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Knitwear Stain Guide

Your Stain Guide Solution

Mic drop moment: Wool and cashmere can be laundered at home. Cozy up to our care tips and solutions for washing your knitwear, from cashmere sweaters to wooly winter accessories, stains and all. Whether you opt to hand or machine wash, read on for our expert tips to gently cleanse knits at home.

What you'll need to treat stains on knits:

  • A stain treatment suitable for knit fibers
  • Wash basin or sink
  • A gentle wash solution like Wool & Cashmere Shampoo


Step One

Start by carefully reading your garment's tag. You'll notice that some knit garments will have tags that say "handwash" or "dry clean." While this wording doesn't rule out your machine, it does mean you'll have to take extra care when machine washing your knits and sweaters. We recommend against attempting to handwash "dry clean only" tagged items, as this usually means the garment is simply not designed to be submerged in water. If your tag says “dry clean only,” obey the label and take it to the pros.

Step Two

Test it out! If your tag reads "dry clean" or you're unsure about washability, always test the garment before washing at home by following our guide.

Step Three

Next, apply your stain remover. We recommend using a gentle formula appropriate for knit fabrics. Work it into the fabric using a Stain Brush dampened with cool water. Gently scrub, using circular motions. Avoid scrubbing vigorously over any embellishment or loose, open weaves. For older, tougher stains, soak before washing. Fill a sink or wash basin with cool water, add Wool & Cashmere Shampoo, then let it soak for no longer than 30 minutes.

Step Four

For added cleaning power after soaking, pour tepid water from a height onto the affected area, using your faucet. The force of the pouring water will help to work the stain. Apply more stain treatment, then proceed with laundering.

  • Launder your stained item according to the garment instructions. Whether you are laundering thicker cashmere and wool, thinner weaves, or even blends, we recommend reaching for a gentle shampoo designed specifically for knitwear. The Wool & Cashmere Shampoo was specially formulated without enzymes and is the perfect choice for machine or hand washing knits.
  • Hand Wash: Soak your knit item in cool water for up to 30 minutes. Rinse it well after soaking. Never wring or twist knits - instead, press down on the fabric to get the water out. If the pressing down method doesn’t feel like it’s getting the job done, just lay your item on a clean towel and roll it up like a sleeping bag to help absorb the moisture faster. 
  • Machine Wash: Turn your knit inside out and place it in a protective Mesh Bag. Add Wool & Cashmere Shampoo to your machine's dispenser. Select your machine’s gentle or delicate cycle, with the lowest spin speed and a cold water temperature to avoid damage.

Never, ever put knits in the dryer. Lay the items flat in their natural shape on a drying rack or clean towel. When drying, avoid direct sunlight and heat sources, such as the radiator, because they can shrink or damage wool. Flip your item halfway through to speed up drying. Lastly, to get that enviable wrinkle-free, polished look, finish with a quick steam..

Take Note: Our recommended stain treatment methods are based on textile science, and solely intended for use with The Laundress products. We cannot guarantee the success of products from other brands. Always test delicates and items tagged "dry clean" for color bleeding and water reactions before laundering. Kindly note that not all garments may perform and react as science would predict.

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