Sweaters are a basic wardrobe staple for most people, from the time the brisk fall weather arrives and through the cold Canadian winters. But in order to keep sweaters looking their best, you need to take extra care when cleaning them, says Susan Lee, a designer and knitwear expert at Canadian company Spanner.
Sweaters can last for years -- with the proper care. Here are Lee's tips for keeping your knitwear looking its best.
• The number one rule, says Lee, is do not overclean sweaters. "The less you clean them, the happier sweaters are," she says. Only clean them when they are really soiled. Lee also says many people have the misconception you have to clean knitwear before storage and after storage -- this is necessary only if items are really dirty.
• Most sweaters can be washed by hand in cold water with good results. Use a mild soap such as Zero and rinse in cool water to remove all soap residue. Tip: Prevent the colour in your sweater from running by putting salt in the water.
• Do not wring out the sweater -- instead, roll it up in a towel and gently push on the towel to remove excess water. Then lay it flat to dry over something with ventilation, like a clothes rack. Never hang a sweater on a hanger or a doorknob -- it will stretch the shape.
• Rayon and silk knitwear should be dry-cleaned, although this method of cleaning is hard on any clothing.
• Lofty fibres such as mohair or angora like to be put in the freezer for 20 minutes (either dry or damp) to help restore fluffiness.
• Lee says she does not recommend ironing sweaters. Try gently steaming a sweater if you do have noticeable wrinkles.
• The best way to store a sweater is folded on a shelf where there is some ventilation. Lee says cedar is best for protection from moths -- or if using mothballs, try cedar-scented ones.
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