The Ultimate Guide to Sweater Care

The most popular comfy piece in your closet is a sweater. Whether you wear sweaters to work, around the house, or on a night out, this is a staple piece you want to keep around for a long time. It takes a little extra care to keep them in shape and ‘wearable’ in public.

Some sweaters last longer than others. If you buy a natural sweater made of 100% cashmere or alpaca, they’ll breathe easier and need fewer washes. If you buy or own a sweater with a mix of fibers, including polyester, you’ll find they need to be washed more often and hold onto odors more.

You can do a lot to take good care of your sweaters, so they look great every season. Try these tips below to keep them looking their best.

1. Don’t hang them in your closet

Regardless if you are putting them away in your closet or drying them, never hang a sweater. It will easily lose its shape and distort with pointed-out corners which are unfixable and unwearable. The best way to keep the fabric from changing its form is to fold them and put them away in a closet shelf, dresser, or organizing bin.

2. Lay to Dry

When drying a sweater, instead of hanging it like you would other tops or pants, you’ll lay it dry on a towel. Don’t wring it or twist it; just lay it down. It takes a bit for the drying process to work with a sweater, especially a thicker, heavy, knit fiber. After 24 hours of laying on the towel, you’ll have to change it with a new dry one the next day. It usually takes two days to dry a sweater with the towel method.

The second option, which is the best, is to get a sweater drying rack. It takes up some space, but you can pull it out only when you dry your sweaters. This makes it so easy! This option from Wayfair is my favorite because it holds up to 5 sweaters, and when you’re done using it, you can fold it up or wheel it away.

3. Keep them sweat-free (if possible)

Wearing a fitted tee underneath your sweater is a great way to help from having to wash it frequently. The tee can catch deodorant and body oils. I know this doesn’t work with all sweaters because some are more fitted, have lower necklines, or are already warm. If you are looking for one that specifically targets sweat-proofing your outfit, Numi for Women and Thompson Tees for Men are super helpful.
Elisa Yip, founder of Sskein suggests, “Only wash your sweaters a few times a season.” You can listen to the full episode called, Sustainable, Luxury Knitwear and Everything You Need to Know. She shares how natural fibers have wicking properties, especially alpacas. Their coats are meant to protect them from the rain in the Peruvian mountains.

4. De-pill Regularly

Pilling are the little balls forming on your sweater as you wear it. They are broken fibers from the sweater that pile up with time. These ‘pills’ make a sweater look worn and old and are normal wear and tear. The BEST way to keep them looking good is by de-pilling them with a fabric shaver. I love this one by Conair because it’s rechargeable, so you save on batteries.

Press gently when using the fabric shaver to save from tearing a hole in your sweater. You’ll notice that some of your cheaper sweaters start to look worn more quickly than the pricier ones because cheaper sweaters are made with shorter strands of fiber twisted together, and it doesn’t hold up.

5. Turn Snags Inside Out

If you see a looped strand sticking out, never pull it or cut it! You’ll ruin it completely and make a hole or cause it to unravel. Instead, use a knit picker to pull it through. You won’t even be able to tell it’s there!

The way to pull a snag through a sweater:

  1. Find the snag on your sweater.
  2. Use the knit picker from the inside of the sweater, and poke it out to where the snag is.
  3. Put the small snag on the loop.
  4. Pull it into the sweater gently.
  5. All fixed!

6. Hand Wash Tips + Washing Tips

It might seem intimidating to wash sweaters by hand, but it’s easy and less time-consuming than you think. Follow these 3 simple steps, and you’ll be done quickly.

If you are pressed for time and feel like you’ll never get to handwash your sweaters, you can put them on a gentle cycle in the washing machine. Turn it inside out to make sure it doesn’t catch on anything, and only add a couple of other sweaters, if needed, in the mix. You don’t want the fabrics to all rub up on each other. The fibers are very delicate when wet.

1. Fill a sink or large container with cold water and mild detergent.

2. Add the sweater and swirl it around for 10 minutes. Don’t twist and tug or pull on it. Swirl and let it soak in the soap.

3. Drain the water out again and press on the sweater to remove excess water. If it still looks soapy, add more water until all the soap is out.

7. Store Out of Season Sweaters

Help your sweaters last longer by storing ones that are out of season. Before you start organizing and putting things away, make sure you wash and dry them properly. 

Add a satchel of lavender between the sweaters to keep them smelling fresh when you open up the bin again.

The best bins are breathable and made with fabric like these. They come in multiple sizes to choose from. Please avoid plastic storage bins. Your clothing can be yellow, mold, or get musty in there. Fold them up nicely and pack them away.

Share what you learned today or how this blog has been helpful in your own style journey. Your comments mean so much to me.

Thank you for spending time with me today. Continue building a life and style that truly reflect you!

Looking for more styling tips? Be sure to follow me on Instagram @thecloset.edit and TikTok @theclosetedit!

tannya bernadette

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