Care by Cadre: How to Wash Your Knits
Despite its care tag’s “dry clean only” suggestion, there is no real reason to be taking knitwear to a cleaner. Aside from the toxic process and environmental setbacks of dry cleaning, the natural fibers from wool and cashmere are much more suited for a bath. The gentler process will extend the longevity of the piece and will keep those dollars back in your wallet. Our fool- proof tips will help transition even the most cautious to a wash at at home routine that kinder to one’s clothes, planet and budget.
What Needs Washing
Your sweaters and knits should not be washed after every wear. Add a thin, long-sleeved layer under each knit to prevent body oil and sweat from transferring and wash only when dirty and at the end of each season. If you’re washing more than one item, separate them by color and keep those of similar tones together.
Set It and Forget It
It may seem a little nerve-racking, but it is more than possible to wash knits in a machine. This shortcut can be a total timesaver but make sure your settings are precise to prevent any shrinkage. The machine will likely have a setting for Delicates or Wool, but just make sure the temperature is cold and the spin cycle is set to its lowest setting. Add a splash of detergent made specifically for delicates for the best results - save the heavy duty stuff for cottons. We love Dirty Lab’s Handwash and Delicates offering for its super concentrated formula, safe ingredients and of course, plastic-free packaging. Once the cycle is washed, let the items dry flat on a clean towel.
For the special hand wash treatment (our preferred method), create a cold, soapy bath with a splash of cleanser. You can definitely use Dirty Lab’s Handwash and Delicates here again or a Castile bar soap like Dr. Bronner’s can also do the trick if you find yourself in a pinch. Let your knits indulge in the soak for no more than 30 minutes max.
Squeeze, Not Wring
After draining the soapy soak, rinse your items in cold water and gently press (not wring) the excess water out. Pressing and squeezing the water out will help keep its form and prevent unnecessary wrinkles or warping. Take a clean towel and press down on both sides of the sweater to absorb more water and then let dry flat on another clean and dry towel.
Maintain and Put Away
Assess your freshly bathed knits and use a gentle sweater stone to remove any lint or pilling that may have collected on the fibers. Take note of any pulls and holes and consult Youtube for DIY fixes. Your local tailor may be able to tackle anything more advanced. As warmer weather starts to inch in, reserve some time to give the rest of your worn knits an end of the season scrub. Moths love dirty sweaters so tucking away clean sweaters for the long nap will help keep them at bay. Bonus points for storing them in a breathable cotton bag with bits of cedar or cedar/peppermint oil spray for bonus points.