Tips for Washing & Drying Fall Sweaters (That Aren’t Hand Washing)

Let’s get real — sweaters require a bit of extra TLC to keep looking and feeling their best. However, as the stars of your fall wardrobe, these cool-weather staples are absolutely worth the effort. If you have the time for hand washing, wash on! But for those of you looking for a slightly quicker method, below are a few tips for ensuring your sweaters are part of your collection for years to come.

Tip 1: Know When to Wash
Some of you may be on board with us, and others may be zealous washers, but sweaters do not always need to be washed every time you wear them. If you spilled food or drink, picked up dirt, perspired heavily  or attended a bonfire — wash away! But throwing on your cozy friend for a trip to the grocery store doesn’t quite warrant a washing. Washing your sweaters more than necessary can cause more damage than normal wear by adding extra handling to the fabric.

Tip 2: Wash to the Fabric
Read your sweater’s label to find out first, if it’s “Dry Clean Only,” and second, the fabric used. Some fabrics can only be laundered through dry cleaning and doing otherwise will ruin them. If the label says “Dry Clean,” it’s the recommended cleaning method, but not the only way to clean it. You may be able to still use a washer and dryer.

Once you determine the fabric, wash to the type. Cotton can usually be machine-washed in cool water and laid flat to dry or placed in a low tumble. Acrylic can usually be machine-washed with warm water and a tumble dry on low. Check the label on both Wool and Cashmere sweaters before washing, and use cold water in a delicate cycle. Both can be laid flat to dry.

Tip 3: Turn them Out
All sweaters will pill just from general wear and cleaning, but if you turn your sweaters inside out before washing, you can reduce extra pilling of the fabric. Go one step further and use an extra-large mesh bag in the wash for additional care.

Tip 4: Use a Good Detergent
This almost goes without saying, but a good detergent can go a long way towards  protecting your sweaters in the wash. Seek a recommendation for which detergent is right for you here. What does deserve a mention is how much detergent to use. Using a very small amount (around a tablespoon, depending on load size) will cover what you need. Using too much detergent could potentially ruin your sweaters.

Tip 5: Dry Smarter
When putting your sweaters in the dryer, set them to dry on a low heat cycle, removing before the cycle is over to let them finish drying flat on a rack. Newer dryer features like SmartDry technology, monitors moisture levels with sensor strips and regulates heat levels to end the cycle when clothes are dry. And Steam Refresh™ Cycle lets you refresh a small load with the power of steam, to reduce wrinkles and minimize odors, without having to wash the load first.  

Tip 6: Removing Pills
Has your sweater already pilled and now you need a gentle way of removing them? Hold the sweater flat with one hand and gently slice off pills one at a time with a simple razor — try a 2 blade Bic® razor. This may take a little extra time, but it’s very effective.

Tip 7: Proper Storage
Even putting away your sweaters with a bit of extra care can extend their wear! Folding or rolling, rather than hanging, is a much better way to store sweaters to avoid stretching them out. It’s also best to keep them out of direct sunlight to avoid extra drying or discoloration. When it comes to long-term storage, be sure to wash sweaters beforehand to avoid pests, mothy smells, or any stains setting in.


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