Sweater weather is one of our favorite things about chilly weather. What we don’t love? Frequent trips to the dry cleaner! Dry cleaning isn’t eco-friendly, fabric-friendly, or wallet-friendly. So we tapped Jess Kirby to share her sustainable, at-home sweater care tips and this is what she told us. We promise they’ll make your sweaters look as good as new, every single time.
As I sat down to write this post I received a direct message on Instagram from a follower asking me, “How do you care for your cashmere?” I get this question quite often and I totally get it—dry cleaning is expensive, inconvenient, and certainly not eco-friendly. As someone with a closet brimming with sweaters (it’s basically sweater weather year-round here in Rhode Island!), I’ve spent a significant amount of time figuring out the best ways to wash them and keep them looking new year after year. And I’ve finally mastered it. Read on and copy my foolproof plan!
Store Sweaters and Knits Like This
The best way to help knits maintain their shapes and stay wrinkle-free is to store them folded. I like to group them by knit type so they’re easy to locate: Cashmere, wool, and so on. Chunky, tightly-woven knits usually don’t stretch out, so I’ll occasionally hang them in my closet with a velvet hanger to save space. During the warmer months, I’ll store bulky knits in breathable canvas bags, which I love because critters can't eat through them and they protect my garments from dust.
Fun Fact: The scent of cedar has been known to keep moths and critters away so I always wash my sweaters with cedar-scented Wool & Cashmere Shampoo before stashing them away.
Use This At-Home Tool To Nix Pills
You know those pesky pills that crop up on your sweaters? They’re usually a result of friction that occurs during wear, and there’s a few different ways you can get rid of them without damaging your stuff. For fine-gauge knits (like cashmere cardigans) gently glide Sweater Comb in one direction to smooth away pills.
The Sweater Stone is great for heavier garments (like cable knits) and you can use it the same way.
I also really like the Cashmere Brush for nixing lint, hair, and fuzz. I try to brush my sweaters with it after each use because it releases the yarn’s natural oils and helps them look rejuvenated and brand new.
Wash Sweaters And Knits With Care
Little known fact: A majority of items labeled “dry clean only,” including wool and cashmere, can actually be laundered at home! If you’re unsure how to clean them, I recommend you check out The Laundress comprehensive Fabric A-Z Care Guide. When washing knits, you can either hand wash or machine wash. If you’re hand washing, use a pH-neutral detergent like Wool & Cashmere Shampoo and a basin (or sink) of cool water. Submerge the sweater in the soapy water, soak for up to 30 minutes, then hold your sweater under a stream of cool water until it rinses clean. Be sure not to ring it out! Instead, press out excess water against your sink or tub, and lay flat on a drying rack to dry. To avoid shrinkage, place the rack away from direct sunlight or any sources of heat (like a radiator).
If machine washing, use the delicate cycle (cool water temperature and low spin) and place your knits inside out in a Mesh Washing Bag to protect it from snagging inside the machine. Air dry using the method above.
Steaming helps to quickly release wrinkles and freshens up knits between washes by killing bacteria. Another fabulous option for reviving fabrics between wears is the Wool & Cashmere Spray. I live by this nontoxic spray that has antibacterial properties. The cedar scent keeps moths away so it’s also great for spritzing garments before storing them.
And that’s everything! The Laundress products are highly concentrated so a little goes a long way. It has saved me a ton of money over the years not having to dry clean my sweaters, especially in the winter months when it’s all I wear! They’re also allergen-free, plant based and free of petroleum, phthalates, phosphate, parabens, artificial dyes and chlorine bleach.