6 Life-Saving Tips That Will Save Your Sweaters

By Emily Boyd

Ever been heartbroken to see your favorite sweater meet an untimely end? Or wondered what to do with your winter weather splurges once springtime rolls around? Well, the ladies behind The Laundress are here to answer our every sweater query.

Meet Gwen Whiting and Lindsey Boyd, the founders of the Laundress, a line of environmentally friendly home and fabric products. Many laundry cycles ago, they were young fashion enthusiasts, launching careers in one of the world’s best-dressed cities—New York. As Lindsey and Gwen invested in building their wardrobes, they were confronted with the frustration of maintaining them: replacing prematurely worn items and paying painful dry-cleaning bills. Fast forward ten years, and Gwen and Lindsey lead a company that delivers gentle and eco-friendly products to laundry rooms across the nation. Today, they’ve stopped by to show us how treating our woolens with a little TLC can make them last for many sweater seasons to come. Take it away, ladies!

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Check the tag before you buy.

When it comes to sweaters, not all fabrics are created equal. Some materials can be much more difficult to maintain than others. While cotton sweaters often have a cut-and-dry care method, fabrics like mohair can be a bit trickier. Check out this chart for our guide to caring for even the most challenging winter fabrics.

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Get into the fold. 

Always store knits folded to prevent stretching or distorting. A bit short on drawer space? No worries! Try folding your knits horizontally and drape over a hanger to protect against distortion.

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Home cleaning over dry cleaning.

Think of wool and cashmere as dry clean only? Think again. Not only do these natural beauties clean up well, washing them can help preserve fibers, making your supple sweaters last longer and saving you time and money.

First, prepare to wash your sweaters by turning them inside out to avoid friction and fading. Fill a washbasin or sink with cool water, and add two capfuls or a squirt of PH neutral laundry shampoo. (We linked our favorite here!) Submerge your items and gently agitate them with your hands to evenly distribute soap and water. Soak for up to 30 minutes, then run cool water through the items. Do not wring. Instead, gently press the water out of your items between your hands or against the sink. Lay your freshly cleaned sweater flat in its natural shape to air dry!

Note: If there is color in the water, don’t worry! It’s normal. The yarn dye is simply releasing color–you shouldn’t notice any loss of color after your wash is complete.

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Steam it up & stay fresh.

Ironing can crush or flatten the natural pile of yarns in your sweaters. Steam works to remove wrinkles, odors and bacteria, and is much gentler on the fibers of your favorite knitwear. The steam and high heat will release tough wrinkles and fluff yarns for a natural finish. Don’t have a steamer handy? Use an iron set to the “steam” setting, and hover it over the item – but be careful not to make contact!

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Banish pills. 

Starting to see those pesky pills on your favorite sweater? Sadly, they’re unavoidable, and will happen with even your most splurge-worthy knits. Remove pills on fine gauge yarns by gliding a sweater comb across the pilled areas, and opt for a sweater stone for heavier gauge knits. Always works these tools in one direction. Looking for a last-minute fix? Grab a pair scissors and carefully snip away each individual pill.

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It’s au revior for now! 

Wool and cashmere can be kept for months (and years) to come, if they are cared for and stored properly. Our top tips for long-term storage? Wash all clothing before packing away to prevent mystery stains from surfacing–and decrease the chances of a bug or moth attack! For long-term storage, delicate pieces and those prone to wrinkling are best stored folded with acid-free tissue. Then, simply slip your knits into a breathable cotton or canvas bag with a zip closure, and count down the days ’til the next sweater season!

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