5 tips and tricks on how to look after knitwear
Words: Dylan Muhlenberg | Illustrations: Kelly Poole
Winter’s great because you get to use those lessons in layering you learned when we showed you the jackets we’re obsessed with and then schooled you on how to style knitwear and get runway looks for less.
The buzzword this season is hygge and you can’t get cosy without a statement knit, so now that you’ve unpacked your favourite jackets and coats from storage you may have noticed something slightly sinister.
Whether it’s a dank smell, a stretched out sweat or holes, we've got essential tips on how to better care for your knitwear.
Always check the label, as your knitwear has special needs. Dry-clean only means exactly that, so don’t test it. Otherwise, wash by hand and if you must machine wash, ensure it’s no higher than 30 degrees. Remember to wash colours separately and while every wear doesn’t necessarily require a wash afterwards, you should, as this kills off bugs, stops pilling and you’d be surprised how much scent wool picks up.
Fold don’t hang, as the latter will result in the fabric stretching out and the garment becoming mishaped. For seasonal storage you should send your knitwear away for the winter instead of having it take up precious real estate in your wardrobe. This seasonal sort through allows you to clean up all the debris that can collect at the bottom of a closet, decreasing the risk of damage, and is also an opportunity to clean your knitwear before packing it up in a breathable, synthetic bag for the summer.
Call it good taste – moths and silverfish especially enjoy merino and cashmere. That stuff’s expensive though, so why should you share? Bugs don’t enjoy clean garments, lavendar and cedar wood, so incorpoate these to send them packing. If you find moth holes in your sweaters you should place your garments in an airtight plastic bag in the freezer for a weekend, which will kill the eggs off, then wash.
Washing will help settle the wool and stop fibres from pilling, which is that balling up of fluff that you’ve probably already come to associate with your knitwear. Either remove these by hand or steal your mom’s pilling device (all mom’s have these) and shave your sweater until it’s baby-faced. An actual razor will do as good a job, just be careful you don’t cut into the garment. Otherwise, if you’re the type who could always do with one more gadget then may we suggest a soft clothes brush, sometimes referred to as a cashmere comb, which will remove hairs and lint and other smut.
A sweater shouldn’t be treated the same as the coat that you wear every day and all winter long. Like your shoes, keep a few knits in rotation to get the most wear out of them. By giving your jumpers a few days between each wear, they’ll keep their shape for longer and people will see that same go-to coat as something different with each new knit.