only wore it that one time’- but it’s what bugs consider food, which is your body oil, body products, and perfume. So, you’re basically leaving your clothes ripe with a food source in your storage if you don’t launder it first.”

How to De-Pill

Pilling-those little balls that form under the arms of your favorite sweaters or where your handbag lays on your shoulder-is caused by friction, which is why it appears on your favorite cardigan and not on the hideous pokey pullover sulking in the back of your closet. To stop pills from taking over, de-fuzz as you go, says Whiting, but make a special effort before storing your sweaters. Whiting swears by two products: A sweater stone for a heavier gauge yarn, and the sweater comb for a thinner weave. “They are two tools that just remove the pill, versus a shaver that won’t discriminate between the pill and the textile,” she says. Another tip: Always work the tool in one direction.

How to Deal with Moths

Once you spot tiny holes in multiple sweaters, it’s time for a closet cleanse. Empty everything out, vacuum, spray, clean, and then launder in phases,” says Whiting. “Steaming is also really great for removing bug larva.” If the problem is severe, quarantine your sweaters in plastic bags until you can wash them thoroughly

How to Take Care of Your Sweaters

Sustainable Fashion

April 18, 2019 | Kathryn Kellogg

Last Updated on April 10, 2020

Oof. Is winter finally over? Is it finally starting to get warm?

We FINALLY had a warm day in the bay area.

It was in the high 60s the sun came out, and I didn’t have to wear a jacket! Yay!!

How to care for sweaters

Now, if only I could wear a short sleeve shirt AND shorts. Doesn’t that sound amazing?

Gosh. What I wouldn’t give to wear a sundress.

So, while I may not be able to pack up all of my knits over here… it is definitely time to pack up some of the chunkier ones!

Goodbye cashmere turtlenecks – till we meet again – I will remember you fondly.

I’d like to take this time to thank my sweaters and all of the chilly winter days they got me through so figured it’d be a good time to go over some sweater care principles to keep your sweaters in tip-top shape throughout the year.

Mending, maintaining, and giving my clothing a little TLC goes such a long way in stretching my wardrobe.

I want to make sure the investment pieces I buy either from ethical retailers or secondhand shops will be with me for a long time.

One of the reasons I justify making spendy ethical purchases is because I know they will be in my wardrobe for a long time, and I’ll be able to wear them for years to come.

I like classic pieces because they’re versatile and have longevity.

On the flip side, having a high quality basic means that you have to take care of it!

I would be so bummed if the perfect cream, cashmere turtleneck of my dreams started to look lackluster because I didn’t care for it in the proper way.

So, I’ve rounded up all the ways that I take care of my sweaters to make sure they look brand spanking new year after year! And, the maroon sweater photographed below is a piece I’ve had in my closet for the LONGEST.

It’s going on 14 years old and it still looks great thanks to these tips.

How to care for sweaters

Table of Contents

1. avoid the wash:

I don’t wash my clothes super often.

I only wash them once they’re stinky which can take up to 10+ wears. Wool is a naturally anti-microbial so it’s a great fabric choice!

Not only is it warm, but it’s breathable, regulates body temperature and won’t cling onto odor like polyester and acrylic.

The less frequently you wash your clothes – the longer they’ll last!

2. spray it down!

After most wears, I spritz my clothes down with it before letting them air out.

How to care for sweaters

3. air it out:

After I take a sweater off and spray it down, I let it air out.

This means I let it breathe by itself openly before I place it folded back with another pile of sweaters.

I typically lay my sweater flat over a chair to let it breathe and let air circulate around the fibers.

You’d be amazed if you did this for all of your clothes how much longer you could stretch between washes.

How to care for sweaters

4. de-fuzz:

I’m slowly transitioning black out of my wardrobe… mostly because I have a white husky and seem to always have husky hair everywhere.

I invested in a nice wooden lint brush that has done wonders for keeping my sweaters in shape as well as a wooden comb to de-pill my sweaters.

The wooden lint brush did come packaged in plastic, but it’s really sturdy and think it will last a long time.

Plus, the little bit of plastic packaging far outweighs the disposable lint rollers.

I picked up a gorgeous cable knit cashmere mock neck sweater that was just starting to look gray and dull after two seasons.

Once I took this little wooden comb to it, the sweater came back looking good as new!

How to care for sweaters

5. but wash at the end of the season:

At the end of sweater season, you’re going to want to wash all of your sweaters.

Your bodies natural oils will attract moths and critters and the last thing you want is for them to start feasting on your precious sweaters!

I lost my favorite sweater to moth holes a few years back and It was such a sad day.

You can “wash” you nice sweaters in a number of ways like taking them to an eco-friendly dry cleaner – just don’t forget to bring your reusable garment bag!

You can steam them! I have a steamer and it’s great for sanitizing clothes and stretching washes.

Of course, you can hand wash them in your bathtub or sink, or throw them in a lingerie bag and throw them in your washing machine on a gentle cycle.

How to care for sweaters

6. store them well:

The way that my current closet is structured, I have to have my sweaters out on an open shelf, but if you can store them in a closed bin or a cedar chest, that’s recommended!

No matter where you’re storing them maybe try to grab a piece of cedar wood from your local home improvement store to dissuade the moths.

How to care for sweaters

7. homemade sweater spray:

I occasionally like to go into my closet and spray the sweaters down with homemade sweater spray.

sweater spray:

fill your spray bottle up a quarter of the way with vodka

fill the rest of the spray bottle with water

add a few drops of cedar oil until it’s pungent but not overwhelming

shake well and spray down your sweaters

I make a little bottle 2 oz and only put in about 3 drops of essential oil and use it to spray down my sweaters on a regular basis to ward off pests!

Is taking care of your sweaters part of your spring cleaning ritual?

How to care for sweaters

This post may contain affiliate linking you can read more on my disclosure page.

Courtesy of our resident Clean Person.

How to care for sweaters

Jolie Kerr is a cleaning expert and advice columnist. She’ll be here every week helping to answer your filthiest questions. Are you dirty? Email her .

I live Scandinavia and as such, I have a LOT of sweaters that get worn a LOT. And dry cleaning is horrifically expensive here. What is the best way to care for my favorite cashmere sweaters and my super-practical merino sweaters? What is the best washing/drying process? They both say “dry clean only” but wool is washable, right? Also, the dry cleaning does nothing for the pill-y cashmere. What’s the best way to get rid of the pills?

I’m ridiculously excited about this question, because I love de-pilling sweaters in the way that most people love popping bubble wrap. It’s just so satisfying! I’m also a sweater devotee, and have spent no small amount of time considering how to keep my sweaters looking as lovely as the day on which they were purchased and I’m thrilled to be able to pass my learnings onto you, my friends.

The Best Depilling Tools (And Some Not-So-Great Ones)

In my own life, I’m an insane person (full stop?) who can be driven to distraction by the appearance of pills on my sweaters and the sweaters of others. Because of that, I’ve personally tried an unreasonable number of pill-removal tools and can provide a first person report on which styles to try, and which to skip.

How to care for sweaters

Sweater combs, like the ones made by D-Fuzz-It and Dritz, are handy for those who travel or who otherwise would like an on-the-go option for removing pills from sweaters. Using them, however, is more labor-intensive than some of the other options, making combs a better choice for maintenance, rather than for removing significant pilling from your favorite pullover. In a pinch, many people use a razor blade as a DIY-version of a sweater comb, but be aware that it is incredibly easy to nick the fabric, leaving holes behind.

The Sweater Stone has a cult-like following of devotees. I, however, am not one of them, and here’s why: Every time I used it, it left pumice shavings and drifts of lint everywhere, which meant I had to get the vacuum out after my de-fuzzing efforts. It was seriously stressful for me until one day I said to myself, “Why are you living this way? Remove that blasted Stone from your dwelling—you’re stressed over a fabric-care tool, you loon.” I put it in the trash and have never looked back. But! Some people love it, so you’ll want to take my experience with a grain of salt.

A tool I very much do like is the battery-operated lint shaver. A brand called KnitPicks makes one that costs a whopping $4, but if you want something fancier, you can opt for a souped-up model like this one from House of Wonderful Wonder Lint.

I’m a save-the-best-for-last kind of gal, which brings us to the Gleener pill-removing tool. You guys, I love this thing in a way that is seriously unnatural. A reader turned me onto it, and it’s been seriously life-changing for me, as a person who cannot abide the look of a ratty sweater. I think it’s going to be the best bet for our Letter Writer, in part because it’s fantastic and in part because it comes with three blades of varying heft that can be swapped out depending on whether you’re working on a heavy wool sweater or a much finer cashmere one. The Gleener also has a lint brush that can be used to remove lingering fuzz after you’ve completed your de-pilling efforts.

The use of a de-pilling tool will solve your problem, yes, but let’s also talk a little bit about why pills happen and how you can reduce their appearance.

How to care for sweaters

Try Spot Treating Stains to Delay Washing

Pilling on sweaters occurs when the fibers fray or break and become tangled due to the friction that’s caused by regular wearing and handling. Because of that, sweaters shouldn’t be overwashed, as the laundering process involves friction. Of course, not washing sweaters will lead to the buildup of skin, sebum, sweat, deodorant and so on, which can lead to damage over time. Plus, all that stuff is making your sweater look and smell dirty!

Given all of that, if your sweater gets small stains on it, consider spot treating the stain rather than washing the entire sweater. To do so, use a mild detergent that’s safe for woolens and cashmeres, like Eucalan Fine Fabric Wash, by dabbing a small amount onto the stain using a damp rag. Blot at the stain, being careful not to scrub at it, which will create the friction that can cause pilling, until it’s gone. Then gently dab at the area again with a cloth dipped in clean water, to remove residual detergent.

You can also cut way back on the amount of buildup your sweaters are exposed to by wearing undershirts to prevent deodorant and dead skin from making their way onto the inside of the sweater. (You’re probably already doing this, but just in case, I wanted to mention it.)

How to care for sweatersThe ability to properly wash and care for your sweater collection could very well add many years to the lifespan of each sweater you own.

But there are many do’s and don’ts when it comes to properly caring for cotton and wool sweaters.

We’ll take a look at the different kinds of sweaters and determine the best way to keep each of them looking great and living long.

Men’s Sweater Fabrics

The two most prevalent fabrics we see in sweater production these days are cotton and wool. There are many essential differences between these two fibers, and we’ll look at the two major fabrics that are used to produce sweaters and determine the best ways to care for them.


How to care for sweaters

Click on the image above to buy this cotton sweater by Izod

Typically, the best time to wear a cotton sweater is in the spring, summer, or early fall, when it’s warm but too warm for a wool sweater. Cotton’s absorbency makes it very comfortable in warm weather.

With this in mind, it may be a great idea to invest in some cotton sweaters for the warmer months. Because of cotton‘s durability it is able to be washed frequently, and should be considering the fact that cotton is not great when it comes to keeping its shape, and it will also wrinkle much easier than wool.

With this in mind, taking proper care of cottons by washing the frequently is a good thing to do. In fact, cotton becomes 30% when it’s wet, so you shouldn’t be afraid to throw your cottons in the wash.

Another great thing about cotton is that its molecular structure resists heat damage, so you’re able to iron your cottons frequently as well, keeping them looking fresh all the time. Of course, all sweaters are different, and their labels will reveal the best way to wash them, so make sure you always pay attention to what the label says.


Wool, although better in the winter months for its warmth, is not as tough as cotton, and must be cared for more carefully. Wool does keep its shape much better than cotton, and it doesn’t wrinkle as much, but when the time comes to care for them, there are things to watch out for.

Heat can very easily damage wool fibers, as can water and bleach, so putting wool sweaters in a washing machine is the last thing you want to do. The best way to treat wrinkles in wool is by using steam, and the best way to wash wool sweaters of stains or dirt is to either get them dry cleaned or hand wash them.

Ways To Wash Men’s Sweaters

Dry Cleaning Your Sweater
How to care for sweaters

Dry cleaning is nearly essential for wool or wool blends. Cotton can be dry cleaned, but it isn’t as necessary as with wool. Machine washing wool will damage the fabric and probably ruin your sweater.

The best way to preserve the color and texture of your wool sweaters is to get them dry cleaned. Hand washing is an option as well, but any stubborn stains should be taken to a dry cleaner.

As many know, dry cleaning you valuable clothing can be a scary process. Click here for a complete overview of how to treat your visit to the dry cleaners and how to ensure that you will not have any of your valuables lost or damaged.

Machine Washing Your Sweater

You can hand wash or machine wash most cotton or cotton blend sweaters (but read the label on the shirt just to make sure). If you’re machine washing a cotton sweater, make sure to do it in cold water. Also, you may want to keep it away from the dryer. Simply lay if flat on top of a dry towel until it is air-dried. You may need to iron as well.

Hand Washing Your Sweater

Some, not all, sweaters can be hand washed, and their labels will tell you whether they can or not. If you have a sweater that can be hand-washed, follow these steps:

1. Gently wash the sweater with cold water and a mild soap or shampoo, then rinse the soap off with the cold water. If there is excess soap in the sweater, refrain from twisting or wringing it out as that may compromise the shape of the sweater by stretching it out. Simply press the sweater gently to remove excess soap and water.

2. To help dry it some, take the wet sweater and lay it on a dry towel. Put the sweater into its proper shape gently as it’s laying on the towel and then roll the towel up with the sweater in it. Press the towel down to remove the excess water, then repeat this once more with a dry towel.

3. Lay the sweater on a flat surface on top of a dry towel until it’s air-dried.

Cashmere Sweater Care

How to care for sweaters

Click on the above image to buy this Cashmere sweater

Cashmere tends to be a “special” fabric, especially when it comes to sweaters, so it requires special treatment. It’s not your typical wool, so if you’re looking to wash your cashmere sweater, follow these steps:

1) Gently wash the sweater in warm water with a mild soap or shampoo. Gently press excess water and soap out of the sweater, never twist or wring as this may stretch the fabric out of shape.

2) Take the wet sweater and lay it on a dry towel. Put the sweater in its shape properly and roll the towel up. Once it is rolled up, press the towel to remove excess water, then repeat again with a dry towel.

3) Lay the sweater on a flat surface on top of a dry towel until it is air-dried.

4) Once it’s dry, you’ll want to delicately fold it, trying to avoid creating a center crease. Never hang a cashmere sweater because the fabric will stretch and lose its shape. Lay it flat nicely folded.

Proper Storage For Your Sweater

Sweaters, regardless of the fabric, should not be hung. Doing this will most likely cause them to stretch and lose their shape. You’ll want to fold them properly and store them on a flat surface, either in a drawer or on a closet shelf. You can also roll the sweaters which will help if you experience creases after folding them.


The sweater is a very important piece of clothing, so it should be treated as such. Wearing a sweater will do wonders for how you look, so taking care of your sweaters properly and frequently will keep them looking for for a long time. They should be able to last a pretty long time, so making sure you take care of them may also save you a few bucks too!

Wearing a sweater to work but can’t decide what kind of sweater is best?

Related posts:

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How to care for sweaters


How to care for sweaters

The Spruce / Leticia Almeida

  • Working Time: 5 – 30 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hr – 1 day
  • Skill Level: Beginner

You can find acrylic fabrics in everything from sweaters to socks to children’s pajamas. Popular for decades because of their durability and easy care, acrylic fibers are also used prominently in blankets, upholstery, and even luggage.

Acrylic fibers are quick-drying and draw moisture away from the body. The fibers are resistant to mildew, odor absorption, insect infestation, deterioration from sunlight, oil, and most chemicals. Acrylic fibers can be manufactured to resemble wool, cotton, or a blended appearance with a smooth or fuzzy surface. The fibers hold their shape well and are easy to wash. Here’s how to clean and care for your acrylic clothes.

Before You Begin

As with any garment, it is best to carefully read care labels and follow recommended cleaning guidelines for that specific piece of clothing. Most acrylic clothes can be machine-washed. However, some labels may recommend dry cleaning because the trim or inner structure may not be washable. Delicate items and sweaters should be hand-washed and dried flat to prevent stretching.

What You’ll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Washing machine
  • Dryer or drying rack
  • Large sink or tub
  • Pressing cloth
  • Iron


  • Laundry detergent
  • Stain remover


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The Spruce / Leticia Almeida

How to Wash Acrylic Clothes
Detergent Regular
Water Temperature Warm or cold
Cycle Type Permanent press
Drying Cycle Low heat
Special Treatments Use pressing cloth during ironing to prevent melting
Iron Settings Lowest setting

Pretreat Stains

Stains on acrylic fabrics should be treated as soon as possible following specific stain removal guidelines for the type of stain. Pretreat the stains at least 15 minutes before washing so the stain remover has time to break apart the stains so the wash water can carry them away.

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The Spruce / Leticia Almeida

Select Laundry Products and Load the Washer

Use your favorite laundry detergent for acrylic clothes. If the garments are heavily soiled, a heavy-duty detergent like Tide or Persil will be more effective in removing soil. Acrylic fibers can build up excessive static, but a small amount of fabric softener in the final rinse will eliminate clinginess. Or you can use a dryer sheet.

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The Spruce / Leticia Almeida

Choose a Water Temperature and Wash Cycle

Acrylic fibers should be washed in warm or cold water. Select the permanent press cycle to help prevent wrinkles that are difficult to remove. If your washer has a high spinning rate for the final cycle (usually a high-efficiency washer), set the spin cycle rate to low.

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The Spruce / Leticia Almeida

Do not overload the washer. Acrylic clothes should move freely in the washer to prevent wrinkling.

Check for Stains After Washing

Take a few seconds to check acrylic clothes for any remaining stains before tossing in a dryer. Never place an acrylic garment stained with oil in a hot clothes dryer because the heat can set the oil stain permanently, making it almost impossible to remove.

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The Spruce / Leticia Almeida

Select a Drying Cycle

Acrylic clothes should be tumbled dry on low temperatures. Do not use excessively high heat, which can damage fibers, causing them to shrink or stretch and set wrinkles almost permanently. It is best to remove the clothes while still slightly damp and hang to finish air-drying.

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The Spruce / Leticia Almeida

Choose a Low Ironing Temperature

If ironing is necessary, use a very low iron temperature, steam, and a pressing cloth to avoid melting the fibers. If the fabric becomes shiny or develops a hole, there is no way to reverse the damage.

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The Spruce / Leticia Almeida

Storing Acrylic Clothes

Before storing acrylic clothes, be sure that they are thoroughly washed and dried. Knitted garments should be folded and stored flat to prevent stretching.


Ripped seams on acrylic clothes are easily repaired by hand- or machine-sewing. Repairing large holes in the surface of the fabric will be more difficult, and the repair will likely be noticeable.

What Is Acrylic Fabric?

Acrylic is a manmade fiber produced with long-chain synthetic polymers composed of at least 85 percent acrylonitrile, a petrochemical. To improve the fiber’s ability to absorb dyes, the acrylonitrile is usually combined with small amounts of other chemicals. Once the fibers are dyed, the fabric is colorfast. Acrylic fibers can be dyed in vibrant colors that don’t fade over time. The fabric can be dry spun or wet spun, depending on the special properties needed for particular end-use. Many performance microfiber fabrics are made of acrylic fibers.

Acrylic fibers are among the few synthetic fibers that have an uneven surface when manufacturing is complete. The fibers can be cut into short lengths and spun into threads that resemble natural fibers. They produce a fabric that drapes well and has a silky feel. Acrylic fabrics can have bulk but still be lightweight.

DuPont developed acrylic fibers in 1941 and gave them the trademarked name Orlon. By the mid-1950s, acrylic fibers and fabrics were in mass production for sweaters, gloves, and any product that needed to provide lightweight warmth.

Cotton sweaters are a mystery to many of us. We look at the washer and dryer in fear that these machines will wreck our beloved garments. “What’s going to happen if I wear this sweater and I get a coffee stain on my first wear?” Will you be showing up to work with a wrinkly shrunken sweater? Not if we can help it!

Sweaters are chameleons of fashion; whether alone or partnered with a collared button-up shirt, we can wear our sweaters on repeat. and get away with it. Let’s take a look at some questions and answers that will help us maintain the lifestyle of our cotton sweaters.

Q: Are Cotton Sweaters Warm?

A: Yes they are! They breathe like we do and they comfort us like a snug soft hug. For instance, the better the cotton’s quality (like the midweight cotton Drifterв„ў sweater) the better the added warmth in the brisk autumn days, icy winters, those misty spring mornings, and breezy summer nights. the only catch is that you will love your women’s cotton pullover sweaters forever.

Q: How Do You Care for Cotton Sweaters?

A: Always check the tag to see the care instructions: typically it’s best to hand/machine wash with cold water on a gentle cycle with mild detergents. Avoid bleach for those stains (see: stain removal sprays). If the tag is gone it may be time to upgrade to something you’ll hang onto for a while: try the Supima three-quarter sleeve sweater. For extra care, take your cotton sweater to the park, a nice joyride down a country road, or insist on paying for dinner.

Q: Can You Put Cotton Sweaters in the Dryer?

A: Avoid the dryer as much as the tag suggests, but to avoid wrinkles grab a dry bath towel and lay the sweater down on top of it, flat and formed to the sweater’s natural shape (see: dry flat). The Supima Jewelneck Sweater looks great when it’s drying flat. Just imagine how it would look to that luncheon next weekend.

Q: How Do You Store Cotton Sweaters? Is it Okay to Hang Them Up?

A: Cotton sweaters are prone to stretching, so while it’s best to avoid gravity altogether it’s the method rather than the intent. Fold your cotton sweater in half, hotdog style, and store it in a drawer. Not enough drawer space? No worries, fold the sweater in half hamburger style and store it over the hanger bar. Extra tip: For an extra space saver, grab an under-bed storage bin to utilize that hidden space. If you plan to keep your sweaters in the basement or other storage area use plastic storage bins to keep any unwanted bugs from claiming your favorite garments as their own.

Q: Can You Wear Cotton Sweaters Year-Round?

A: You certainly can. While they are most commonly worn in fall, winter, and spring, you may find yourself making reasonable excuses to cozy up to a summer campfire with a light Supima cotton cardigan. Women’s cotton cardigan sweaters will be your first choice to carry you from a chilly October morning till you realize that you made it through July, no sweat.

The daily struggle of finding something to wear hidden amongst a year’s worth of garments is an unnecessary battle. But with a little forethought and some planning, your wardrobe can be transformed from garment jungle to serene oasis where everything has its place.

How to care for sweaters

Seasonal storing of your clothes isn’t just about making your wardrobe look like the kind of kind space you see on minimalist blogs, it’s also a great way to keep your clothes in the best condition while weeding out ones you no longer wear for eBay or local charity bins.

To avoid moths, mould, dust and simple wear and tear, here are some of the best ways to store your unworn clothes and keep them in peak condition during the off-season.

Vacuum packing

Vacuum packing – sealing away your clothes in airtight bags – not only protects your clothes but also creates a lot more space in your wardrobe, which will inevitably make things easier whenever you need to get ready. Because the bags are see through, you can easily keep track of trans-seasonal items on the off-chance of cold-fronts or heatwaves.

On the downside, they can occasionally need resealing and don’t allow the clothing to breathe. They’re also not ideal for delicate clothing and can often trap in moisture, although including silica crystals in the bag can help prevent this.

Cloth storage bags

Not as convenient space-wise as vacuum packing, using 100% cotton or wool bags is much safer for delicate clothing as they allow the clothes to breathe. Wrapping clothes in tissue paper will also prevent them from yellowing and snagging on zippers or other clothes while in storage.

Storage bins

Storage bins can be an easier alternative to vacuum bags but the irony is that they require a fair amount of storage space themselves.

Storage bins are perfect for stashing summer clothing, like excess tees and shorts, and more hardwearing garments such as jeans. Using silica gel sachets will also help prevent moisture from developing mould.

Cedar, not mothballs

The scent of mothballs is at once distinct, hard to remove and never pleasant. Invest in a natural alternative such as cedar blocks that not only smells great, but works just as well, if not better, at preventing damage from moths and silverfish. Cedar hangers are also great for suits, helping to absorb moisture from daily wear.

If you’re storing leather or fur, however, cedar can actually dry the fibres out. Use sachets of lavender instead.

The type of yarn will determine how you wash, dry, and treat it.

The hours you spend knitting results in something you’ll treasure for years to come-whether that’s a vest for your baby, a pair of mittens for Mom, or pullover sweaters for you and a friend. The worst thing that can happen? Time wasted by losing it to the washing machine. That’s why it’s so important to check back on the notes in your knitting journal: Was the yarn made primarily from cotton, wool, or a synthetic fiber? The most important rule of washing clothes applies to your knit items, too: always check the care label.

If you’re not sure how to read yarn labels, the Craft Yarn Council provides a helpful graphic for reference. Every symbol has a specific meaning that refers to recommendations for washing, bleaching, drying, ironing, and professional textile care. When presenting a hand-knit item as a gift, it’s helpful to include a label from the yarn used in the project so that the recipient will know how to care for the item. And if you’re the recipient of such an item, it’s best to ask upfront.

Washing By Machine

In the first-time wash, always clean the item on its own, especially if it’s a bright color. It may take a cycle or two in the machine for colors to completely set, and you don’t want to ruin other garments in the same load. Knit pieces can be washed safely in a mesh laundry bag (this prevents it from snagging on the machine’s interior) and on your machine’s delicate cycle in cold water. It’s always safest to let a knit item air dry.

Washing By Hand

Start by filling a tub container with tepid water. Add a few drops of mild detergent to the soak, such as dishwashing liquid. To neutralize perspiration odor, you can add 3/4 cup of white vinegar. Immerse the item and swish gently, never wringing or stretching it out. Wool, for example, is elastic, but it can be pulled out of shape permanently if handled carelessly while being washed. To remove excess moisture, it’s a good idea to lay the item flat on a dry, absorbent towel and roll up the towel, pressing firmly.

Reshaping and Drying

As any experienced knitter will tell you, investing in a blocking mat will help sweaters, vests, and socks to retain its shape as you wear it. (Read: no droopy sleeves, curling hems, or misshapen edges.) Once you remove the item from the wash, lay it flat onto a blocking board and shape it onto the square surface, folding any collars or hems and fastening any buttons. Never hang and never iron-both will undo the work you’ve done stitching your knit piece together in the first place.