I’ve been in the honeymoon stage with my sweaters lately, but with our first freeze coming later this week, it’s getting real.
Winter is coming.
I know I’m going to lean on my sweaters heavily these next few months, so it’s time to get serious. If I want them to have my back all winter long, I’m going to have to do the same for them.
In this post, we’ll cover everything from pesky pills, to keeping sweaters fresh between washes, to hand washing techniques, to how I store my sweaters.
Sweaters shown above: Cream fisherman sweater (old by Banana Republic) | similar with turtleneck | similar under $90 | similar under $70 | similar under $50 // Grey sweater by Topshop (Fit note: I’m wearing a 6) | similar // Black and white marled sweater (old) | similar
1 | Say hello to the defuzzing comb (and goodbye to pills)
No matter the quality of your knits, you’re bound to run into some pills. High quality knits, low quality knits — most all of them pill at some point.
The good news is that there’s an inexpensive solution: A two dollar defuzzing comb. This little guy will easily eliminate your pills when they pop up. Battery operated fabric shavers exist too, but personally, I think the comb is easier to use.
I comb all of my sweaters and flannels as soon as they come out for the season. Then I keep on top of it — if I notice a pill, I take ten seconds and comb it out right then and there.
That’s the key: consistency. Don’t let pills build up — comb them out as soon as you notice them. Simple as that.
A defuzzing comb also works well for yoga pants, flannel shirts, and pretty much anything else that might get pills.
2 | Wear a base layer under your sweaters
Q: What’s easier to wash? A cashmere sweater or a plain tee?
A: The tee!
A base layer tee can protect your sweater and keep it cleaner, longer, by creating a barrier between your sweater and your skin. Since your sweater isn’t up next to your skin, it’s less likely to absorb oils and odors. Instead, the base layer takes that hit, while your sweater stays fresh.
Wearing a base layer can also help take the itch out of wool or mohair sweaters.
To me, the key to a good base layer is softness and a little bit of stretch. This is my favorite long sleeve base layer I’ve found so far (shown in the photo above). It’s fitted, but not too tight, it’s soft and lightweight, and it has just the right amount of stretch. It runs true to size — however, I did get it in petite since I didn’t want the length to be too long. Here’s a similar short sleeve version.
3 | Sanitize with a steamer
If you’ve been around here for very long, you’ve heard me talk about my steamer. I rarely travel without it, and I usually end up using it a couple of times a week at home, too.
When you think of steaming clothes, the first thing that probably comes to mind is removing wrinkles. But! It does so much more. Steaming sanitizes clothes by actually killing any bacteria that might be lurking in the fibers. Because of that, it can even remove faint odors.
I use a small travel steamer, like this one. It’s an excellent way to “wash” your clothes between washes. (I love using it as an excuse to do less laundry.)
4 | Deodorize with a sweater spray
When my sweaters have an odor that steaming alone won’t cut, I have one last trick in my bag: a sweater freshening spray.
I use this Wool + Cashmere spray by The Laundress. It removes odor and it’s got antibacterial properties, plus it’s a natural moth repellent.
All of my sweaters get a light mist of this stuff when they come out for the season and when they go back into storage at the end of the season.
However, for day to day use, the scent can be a little strong. So I use mine sparingly and usually only spray trouble spots, like under the arms. It’s powerful, and a little goes a long way.
5 | Hand wash when needed.
You’ve taken all the preventative measures. You’ve worn a base layer, you’ve steamed, you’ve sprayed. But it’s time to call it: this sweater needs a wash.
Most sweaters say dry clean only, but I’m not a fan of dry cleaning. Instead, I hand wash.
Start with a clean sink (avoid using a bleach cleaner on the sink). Fill your sink up with water and add a mild detergent. I like this one for sweaters. Gently agitate any stains or smelly spots with your fingers, then let it soak for about 5 minutes. Rinse thoroughly, then roll it up in a towel to get extra moisture off — don’t wring it out. Finally, lay it flat to dry, gently reshaping if needed.
If hand washing isn’t something you want to do, try putting your sweater in a pillowcase or in a lingerie bag and running it through the washer on a gentle cycle with a mild detergent. I rarely (if ever) do this because putting a dry clean only sweater in the washing machine is a risk. Make sure you do a bit of research on the fabric content of your sweater first.
Some sweaters can look wrinkled after a wash, so give it a quick steam to release the wrinkles and fluff the fibers.
Lightning round Q+A
How often do you wash your sweaters?
With all the preventative steps I take, probably about once a month. Maybe I can stretch it to two months if I’m super careful.
Do you hang or fold your sweaters?
I keep mine folded in drawers, since hanging them can cause them to lose their shape. I also keep a satchel of lavender buds in there too, as a natural moth and bug repellant.
How do you store your sweaters for long term storage?
First, I start with clean sweaters — the cleaner they are, the less likely they are to attract moths and bugs. Next, I fold them and put them in a plastic bin with my other off season clothes, making sure to give everything room and not pack it too tightly. Some say storing clothes in plastic is a no-no, but it’s what I have right now, so it’s what I’m using. Maybe someday I’ll upgrade to a canvas box. Finally, the bin goes into a spare closet in the house (so that it’s room temperature) and I keep the lid slightly open, so the clothes have a bit of airflow.
What if I get a hole in my sweater?
If you’re handy with a crochet needle, you can do a little research and fix it yourself. But if not, a seamstress can usually fix it for you, no problem!
• • •
And there you have it!
Got any tips to add to this list? I think I can speak for us all when I say, I’d love to hear them! Share away in the comments below.
See you Thursday!
This was so helpful! Buying that pill comb today!
Loving your more regular posting schedule!
Awesome post Caroline! I’m have heard you talk about the steamer so often, but you officially sold me this morning. I’m going to ask Santa for one ; ) Thank you for the thoughtful tips!
Laura @ http://www.thriveorsurvive.us
Laura, it’s a lifesaver! Hope you get tons of use out of it too :)
Stacey MAck says
GREAT ARTICLE. I posting it on my blog closetattic.wordpress.com because that’s what it is all about recycling your wardrobe and care factors such as these help to preserve so you can re-wear over and oVer. Thanks!
Another great alternative to hand washing in a sink is a collapsible dish tub- they can be as cheap as $15. I live in nyc, so the fact that it collapses down to be flat makes it easy to store and I only use it for washing clothes- hence, you don’t have to worry too much about what other cleaners or dishes found their way in there. And I’ll use the same one for multiple sweaters at a time. I just combine like colors or wash items from light to dark.
I love your daily posts these days! Good for you for giving up ‘fantasy’ seasons. Inspired by your posts, I’m also doing that. I also gave up ‘being cold in winter because I think I need fewer clothes to look slimmer and sleeker’. Bring on the wool waffle knits.
Jody Brazee says
I need the collapsible dish tub.. What a great idea.
Great idea!! Thanks for sharing :)
Chelsea Connor says
seriously great idea- thanks for this tip!
You just changed my (sweater) life! I travel for >1 month regularly and not all sinks plug adequately, or are provided plugs, to hand wash sweaters. If the trip is short enough it’s not an issue, but for longer ones it is. To be honest it will make it easier to wash things at home too, by freeing up the sink…
That collapsible tub does sound awesome, Danielle! Thank you for sharing! :)
The collapsible tub sounds great!
If someone can’t find a collapsible tub, my system’s pretty similar: I have two of the same kind of small plastic containers that nest (like the kind you see at any store in the storage section, and you may have sitting around somewhere), and I stack them together (without lids).
All of my laundry-related stuff gets corralled in the top bin, and I use the bottom bin for hand washing, without needing extra space to store it. (Or needing to dump the detergents and the steamer and random bits and bobs on the floor to use the top bin for washing… Which I used to do, and works fine, too, but is a bit more of a hassle.)
Terri Martin says
Love your blog! I am an alterations specialist and wanted to share an American made personal steamer. JIFFY brand is made in Tennessee and you can get REPLACEMENT parts. They manufacture all types of steamers- personal at professional.
Thanks Terri! That saves me some research. I always try to buy local!
Thank you for sharing, Terri! We love American-made around these parts. :)
Tanya E says
Great tips! I love my pill comb (I’m on my second one) I definitely prefer it to the battery defuzzer. I keep mine in a pot on top of my chest of drawers, so it’s to hand.
As someone who lives in a colder climate and has kids, I probably need to wash my knitwear quite often, but I will look out for the steamer and wool spray. My washing machine has a delicate and handwash cycle, which works well with special wool or delicate detergent. I then dry them flat on a towel in the airing cupboard.
I started using vacuum bags to store out of season clothes and agree they need to be clean. One jumper dress was eaten by moths (we had an infestation last summer) but nothing else was touched. Also, it was the first time I had used the vacuum storage and hadn’t sealed it properly.
Tanya, ugh! Those dang moths! Glad they didn’t ruin everything. Thanks for sharing your own tips with us! :)
Just thought I’d put in a couple comments since I’m a wool (and wool sweater) enthusiast!
-Those pill combs are actually made with the same abrasive mesh that you use to sand drywall! You can buy it in larger sheets and the hardware store and cut it down to use on your sweaters.
-Reshaping your sweaters when you dry them flat is actually a requirement for all-wool sweaters, and it’s called “blocking.” You can also block a dry sweater with steam!
-I’ve found that if your sweater has at least 20% synthetic materials in the fabric content, you can usually machine-wash it in cold on the delicate setting. You should also avoid regular detergent with wool, so I use cheap shampoo – wool is hair after all!
-Really good cashmere will not pill because the wool has been allowed to grow long on the goat’s body. Those long fibers make better, stronger yarn and it is more difficult for them to come loose and start to pill up. If you have pills on your cashmere, it’s likely a cheaper, shorter fiber…those goats are getting sheared too often!
Thank you so much for sharing all these excellent tips! :)
As a spinner and knitter, I’d add that it’s not necessarily the “quality” of the sweater that causes it to pill – it’s the underlying structure and fiber content (i.e., breed of fiber animal) of the yarn. Loosely spun yarns will pill more than a tightly spun yarn. Yarns spun from fiber with shorter staple lengths such as cashmere tend to be woollen spun, which gives it more loft and air, and will pill sooner than yarn that is spun worsted, with a tighter twist. Remember that when you use the pill comb, you are in effect removing fiber, which will cause the remaining areas to be thinner and subsequently weaker. It’s ok to use the pill comb, but I’d recommend it be used more sparingly. Also, a good wool wash that fiber arts use such as Soak, Eucalan, or Tuft Woolens works great. Just soak in the sink and lay flat to dry after squishing out excess water with a towel. And when storing knits, I like to toss a lavender sachet or cedar ball in to further discourage pests.
Love your blog!
I’ve found that when I remove pills, the fabric was already thinner underneath the pills (since it lost some of the fibers to make the pills), and it doesn’t seem to do much MORE damage to remove the pills,just smooths it out. Any ideas for preventing pills in the first place? Thank you!
The pills are caused by friction or agitation of the yarn, so you’ll tend to see it occur where that happens more often, like under your arm or where your upper arm brushes against your chest, or perhaps in the back where it might rub against a chair or a coat. There’s really no sure-fire way to prevent them completely, but just being aware of the fiber content and paying attention to minimize that friction will help. Your fluffy mohair blends, cashmere, and even some acrylic blends and cotton (which has a very short staple) will tend to pill the most – basically anything that has a “halo” where little bits of the fiber stick out from the fabric. :-)
Heidi N says
Cotton will not pill and washes well
When it pertains to outerwear over knit sweaters, unlined jackets and coats rub and cause pilling on sweaters much more than lined ones do. Maybe consider that when looking for what to layer over sweaters.
Meghan K. says
I was coming here to say just this, so two thumbs up for your very detailed, informative comment! :)
Tammy, so grateful for your knowledge on this subject! Thank you for sharing your wisdom with us. :)
I clicked “buy” on defuzzing comb before even finishing that post :D
Thanks so much, never heard of it before!
I’ve been using a shaver, but it’s risky, especially when shaving thin sweaters.
Absolutely loved this post! I’m thinking about buying the comb (it’s so affordable!!) and have already passed along to many people!
Marie Therese says
I definitely learned so much from not only your post but also the comments, too. Makes me feel a little braver when it comes to wearing my favorite sweaters. I don’t want to ruin them, but with these tips, they just might survive :)
Marie, they’ll get through this! Haha ;)
Jody Brazee says
I need the comb and steamer. I barely wash my sweaters, every 4-6 weeks. I always put my sweaters in a pillowcase if the go in the washer. Glad I was doing it half right. I have a hard time finding sweaters I love to wear I don’t want anything to happen to them. Thanks for this post!
The pillowcase is a good idea too, Jody! :)
Do you have a fix for shrunken wool sweaters? I wash mine in the washing machine on cold and do not put them in the dryer but they still come out too small! Any way to fix this?? Is hand washing the only prevention?
The friction from the washing machine is causing the wool to ‘felt’. You need to use a wool setting or hand wash setting on your washing machine to avoid felting. I’ve heard you can relax a slightly shrunken wool item by soaking with some hair conditioner or baby shampoo and then blocking but I’ve never tried it, good luck!
Try a hair relaxer, kind of like a conditioner-I have read that it works on the shrunken wool because it’s animal hair, after all. Many articles on the how-to online. Worth a shot!
Ellza, I’ve heard the same thing — that you can restore the natural fibers with baby shampoo or conditioner. Here’s an article I found doing a quick Google search: http://bit.ly/2gcH11o Let us know if it works! :)
This post is so helpful (as are the comments!). I’ll be bookmarking this and referring back to it often.
Mary Grogan says
What kind of detergent do you use? The link didn’t work.
Try this one, Mary: http://bit.ly/2hlKmvO
Great post, Caroline! This was super helpful. The weather has dipped down where I live recently, so I’ve been living in my cashmere sweaters. I would also note that although I do hand wash my cashmere (I notice it makes them softer over time, and is better for the environment too!), I never ever steam them. I’ve heard that wool and cashmere can shrink when in contact with heat, so I avoid steaming for that reason. Have you or anyone else noticed shrinkage when steaming wool or cashmere?
Hey Nancy, great question. Not sure if others have had that experience, but I haven’t noticed any shrinking. Maybe because I gently pull and shake the sweaters while steaming, they maintain their shape? Not sure, but luckily it hasn’t been an issue! Phew. :)
A tip on cashmere sweaters: a high quality cashmere will always pill. This is due to the excess of fabric. When your cashmere sweater starts to pill it means it needs a wash (cold water, very little & soft detergent, no softener) and its pill will go, no need to “shave” them.
My best cashmere sweater can actually be machine washed and bears low speed (400 spins / minute) spin drying. The brand I bought it from actually recommands washing their sweaters this way if your machine machine has a “wool & delicate” program with cold water & slow spin drying. I know our machines are different in Europe from the American ones, but in case I thought I would share as my own sweater rules are very very similar to yours.
Thanks for sharing, Anne. Great tip! :)
For a while I wasn’t sure what was happening with your blog but I really feel like things have gotten back on track – I’ve been loving the content lately! I’ve especially enjoyed the inclusion of some of your more outdoorsy pieces. I would love to see more of your outdoor and athletic gear in general. Keep up the good work :)
I’m so glad I’m not the only one who wears sweaters for a looooong time between washes!! My favorite base layer is a thermaskin from land’s end, the texture is really silky so the sweater glides over it instead of getting stuck, like with cotton. (I’d love to find an ethically made version of those when it’s time to replace them, but so far they’re holding up really well after 2 years in heavy rotation.)
What a great article! I never know what to do with those dry clean only sweaters. Dry cleaning can get so expensive! I already ordered the wool and cashmere cleaner and spray and the handy dandy little comb. Thank you!
Tanya E says
I’m in the UK, so it could be a bit different but I bought dry cleaning sheets from woollite on amazon and you can put them in the tumble dryer on low for 20 mins, I often use it to refresh wool and silk scarves sometimes reusing the sheets with a little lavender oil.
As someone who wears a lot of sweaters in cold Toronto, I really REALLY appreciate this post. LOVE the blog. Have been faithfully reading for years. Thank you for sharing yourself.
Some of my sweaters get baggy elbows after I’ve worn them – even the high-quality ones. I haven’t found a way to refresh their shape and tighten them up without washing. My steamer doesn’t seem do to the trick, although I wish it did :) I’m trying to buy sweaters with a little elastic material in them (Spandex or the like). Although this is a cheaper material, the fabric has much better shape recovery than an all-natural fiber.
Any ideas for keeping the shape nice on non-stretchy sweaters? I have some, and they are higher quality, so I want to take good care of them.
I second the request for ideas to banish baggy elbows! I recently noticed this on my sweaters and am trying to not lean on my elbows at tables but instead rest my forearms on the table or my lap. Haven’t noticed any improvements though…
What material are the baggy sweaters? In my experience, cotton stretches out the most, even though it’s ‘natural.’ My wool sweaters will maybe bag a little, but only after a long time and not very much. I wonder if the tightness of the knit has anything to do with it too (looser knit–>stretches more easily?).
I think the only way to keep the shape is to re-wet them. If they aren’t ready for washing, maybe just soak them, or just soak the stretched area?
Hey ladies! I’m not sure I can be very helpful here. I don’t notice this happening with my sweaters — maybe because I tend to wear them over-sized? Sorry I can’t give much advice on that one! :)
A “dry clean only” label is a reason not to buy a sweater (ditto for any other clothes). If it can’t be washed, then I don’t want it. I have a few items with labels that say dry clean, but I hand washed them and it worked just fine. Wearing a long sleeve base layer is what totally works for me. Some sweaters I wash at the end of the season with a special wool detergent and that’s it. Thanks for your posts, I look forward to them every day.
sarah mozelle says
anyone out there ever add a drop of essential oil to handheld steamer to freshen a garment?
This post was pure genius and many thanks for educating me on caring for my sweaters. Lots of practical suggestions that I will definitely put to use. So appreciate your blog and style. Keep up the fantastic work!
Shasta Garcia says
If you’re into mending your sweaters; needle felting is a good option to fix small holes… Easier than crochet. I do keep a very small crochet hook to pull snags to the back of a sweater.
Great tip, Shasta! Thank you. :)
So I admit I haven’t tried this yet – maybe someone else has (let me knowif it works!) – but a lot of denim has instructions to “clean” it by putting it in the freezer, instead of washing. This is supposed to kill the bacteria in a heat, abrasion, and moisture-free way. Has anybody tried this with sweaters? Curious!
Love all the tips! Thanks Caroline!
I’ve heard this works great with getting cashmere to puff back up!
Isabella, I’ve also heard of this idea but never tried it. Would be an interesting experiment! :)
I toss my sweaters outside or in the freezer. It really does eliminate odor.
Liesbeth Verlinden says
I only wash my handwash sweaters about twice per season… but only wear them over base layers and on no-dirt activities like office work and in my car, not for biking to the city :). After wearing I hang them to air out a bit.
For storage I use cedar balls which I regularly re-oil. Much prefer the scent to lavender myself :)
Liesbeth, thank you for sharing. I love the smell of cedar too. :)
I’ve ruined so many jumpers by over-washing them! I’m really considering purchasing a steamer after reading this post because I think it will really come in handy during the winter (which lasts about 6 months in the UK, haha!).
Any thoughts on a sweater that’s already excessively pilly? I bought a sweater shaver last winter and tried to revive a couple of my favorite sweaters, but they still look a little ragged. Perhaps I’ll have to let go of those and start fresh, but I’d love to save them if I can!
Hey Jess, my only suggestion would be to try de-pilling over the course of a week — break it up to make it a little less daunting. Perhaps a comb would be better than the shaver? Work on the front one day, the back another, and then each sleeve. Once it’s done, you’ll be able to better assess whether the sweaters are salvageable. Good luck! :)
Caroline, these practical tips are so awesome! Thanks for going into so much detail.
I’ve realized one of the reasons I assumed minimalism wasn’t for me was because I was “tough” on clothes. But I see now it’s less the “tough” and more the lack of knowledge on how to maximize their longevity and care.
Laura, those are my thoughts exactly.
It makes me feel a little guilty that I never really thought about taking care of my sweaters. It’s great to know how to change this now :) Thank you, Caroline!
Thank you for sharing these tips! All my sweaters are covered in pills. I have a cheap electric shaver that’s about to go in the trash. Love your blog!
I use eucalan which actually replenished the lanolin in the fibres! Pop it in on delicate/hand wash cycle in the machine but you do have to be careful about the spin on your machine.
Beware I’ve had trouble with zero for delicate. Still have figured out my silks yet!
Thanks for sharing, Linda! :)
I only buy sweaters that are hand wash or dry clean if they are cardigans. My pullover sweaters are all machine washable in cold. They are supposed to be laid flat to dry, but I put them in the dryer on low for a short time, so they aren’t wrinkled and they don’t take so long to air dry. I wash my pullover sweaters every time I wear them.
You can hang sweaters! If you fold one in half lengthwise, place the hanger hook under the armpits,and fold the body and sleeves over the arms of the hanger (sort of like the sweater having the hanger in a headlock – LOL), the sweater won’t lose its shape.
Ah, so smart Alicia! Good to know! :)
Duo GIGS says
This is a really helpful post! Thank you for such detail sharing!
I am vegan so all of my sweaters are some combo of cotton/poly/linen/etc. I find that they pill WAY less than my old wool/cashmere sweaters did. Cruelty-free AND lower maintenance?? A huge win.
Cynthia Derrick says
Same here. I hardly ever deal with pills.
Low maintenance, indeed :)
I never seem to have pills either. My pullover sweaters are all cotton, cotton/rayon or rayon/acrylic blends.
I’ve been doing my capsule wardrobe for about a year and I’m slowly learning how to buy better quality clothes that I really want to last. The problem now is looking after them! I loved this post – so informative – and I’d love to see more on how you look after other clothes. What about whites? I love white clothes but always have a hard time keeping them white (maybe it’s my two kids…).
Bookmarking this one for tips later, thank you! I hate when you spend good money on sweaters or fall in love with it then it gets ruined. Also, I have the same steamer and love it! Perfect size and works great!
Sweaters can be tricky to care for, so thank you for this post! I may be picking up that steamer soon. :) A side note on the electric fabric shaver… it works great, but I have to be super careful with it. I’ve ruined a couple of sweaters because I was in a hurry with it and actually put holes in my clothes! Eeek! Having the piece flat on the ironing board and going slowly is key.
Yikes! Good to know, Taryn. Thanks for sharing and surely saving someone from a holey sweater! :)
I generally only buy things that can be cold machine washed, or that I willing to take the risk that they will survive the washing machine. The only “dry-clean” only things I have are coats and formal business clothes. My office is casual, but I’m a consultant so I’m dressed up about once a week for meetings. Pants/blazers for me need more than a steamer after a few wears. I bought the dryel kit once (it’s fine but expensive, but I really bought it for the bag for home dry cleaning. I usually mix water, vinegar, and some natural liquid detergent in a spray bottle, lightly spray, and throw in the dryel bag in the dryer for 30 minutes. If there’s a visible stain, I suck it up and take it to the dry cleaner. Luckily there is a pretty cheap dry cleaner near me, and while I admit I have not ever looked into their process, it claims it’s organic.
Admittedly most of my sweaters are pretty low quality, I just don’t have the budget to spend more than say $20 on a sweater right now. So I just machine wash them on cold. I will definitely try steaming though, maybe that will extend their life a bit!
Tania // HILLITA says
I’ve never heard of sweater deodorizer! What a fun tip! This will help a ton as I’ve been avoiding dry clean only and hand wash only tags. It makes It difficult to shop for work!
I use vodka or vodka + water in a spray bottle instead of special spay for refreshing clothes. Just make sure to do it when you have time to let it dry before leaving the house :)
How funny, I never would have thought something like that would work, but it actually kind of makes sense! Haha. Thanks for sharing, Jenn! :)
This is awesome! I want that white sweater you have!
Great tips! I bought the pill comb a while back, but tried using it and felt like I wasn’t going anywhere. Would you mind showing a tutorial clip, perhaps on your instastories, because I am just nervous using it :)
Great tips, thanks for sharing.
Hello Caroline! Could you please share the size of your base layered shirt? How does it fit? Thank you!
Hello Caroline! Could you please share the size of your base layered shirt? How does it fit? Thank you!
Taste of France says
I received a sweater shaver years ago as a gag gift, but one day, disgusted by pills on a sweater, I tried it out. Like new! I’m now on my second shaver.
Be careful when washing wool sweaters by hand–I had one that went from large to medium and finally to small. It depends on the wool. And cold water only!
Wildfire Charm says
These are such great tips for taking care of sweaters! I love preserving them and treating them right as well because I think they can last for years then :)
Katie Wright says
These are such great tips! I really hate pilling, so this is super helpful. I need one of those combs!
Kathryn O'Brien says
Loved this post – it was so helpful! I’m going to have to hand wash my sweaters from now on I think. Also, I’m definitely going to have to purchase that little comb! I recently got a new sweater that’d already developing pills, so the comb would help immensely.
‘Loved’ on Bloglovin’. Keep posting!
This was one of the most helpful posts I’ve seen lately. Just two words: thank you!
The only thing I would be really careful with is hand washing: if you don’t have any major stains on your sweaters, than it’s perfectly fine. If you do, however, I would rather take them to dry cleaning, simply because hand washing them and letting them dry when the stain might not be completely gone might cause it to never go away.
Agnese | Agnese’s Coiffeuse
I love all these tips. I’ve also seen where you should use baby shampoo instead of detergent for washing cashmere.
Really love this, super helpful, thank you!!
in Tucson I have found a reweaves who I call my ‘miracle man’. He takes care of moth holes, catches and one would never know there had been a problem. I suggest googling Reweaves in your area and see what you can find. Bon Chance!
Amelia Wasserman says
I LOVE LOVE LOVE these kinds of posts! Keep them coming! Thank you for putting it all together, Caroline. I believe knowing how to take care of our clothes is key to having a minimal wardrobe.
After getting a handheld steamer I found myself washing my clothes a lot less. I purchased a simple white clothes rack that I use for my steamings (and clothes swap parties) and I find it so much easier than trying to hold the item. I recently purchased a nice pair of slacks for work and found out later they are dry clean only. No worries! I just steam them once a week and they are good as new.
In terms of general care the best thing I could possibly recommend is to sort out your closes as soon as you undress instead of throwing them on the floor. I am guilty of doing this, but when I am on top of sorting my clothes they keep better and have have to do laundry a lot less.
Freezing your sweaters overnight either outside or in the freezer helps to eliminate odor.
I have learned so much from this post, Caroline ~ lots of tips I did not know. Thank you for sharing, and prompting many comments that have provided even further insight! And as others have said, this kind of extra care will increase the possibility of having minimal pieces that really work.
I’m finally able to finish reviewing my remaining clothing for donations. I’m way behind ~ just read this tonight ~ but it has inspired me to complete my project, and enjoy my wardrobe more with this additional knowledge about caring for my clothing … Thank you!
Marie-Flore Wiame says
I put my “dry clean” clothes in the washing machine on the lowest program and it’s ok. ;) It’s something I learned from a woman in a strore in my city. She is a genius with clothes so I trust her for 100%. Thanks for the tips. That little steam machine is something I’m going to test. ;)
Another thing I do and don’t laugh, or anything … it might sound crazy.
When I can do it I protect the armpit area of my “dry clean” or “special” clothes with a ultra thin pad. Those we wear to protect delicate underwear. They are super flexible and have a little perfume. (I’m talking about things you don’t take of like a cardigan) :)
Does anybody else roll their sweaters for storage? I read somewhere long ago to fold the sleeves in, laying them flat, then roll the sweater– not too tightly or it will stretch. When you take it off the shelf/drawer it doesn’t have as many wrinkles and certainly not one right across the front, which folding in any direction seems to leave. Also, I sometimes throw a sweater in the dryer with a damp washcloth (can squirt with a favorite scent, or use a dryer sheet, too) for just five minutes and that freshens and removes wrinkles. I haven’t noticed any shrinkage if you keep it in just long enough to get warm. I do this with lots of my blouses and pants, too– I hate to iron :P
As for pills, I try to carefully pick them off with my fingers as soon as I see them. It seems to leave a bit more of the fiber underneath, though it is slower, and only is worth it if there are few.
Love this post and all the comments, too!
this post is just amazing helpful. Not just the post, also the comments from other followers. Due to your recommendation I ordered the defuzzing comb, it lasted like six or seven weeks until it arrived in Germany. :D But yeah, this comb is rocking it. I already tried a lot of tools and “grandmas” tipps to defuzz my sweaters (sespecially the cashmere ones), but nothing was as great as this two dollar comb. So thanks for all the shared tipps.
Thank you, this was all really helpful tips! Feel like I need to purchase a steamer now! x
Great post! thanks for sharing all of your tips <3
Great tips! Love the advice as my wardrobe is mainly just sweaters/jumpers during winter.
Thanks for the tips .. but what if I want to wash it more often (1 week maybe)? Does the above method still work and can keep the fabric safe?
Hey Boxon, I’m sure it will be fine — it’s just good to keep in mind that the more you wash, the sooner things wear out. :)