How to Care for Your Sweaters This Fall and Winter

How to Care for Your Sweaters This Fall and Winter

After several trips to your washer and drier, even the best of your favorite sweaters get a little wear and tear. Don’t let your sweaters lose their shape and style during the cold months. Discover ways to care for your sweaters during the fall and winter seasons.

Wash Them Only Every 3-5 Wears

Always be gentle when you wash your sweaters. Similar to jeans, you don’t have to wash your sweater after every single wear. When you do wash them, you don’t have to even use laundry detergent. You can fill your kitchen or bathroom sink with cold water, add a few drops of gentle dish soap, and then swish the sweater around in the sink. Do not twist or wring the sweater because this may damage the material. Repeat the swish process until the sweater is thoroughly rinsed and there’s no more soap left. Then gently squeeze the water out of the sweater and lay it flat on a towel to dry. If there’s a lot of excess water, you can roll it up like a burrito in the towel and take out the excess water.

Air-Dry and Handwash When You Can

If you don’t have the time to handwash your sweaters (realistically, who does?), then wash your sweaters in cold water. Not only is this a way to save money on your electric bill, but this also helps the environment by using less energy. Try air-drying as well. Drying your sweater too often, especially on a higher heat setting, in your dryer can shrink your sweater. By air-drying and washing your sweaters in cold water in the fall and winter months, you’ll not only be helping the environment, but you’ll also be saving money AND keeping your sweaters in top shape and the right size.

Fold Them Neatly

Keep sweaters off hangers if you can. Women's sweaters should be folded so they don’t stretch out or droop, leading to shoulder dimples. If you don’t have the drawer space or if you prefer to hang them, there’s a specific way to hang your sweaters so they retain their shape. Fold the sweater in half, place the hanger hook in the armpit of the sweater, and then fold the waist and sleeves over the hanger. This keeps the sweater neat and well-kept.

Keep It Soft

If you don’t like air-drying because you like that soft feel to your clothes that a dryer gives, there’s a way to keep air-dried clothes from getting wrinkled and crunchy. During the rinse cycle of your wash, simply add a half cup of vinegar. This helps keep clothes soft and gets rid of any leftover detergent. If your clothes are still too stiff after you air-dry them, then place them in the dryer for five minutes with a slightly moist small towel.

Know the Material

Unless your sweater has an inordinate amount of germs or dirt on it, there’s really no need to wash your sweaters after every wear. Different types of sweaters require different care. Here are some differences to keep in mind:

Cashmere Sweaters

As one of the softest materials, cashmere sweaters for women are often thought of as an investment piece. It’s a delicate yarn, so aim to handwash it instead of putting it in the washer or even dry cleaning it. Contrary to popular belief, dry cleaning cashmere can break down cashmere’s delicate fibers because of the harsh solvents. Just wash and soak your sweater in cool or lukewarm water. Use a cashmere-specific or gentle detergent.

Wool Sweaters

The great thing about women's wool sweaters, compared to cotton, for example, is that wool doesn’t need to be washed as often. In between washes and wears, simply let your wool sweater air out before putting it away in your closet. Wool has an antimicrobial and odor-eliminating “wax” known as lanolin, also called wool yolk or wool grease.

Cotton Sweaters

Women's cotton sweaters are one of the easiest materials to wash. You can wash your cotton sweaters more often than your wool or cashmere sweaters. To avoid pilling, turn your cotton sweater inside out before putting it into the wash. Cotton wrinkles easily, so don’t put it in the dryer for more than 10 minutes. It’s best to air-dry it and lay it flat.

Remove Pilling

Even the most expensive sweaters are prone to pilling. To depill, use an electric shaver, fabric comb, or sweater stone. Hold them flat with one hand and slice off those pills with the shaver, comb, or stone. Look for anti-pill sweaters, such as soft women's fleece sweaters that can have both anti-pill and anti-static finishes.

If you want to remain stylish without having to worry too much about how to keep your favorite sweaters in tiptop shape, then follow these easy tips to keep your sweaters looking fresh for longer. You’ll have sweaters that are even softer than when you first bought them. Stay cozy!

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