Here are 10 easy tips from our experts to take the guesswork out of sweater care.
1. First things first—check the label! Is it made from a natural or synthetic fabric?
Have a new sweater and not sure how to take care of it? Check the label! If it’s a synthetic fabric like polyester, acrylic, rayon—you’re in luck since you can machine wash those. If it’s a natural fiber like wool, cashmere or cotton it’s better to be safe than sorry. Hand-wash gently for best results.
2. How do you know when to hand-wash wool?
In most cases, it’s safe to hand-wash wool (including blends), but take the care label to heart—it knows best. Look for a shampoo specifically made for wool & cashmere (or baby shampoo works in a pinch!). Add 2 pumps to a sink of warm water and soak for 10- 15 minutes. Rinse twice & press—do not wring. Lay flat to dry to avoid stretching or distorting the fabric.
3. What are the advantages of choosing natural fibers (like wool) over synthetic?
For one, the lanolin naturally found in wool is antimicrobial & odor eliminating. Not only that, but the porous fibers wick away moisture keeping the fibers dry.
4. Wool is itchy! How do you soften it up?
Give your sweater a hand-wash then fill your sink with cool water and add a liquid fabric softener. Swirl until it’s super soaked, then rinse. Lay flat to dry and reap the benefits of extra TLC.
5. So you splurged on cashmere. Now what?!
There’s nothing worse than ruining (read: shrinking or distorting!) something so soft. The difference? Cashmere, a fiber from goats’ hair, is finer than sheep’s wool & where it gets it’s famously soft feel. To care for your cashmere, simply hand-wash it the same way you would wool, but take extra care when drying to avoid stretching.
6. Cashmere takes forever to dry. How do you speed up dry time?
To expedite the dry-time, use a large salad spinner to spin off excess water & then lay flat on a bathroom towel to dry. Because of its more delicate, fine nature, never hang a cashmere sweater―it’ll stretch out the shoulders and cause shoulder dimples.
7. Ok, now how about acrylic. What is it and how do you care for it?
Acrylic is a synthetic fiber popularized because of its similarity to wool. It mimics the texture, feel, and look of the softest wool fabrics. However, while wool is not as simple to wash, acrylic is!
8. How do you care for acrylic sweaters?
You should still treat your acrylic sweaters with care! Choose the gentle cycle on your machine & be sure not to dry on high heat. Avoid putting on a wire hanger as these pieces will stretch & form those dreaded shoulder peaks.
9. Enough about washing! How do you de-pill a sweater?
Pills are the pits! But, the ugly truth is: all sweaters will show these pesky fabric beads after normal wear and cleaning! Take your drugstore razor (we know you have packs of them!) and gently run over the surface of your sweater to remove pills.
10. What’s the best way to store a sweater?
The best way to store your sweaters is to never hang them— anything with a loose weave will stretch out, and most sweaters are prone to “growing” over time. Preserve their shape by keeping them in drawers or shelves. If you must hang them, fold in half & place gently over a cloth hanger.
Have care tips of your own? Share in the comments below!