Some people collect stamps, other collect pens or postcards, I collect sweaters. I’d argue rightfully so, since we have the LONGEST winter ever, though this fall has been mild, we all know what we’re in for in a few weeks. Not suprisingly, I get a ton of messages asking how to care for sweaters given my rather extensive collection. Over the years I’ve developed somewhat of a science to maintaining my sweaters and making sure they last more than one season (or one wash). There’s been a few I’ve lost along the way which as you probably know can be quite devastating, so after learning my lesson the hard way a few times, I’ve developed a pretty good system. Here are my best tips for keeping your sweaters lookin fresh. Any sweaters pictured here that are still available I’ve rounded up at the bottom of the post.
How you wash your sweaters depends mainly on the fabric. If it’s cashmere, I highly recommend dry cleaning. With the exception of 1 or 2 sweaters, anything I have that is cashmere gets dry cleaned. Of course that can get pricey but there’s a few ways to minimize the expense. First, wear light shirts under your sweaters. I never wear any of my sweaters without a light tee underneath. I also like these for underneath turtleneck sweaters. I usually have cashmere dry cleaned after every 3-5 wears. If you wear it somewhere there’s smoke or another strong smell (from a restaurant for example) you’ll probably need to wash it afterwards. There are sweaters you can machine wash. Anything cotton is fine to use the washing machine. Some of my thicker and oversized wool sweaters I’ll also put in the washing machine (but be careful, most wool sweaters should also be dry cleaned). I do the delicates setting with the coldest possible water and use a special detergent for knitwear. I also only wash 2-3 sweaters max at a time (all the same or similar color). To dry, I lay flat or use a drying rack.
I’ve read you can actually just use a bic razor for pilling but that makes me nervous. I have two different tools. One is a sweater stone, for chunkier knits, and the other is a sweater comb for more delicate, lightweight pieces. I try not to use them too often because I think doing it too much can wear down the knit.
I think most advice regarding how to store your sweaters will say not to hang them, but I don’t have any issues and most of mine are on hangers. I think they stay more organized and are less likely to get wrinkled. If it’s a really delicate or loose knit that seems to pull or stretch when it’s hanging I’ll keep it folded on a shelf but otherwise I like felt hangers. When it’s time to put away the really chunky knit/cold weather sweaters, I dry clean any that need it before storing them in large plastic bins, neatly folded. Always use lavender or cedar in the closet or room you’re storing sweaters to keep them safe from moths (moth balls are fine too I just don’t like the smell).