How To Care For and Store Your Sweaters: 10 Tips

Spring is drawing near – do you know how to properly care for and store your sweaters?


Revision: While we no longer manufacture our Sweater Wash – we do have our new Delicate Wash that is almost identical in formula! Completely safe for your sweaters!! 

If any of you are like us – you haven’t given up on the dream that one day we’ll wake up and our clothing will launder, fold and care for itself.

Until that day comes, we are stuck with the job! If you’re reading this, that probably means that you – like many others – just throw that sweater in a closet, drawer, or storage container without another thought. Let’s throw that right out the window! And if you make a trip to the dry cleaner every season – you can save yourself a trip this season!

We are here to show you how to properly care for and store your sweaters with the art of skipping the dry cleaner and de-pilling, de-shrinking and hand washing at home!

Remove dandruff, hair & lint regularly.

Regularly brush the sweater with a Sweater PumiceCashmere Comb, or other garment brush. This will enable you to quickly brush off these sorts of unattractive sweater companions.

Fix snags or holes like a pro.  

Turn the sweater inside out. Using a sewing needle or crochet hook, pull the extra yarn through to the inside of the sweater. Knot the snag in place. Turn it right side out and it’s hidden from view!

Wash your sweaters every 3-5 wears. 

Sweaters are a little like jeans in this way. They can withstand a little more wear than your more delicate pieces, especially because they are often layered over tops and tees. Cotton, silk, and cashmere should be washed after three or four wears, while wool and wool blends can make it for five or more.

How to Wash Knit Sweaters

Add one squirt of detergent to your sink or washtub and fill with cool water. Add your sweater. Swish the water and gently squeeze the sweater to work the detergent deeply into the material to remove dirt, oil, and sweat. Rinse with cool water until the water runs clear. If you’re laundering in a washing machine, set your washer to a cool, delicate cycle.

How to Dry Sweaters:

Drying your sweater incorrectly is one of the quickest ways to completely destroy your favorite garments. Here’s how to do it right.

First, squeeze any excess water from the fabric, but do NOT wring. Place the sweater on a clean towel, and roll it up into a sausage. Squeeze it tightly. (This helps to remove the extra moisture from the sweater without stretching or pulling the yarn.)

Next, unroll the sweater from the towel and place it on a drying rack or a new dry towel. Position the sweater in its natural shape, spreading the arms, aligning the collar, and ensuring it lays straight and flat. After 12-24 hours, turn the sweater over and spread it flat on a new dry towel (the first will be damp). Allow it to finish drying completely before putting it away.

How to Tackle Stains on Sweaters

First, remove any excess from the stain by blotting with a dry paper towel or napkin. Next, fill a sink or plastic tub with warm water. Apply a squirt of Sweater Wash directly over the stain and use your Laundry Brush to gently work the detergent deep into the fabric. Allow the sweater to soak up to 30 minutes. Rinse and repeat if necessary.

The Pilling Problem

Pilling is normal and, unfortunately, very common in many types of fabrics, such as wool, cashmere, cotton, and even synthetic fibers. Pilling occurs when groups of broken fibers become tangled together into a tiny knot on the surface of a fabric. These tiny balls develop during normal wear and tear of our clothing and are usually found in areas of friction, such as under the arms and along the cuffs and collars of our garments.

Chances are, you, like the rest of us, have lost more than one garment to pilling problems.

While no one can stop pilling from occurring, there are ways to reduce pilling on your sweaters.

These include:

  • Turn your sweater inside out before washing (if you choose to use a washing machine)
  • Hand-wash sweaters
  • Use gentle detergents, such as our Sweater Wash.
  • Dry sweaters correctly
  • Regularly brush the sweater with a Sweater PumiceCashmere Comb, or other garment brush

If pills have already occurred, the best way to tackle them is with our Sweater Pumice (perfect for general fabric types) or our Cashmere Comb (best for fine wool and cashmere garments). These tools will safely remove pilling from all your favorite sweaters, scarves, and coats, making your garments look like new.

Use a Sweater Pumice

Lay your garment flat and test your Sweater Pumice on an inconspicuous area. Hold the pumice in the palm of your hand and use short, gentle, downward strokes. Do not change direction. Keep going until all those pills are snicked away. Gently shake out your garment over a garbage can to remove any pumice dust and loose pilling. If you’re using your Sweater Pumice on a couch or sofa, briefly vacuum over the area. Voila! Welcome to your new laundry room staple!

Use the Sweater Pumice on sweaters, woolen jackets, couches and sofas, blankets, fleece, jersey knits, and more. Don’t use it on silks or very fine knits.

Expert Tip: You can also use the Sweater Pumice to remove pet hair from upholstery.

Use a Cashmere Comb

Place your garment on a flat, clean surface. Holding the cashmere comb at a 90-degree angle to the fabric, gently pull the garment taut and glide the comb over the fabric in the direction of the weave using short, quick strokes. When the comb becomes full, remove the excess pilling and fibers, then continue to work on the garment until all pills have been removed.

Expert Tip: Bulky knits need only a light touch. Use more pressure on tightly woven garments.

Caution: Avoid use stretchy items prone to snagging, such as spandex, leggings, polyester, and similar fabrics. Always test in an inconspicuous area first to ensure the material will not be snagged.


How To Store Your Natural Fiber Garments Properly

Always clean your garments before placing them into storage. It’s important to remove oil, sweat, food, and dirt particles, as these will linger in the fabric, damaging the fibers. Not to mention, it will be far more difficult to get out six months later when it’s finally sweater season again!

Before packing away your clothes, launder them using SWIM™ or All Sport. Allow them to dry completely. (NEVER put an item into storage if it has retained even the slightest bit of moisture, as this can encourage mold to grow.)

Place your items into a breathable cotton Storage Bag and place in a closet. Avoid placing them into plastic or cardboard, and do not use drawer liners or contact paper. Plastic can trap moisture, while cardboard and scented papers can attract pests. Cedar balls, like these, can help to discourage pests to keep those beautiful garments safe and snug until you’re ready to pull them out again.

We would love for you to check out our natural laundry detergents and cleaning products. But you can also check out our DIY page for natural alternatives to many household cleaners. Honestly, any choice you make toward a healthier home is worthwhile, effective, and something to celebrate.

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