If you’re anything like me, you’re probably getting really excited about sweater weather right about now. But before we unpack all our warm and fuzzy clothes and rush into it, let’s take a moment to show our sweaters some appreciation by giving them a bit of proper care. Taking good care of our clothes is one easy and inexpensive way we can be responsible consumers.
In this post, we’ll chat sweater care and proper storage. We’ll cover everything from pesky pills, to hand washing techniques, to how I store my sweaters.
Ready? Let’s jump in!
1 | Say hello to the defuzzing comb. (and goodbye to pills)
No matter the quality of your knits, you’re bound to run into some pills. High quality knits, low quality knits — most all of them pill at some point in time.
The good news is that there’s an inexpensive solution: A six dollar defuzzing comb. This little guy will easily eliminate your pills when they pop up. Battery operated fabric shavers exist too, but personally, I think the comb is easier to use.
So, give your sweaters, knits, and coats a once-over with a defuzzing comb and they’ll be ready to go.
Tip: It can feel like a time-consuming task, so I like to break it up by defuzzing a few sweaters at night while we watch TV and relax— I bring four or five sweaters to the couch with me, cozy up, and start defuzzing.
2 | Sanitize with a steamer, hand wash, or dry cleaning.
The best way to preserve sweaters is to simply clean them before storing. However, it’s all too easy to skip this step, especially if your knits don’t look dirty.
But looks can be deceiving — even if sweaters don’t look dirty, tiny food and skin particles can attract moths. And, speaking as a girl who dealt with a moth infestation years ago, I don’t want to mess around with them ever again. (RIP three favourite sweaters.)
The best way to clean your sweaters is to take them to an eco-friendly green dry cleaner, but that can get expensive. If you don’t want to go the dry cleaning route, you’ve got three other options:
- STEAMING: When you think of steaming clothes, the first thing that probably comes to mind is removing wrinkles. But! It does so much more. Steaming sanitizes clothes by actually killing any bacteria that might be lurking in the fibres. Because of that, it can even remove faint odours. I use a small travel steamer, like this one, but I’m thinking of upgrading soon to a larger steamer. It’s an excellent way to “wash” your clothes between washes.
- HAND WASH: If you want to hand wash, start with a clean sink or bathtub (avoid using a bleach cleaner on the sink beforehand). Fill your sink up with water and add a mild detergent. Gently agitate any stains or smelly spots with your fingers, then let it soak for about 5 minutes. Rinse thoroughly, then roll it up in a towel to get extra moisture off — don’t wring it out. Finally, lay it flat to dry, gently reshaping if needed.
- GENTLE CYCLE: If hand washing isn’t something you want to do, try putting your sweater in a pillowcase or in a lingerie bag and running it through the washing machine on a gentle cycle with a mild detergent. Note: I rarely (if ever) do this because putting a dry clean only sweater in the washing machine is a big risk — it can shrink or possibly ruin the sweater. Make sure you research the fabric content of your sweater first and proceed with caution.
Some sweaters can look wrinkled after a wash, so give it a quick steam to release the wrinkles and fluff the fibres.
3 | Repel moths with a sweater spray
Finally, take one last step against moths by spraying your sweaters with a sweater spray. I use Wool + Cashmere spray by The Laundress. It removes odour and it’s got antibacterial properties.
All of my sweaters get a light mist of this stuff when they come out for the season and when they go back into storage at the end of the season. It’s powerful, and a little goes a long way.
4 | Store properly
I’ll say it again — proper storage starts with clean clothes. The cleaner the clothes, the less likely they are to attract moths and bugs that might ruin them.
After I’ve defuzzed, cleaned, and sprayed my clothes, I fold everything and put them away nicely in my closet. Try not to jam everything in too tight so the fabric has room to breathe.
And there you have it! Four steps to ensure longevity for your sweaters.
Now it’s your turn — how do you prepare your winter clothes? What do you do to ensure the longevity of them? Got any tips to add to this list? I’d love to hear all about them!
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