The leaves on the trees are changing to brilliant shades of yellow, red and orange, pumpkins and mums have appeared on porches, stores are stocking their racks full of chic coats and cozy sweaters and temperatures outside are in the balmy 70’s and 80’s. It seems fall is moving forward without it’s signature cold, crisp air and I am stuck looking forlornly at my new tweed blazer and favorite cashmere cardigans as once again I pull on a short sleeve blouse. So while I am waiting on sweater weather I figured I would share some tips on keeping your sweaters looking new longer, courtesy of Shine from Yahoo.
1. Fold never hang your sweaters.
Gravity is not a friend to sweaters as it can pull apart the fibers and alter the shape of your knits over time. Hangers and hooks can especially misshape the sleeves, shoulders, and necklines. Fold your sweaters and store them in wood, canvas, or cardboard containers so they have access to air but not moths. This way you’ll be able to preserve their shape and fresh smell with fewer washes.
2. Take a de-piller to the fabric regularly.
Nothing takes a sweater from chic to shabby like the appearance of “pills,” or tiny fabric balls, that collect on the garment due to friction. Fortunately they can easily be removed by hand or by using an electric shaver or sweater stone, which basically exfoliates the fabric, making it appear smooth and new again. Don’t have any of those? Try a hairbrush (carefully) or a comb!
3. Protect your sweaters from moths.
Moths love to eat wool, the primary material in most sweaters. Luckily, the aroma of cedar is a natural, sweet-smelling deterrent. To prevent these pests from making meals out of your clothes, line your storage areas with cedar wood or throw cedar balls in your drawers.
4. Never wait to do repairs.
Once a button comes loose or a small tear appears in your woven fabric, the garment is at risk of unraveling, or at least for the hole becoming unmanageably large. Most sweaters come with extra thread for minor repairs, so be sure to patch any holes as soon as possible.
5. Clean infrequently and with care.
Much like denim, sweaters should not be washed after every wear if you want to keep them looking straight-from-the-store new for longer. To keep your sweater from requiring frequent cleanings, wear a cotton shirt underneath it so your body oils don’t come in direct contact with the garment. Also, some newer washing machine models have settings for wool and delicates, which are gentle enough for the woven fibers of your sweater. But in order to be absolutely sure you won’t shrink or damage your favorite piece, it’s always better to hand wash it or take it to a dry cleaner. To wash by hand, fill the sink with cold water (hot or warm water increases the potential for shrinkage), add a small amount of detergent formulated for delicates, and let the sweater soak. If you need to remove stains, gently rub the sweater against itself until the stain dissolves. When drying, never hang the sweater. Instead lay it on a towel and change its position frequently to ensure it dries evenly.