How to Care for Your Sweaters

Fall is here, which means it’s time to pull out your softest, coziest sweaters. When you have sweaters you particularly love, you’ll want to preserve them as long as possible. But do you know how to properly wash and care for your sweaters?

Sweater maintenance isn’t complicated, but it does require a little extra care and forethought. Here’s how to care for your sweaters so they last longer than a season.

How to wash sweaters on your own

If your sweaters are washable, here’s how to care for them:

  • Check the label first: No matter what kind of clothing you’re washing, always check the label first. If the label says “hand wash only” or “dry clean only,” don’t assume it’s a clothing manufacturer conspiracy to suck up your time and cash. These sweater care tips are important. For example, dry cleaning solvent is lighter than water and won’t interfere with delicate sweaters. The same goes for hand wash only sweaters—your washing machine’s spin cycle could damage the woven fibers. Don’t ruin that expensive cashmere sweater just because you want to save time.
  • Consider hand washing: Even if your sweater is machine washable (and many of them are), you might consider hand washing if you want it to last. Heat, agitation and spin cycles can wring your sweaters out of shape. All you need to do is add mild detergent to cold water. Let your sweaters soak for 10 to 15 minutes, then rinse under cool water. Drain the sink or tub, refill with clean cool water and immerse your sweaters in the water. Swish them around. Gently squeeze (do not wring) or pat excess water from the sweater, and lay flat to dry.
  • Machine wash tips: It’s not always practical to hand wash sweaters. If your sweaters are machine washable, use a delicate, hand wash or slow cycle for best results. Don’t wash them with other heavy or bulky items, like jeans or towels. Finally, make sure you lay your sweaters flat to dry when they’re done. Putting them in the dryer can cause them to shrink or lose their shape.

More sweater care tips

If your sweaters say “dry clean only,” take the manufacturers at their word. Great dry cleaners will read every label for fabric content, then take care of your sweaters according to the instructions.

Whether you wash in a machine or by hand, follow general laundry rules—don’t wash your bright red sweater alongside a pristine white one. Dyes can transfer and ruin your favorite clothing. Even though you’re washing them in cool water, color transfer is still a risk.

When you’re ready to stash your sweaters away for the next fall and winter seasons, consider placing them in zippered sweater bags. This protects them from moths, dust, dirt, snags and critters. As long as you remember to wash them first, they’ll be fresh and ready to go for next fall.

When you need help with sweater maintenance, let Barry’s Cleaners & Launderers come to the rescue. Stop by or call today for all your laundry needs.