A knit sweater is a New England wardrobe essential for both men and women. From the office to evenings out, and everywhere in between, natural wool and cashmere sweaters are versatile, functional fashion favorites, whether layered over or under, or worn alone. Proper care can extend their life and keep them looking like new for many years.
Wool and cashmere are natural fibers that can be wet washed or dry cleaned. If you prefer to care for your knit sweaters at home, follow these steps for optimum hand washing and air drying:
1. Fill a basin with cold water, and add a mild detergent such as Woolite, baby shampoo or dish soap.
2. Let your sweater soak in the basin for five minutes before rinsing thoroughly.
3. Take out and fold up into a ball to get the excess water out. Don’t wring, which can stretch out the delicate material.
4. Place your sweater flat on a towel, and roll it up to remove any remaining water.
5. Next, lay the sweater on a drying rack. If you don’t own a drying rack, place it between two towels to dry.
You can also use your washing machine to clean cashmere and wool. Simply put the garment in a laundry or mesh bag before you place it in the machine, and select the gentle cycle on cold water. Remove from the wash and follow the same steps for air drying – never machine dry, which causes shrinkage and can deform the shape.
STAIN REMOVAL TIPS
When life gets messy, it’s important to quickly and properly clean stains based on the offending residue. Here is a quick guide to safely removing some of the most common ones:
-Makeup or grease-based: First blot the stain. Then, pre-treat by soaking the sweater in mild shampoo.
-Chocolate: Dip a cloth in liquid detergent and lightly rub the stained area, taking care not to scrub too hard.
-Red wine, tea or coffee: Gently rub the stain with a cloth dipped in a mix of cold water and dish-washing liquid. Avoid soap or machine detergents, which can set red wine stains rather than remove them.
Afterwards, rinse your garment in cold water and let it dry on a rack.
Ideally, you should clean wool and cashmere after two to three wears. In between washings you can remove any fabric pills with a cashmere comb or bristled garment brush. Pills are a sign of friction from wear or care so try to use non- abrasive cleaning methods whenever possible. If you don’t have the time to care for your sweaters at home, or are concerned about set stains, and rather have a professional do the job, dry cleaning is always a good option. The GreenEarth cleaning method used by Best is gentle enough to use on the finest wool and cashmere. There are no harsh chemicals used, which means your sweaters stay soft, colors stay vibrant, and whites stay bright. Be sure to alert your cleaning professional to any stains, pulls, or holes that will require extra attention. The sooner a small pull is tended to, the less likely it will become a large hole.
MOTH PROTECTION AND STORAGE MUSTS
Cleaning your sweaters and then storing them properly, especially at the end of the season, is the most reliable line of attack against holes and wrinkles. Follow these recommended steps to keep them looking their best in and out of season:
1. Don’t hang your sweaters. A hanger will distort the shoulders, and the garment will lose its original shape. Instead, fold and keep it in a drawer or on a shelf away from moisture.
2. When you’re putting your knits away for the season, place in a breathable garment bag or storage box in a cool, dry area. To prevent wrinkles, you can wrap each sweater in acid-free tissue paper.
3. Remember to make sure each sweater is washed before you store it for the offseason. Moths, carpet beetles, and silverfish are attracted to human scents, so you’ll want to get rid of any perfume or food odors prior to storage. As an added precaution, place some cedar wood moth repellents or a lavender sachet in the container.
4. Also double check all your knits for holes at the end of the season. The best time for repair by a professional is before you store that favorite sweater away, not when you pull it out to wear several months later.