How to Care for Sweaters and Knits at Home

As I sat down to write this post I got a direct message on Instagram asking “how do you care for your cashmere?” I get asked about this quite often, and I get it, dry cleaning is expensive, inconvenient and not eco-friendly. As someone with a lot of sweaters I have spent a significant amount of time figuring out the best way to wash them and keep them looking new year after year (it’s basically sweater weather year round here). Even if your sweaters and knits say dry clean only, often times you can wash and maintain them at home with the right supplies. The Laundress Wool & Cashmere Shampoo is my go-to for preserving and cleaning wool, cashmere, mohair, merino and other knits so I’m partnering with the Laundress today to walk you through my step-by-step guide to care for sweaters and knits at home. They’ve also given me a code JESS25, for 25% off your purchase through 10/29 and you get a free bottle of their Signature Detergent free with any purchase of $60+ in honor of their 15th anniversary.

Jess Ann Kirby keeps her sweater closet looking fresh with the help of products from The Laundress.
Laundress sweater stone | wool & cashmere shampoo | static solution | cashmere brush

How to Store Sweaters and Knits

The best way to help knits stay looking new and maintain their shape is to store them folded. I like to group them by knit, cashmere with cashmere, wool with other wool, etc. For extra tightly woven chunky knits I occasionally hang them with a velvet hanger if I know there isn’t a risk of it pulling or stretching. When putting heavier knits away in the summer or lighter knits in the winter, I store them in breathable canvas bags to prevent bugs (especially moths) and dust. The Laundress Wool & Cashmere Shampoo has a cedar-based fragrance to also help keep moths away.

How to Get Rid of Pills

There’s a few ways to get rid of those pesky pills that show up on your sweaters and knits which usually is a result of rubbing that occurs during wear. It can also happen while washing so there’s steps you can take to prevent it (we’ll get to that). To de-pill a sweater or knit you can use either the Laundress Sweater Comb for fine gauge knits (like this cashmere cardigan below) or the Sweater Stone for heavier knits (like this cable knit). To use, glide over pills in one direction and then remove collected lint from the comb or stone. The cashmere brush is also great for removing lint, hair and fuzz and it helps release natural oils that rejuvenate yarn.

Washing Sweaters and Knits

The majority of items labeled “dry clean only” can actually be laundered at home. If you’re unsure you can check out The Laundress Fabric A-Z Care Guide. You can either hand wash or machine wash (with a mesh bag). For hand washing, use pH neutral Wool & Cashmere Shampoo with cool water, submerge and gently rinse with your hands, soak for up to 30 minutes, and then run the knit under cool water until it’s not longer soapy. Don’t ring it out, press the water out between your hands and the sink or tub, and then use the towel method or a drying rack to dry. Be sure not to let the item air dry near a heat source or direct sunlight which can shrinkage. For machine washing use the delicate cycle (cool temperature and low spin cycle) and place knit inside out in a Mesh Washing Bag to protect from friction that can cause pilling. Use the same drying method as mentioned for hand washing. When your knit is fully dry, if there’s any wrinkles or just to refresh a knit that doesn’t need washing, I use a steamer. You can also freshen knits in between washes using Wool & Cashmere Spray, a nontoxic spray with antibacterial properties. A natural moth-repellent, it’s also great for spraying garments that are going into longer term storage.

The Laundress products are highly concentrated so a little goes a long way. It has saved me a lot of money over the years not having to dry clean my sweaters, especially in the winter months when it’s all I wear every day! They’re also allergen-free, plant based and free of petroleum, phthalates, phosphate, parabens, artificial dyes and chlorine bleach. If you want to try any of their products make sure to use JESS25 for 25% off through 10/29. Thank you to Laundress for sponsoring this post.

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2 Comments

  1. Nora wrote:

    Cashmere and merino almost literally never has to be washed. The most effective way of getting out smells is to just hang the pieces outside into direct sunlight! There is also special wool wash that doesn’t need to be washed out, so it’s extra gentle on garments.

    10.23.19 | Reply
  2. Meg wrote:

    I LOVE the Laundress products, and they’ve done a wonderful job cleaning and conditioning my wool and cashmere. I use their delicates wash for lingerie, too. I have BIGTIME allergies to certain fragrances and preservatives (serious hives), and I’ve had no problems wearing Laundress-cleaned products, unlike many others that are labeled hypoallergenic. Going to check their canvas bags out!

    I know you have/had the Everlane alpaca-blend sweater. Have you washed this yet, and did it go okay? It has a unique texture, so I was a little apprehensive, even though everything I’ve read states alpaca is just as washable as other hair fibers!

    Thanks!!

    10.23.19 | Reply