A good quality knit is a winter wardrobe staple and can last for years if it is cared for properly. The key? Knowing what your knits are made from, and how to wash, dry and store them appropriately.
Unlike your summer fabrics, knits require a high level of caution and care when washing. Washing your knitwear incorrectly can cause it to lose shape, pull or shrink. Handwashing is always the safest practice for washing knits, especially fabrics like cashmere. Buy a good quality wool wash or use baby shampoo as it is more gentle than normal detergent and don’t leave your knit soaking for more than a few minutes. If you do choose to put your knit in the washing machine stick to a cold gentle or wool cycle. Don’t use warm water as wool is known for shrinking when washed in hot temperatures. Synthetics such as spandex and polyester are a little more durable and can be washed normally amongst other clothes.
Your knits don’t need to be washed after every wear either. Overwashing can contribute to misshaping and fading. After washing, press the water out and avoid wringing, scrunching or twisting. This can also contribute to shape loss and may even cause permanent wrinkling if you aren’t careful.
Make sure you always air dry your knits. Don’t tumble dry because again, hot temperatures = shrinking. Avoid hanging them out in full sunlight and instead, lay your knit out on a flat surface or over the back of a chair. Don’t use pegs as they can leave marks on thick fabrics such as wool. If your garment needs ironing, turn it inside out and iron on a low heat wool setting.
Don’t stress if you knits begin to pill. It is normal for even the most expensive brands and is often caused by loose fibres that tangle together in areas like under the armpit. For a quick fix, carefully run a sharp razor over the knit to remove any pilling.
When it comes time to pack away your knits at the end of the season, storage is almost as important as correctly washing and drying. Make sure your knits are clean and avoid hanging your knits to avoid any stretching or shape loss (especially around the shoulders). Neatly fold them and store with cedar balls to avoid any unwanted moth attacks.
To avoid your money going down the drain, remember to check the label if you are ever unsure on how to look after your beloved knits.