Winter woollies: Getting your knitwear ready for the cosy season

22/10/2018 - Laundry Tips

With the cold weather setting in, we’re all starting to swap the summer clothes for warmer layers. If they’ve been stuck in storage, need a bit of freshening up or if you’re buying all-new knitwear for the season, it’s important to know how to take care of it all. The team here at ACE has some advice to keep your knitwear soft, stain free and in good condition to take you from season to season.

Before you wash your woollies, it’s vital to check the item’s care label, whether it’s a cosy jumper or soft blanket, and whatever you do, don’t be tempted to chuck your garments in the dryer!

How to remove unwanted stains on your woollies

It’s annoying enough to get a stain on any of your clothes, but knitwear stains leave most of us are clueless about where to start with treating it and removing the mark, without causing damage to delicate fabrics. Any stains are best treated as soon as possible, either by spot cleaning with a gentle stain remover like ACE, working inwards so the stain doesn’t spread. Use the reverse side of the stain, handle carefully and remember: rubbing = piling. ACE is suitable for use on woollen items and has been approved by Woolmark – just make sure you follow the instructions and directions on labels sewn to the garment.

Nice and easy machine-washable woollies

The easiest to care for are machine-washable woollies, which should be washed on the ‘wool’, ‘gentle’ or ‘delicate’ cycle. If your washing machine lacks these settings then you can use a pillow case to put the soft fabric in and put it on a cool wash. After machine washing simply give your jumper or blanket a gentle shake, reshape and dry flat.

Knitwear that needs a gentle touch

If the care label says that your jumper or blanket needs handwashing, it doesn’t need as much effort as you may first think. Items that need handwashing can benefit from being turned inside out and washed in cool/lukewarm water with an appropriate, gentle detergent. Standard laundry liquid may be alright for your normal knitwear, however, it might contain high levels of carbonates rather than phosphates. This can result in calcium deposits, making the soft fibres of your more gentle jumpers feel rough.

Give your woollies a little gentle stir, then leave to soak for a few minutes. Make sure you don’t rub or pull as you will damage the wool. Rinse twice and press to remove any remaining water. As tempting as it might be, do not wring it out. Keep your wash time to a minimum. Once the garment is submerged and gently washed, take care to get it out of the water fairly swiftly. The longer you keep your garments wet, the more they are likely to bleed or fade.

If you’ve got the time and energy to hand wash woollen items it’s worth getting rid of most of the water by using a clean towel as a sort of blotter. If you roll up the towel with your woollen clothes in it to create a wool-filled burrito/Swiss roll shape, this will help to absorb any excess water. Once you’ve unrolled the item it’s best to try and air dry it flat to avoid misshaping. Keep it away from direct sunlight and away from heaters.

What to do if your knitwear is dry clean only

If you have any expensive knitwear it is likely to be dry clean only, which means the stain removal and cleaning job is out of your hands. However, your job is to make sure you don’t take your jumpers or blankets to the dry cleaners too often. Limiting the amount of times you get them done will maximise their lifespan and minimise wear and tear.

Storing your stain-free jumpers

The must-know rule of knitwear is to never store wool or cashmere on a hanger, as this can stretch it and cause it to misshape. Always fold these items.

Another big problem that comes with having our woollies out on display is moths. To eliminate these annoying knitwear eaters place wooden hangers, cedar balls or lavender bags in with your jumpers as moths hate the smell of cedar and lavender.

To free up space in your wardrobe and eliminate any excuse for the jumper-eating moths to come and feast on your clothes; donate knitwear and blankets that you don’t use, or store them in airtight storage bags.

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