Although spring is in sight, it’s safe to say temperatures are still dropping fast, so it’s not quite time to ditch the jumpers, cardigans and sweatshirts that our winter wardrobe has to offer. As with any other season, new trends arise each winter, but staple and quality garments should last for years to come. Whether it’s avoiding washing machine mishaps or unwanted moth holes, with the proper care and attention, you shouldn’t have to rush out to replace your woollens each year.
Here, fashion retailer and knitwear specialists, Seasalt Cornwall, advises how to make your knitwear last for life, not just for winter.
1. Fold, Don’t Hang
Wool or cashmere garments should be stored folded in a drawer rather than hung in a wardrobe, as putting knitwear on a hanger can cause the material to stretch and distort over time. If you must hang an item up, avoid doing so for long periods of time and opt for a padded hanger, positioning it carefully so that it doesn’t pull on the shoulders.
When storing folded, stack the garments on top of one another on shelves so that individual pieces are easy to see and access. If you are leaving knitwear in a drawer or on shelves for a long period of time, perhaps over the summer months, consider keeping lavender bags and cedar balls amongst them to keep them fresh.
2. Wash Gently
Probably the most important factor when looking after your knitwear is how to wash it. Different yarns have different needs and require slightly different care, so it’s vital to check the garment labels before taking the plunge. For instance, natural yarns, like cashmere and wool, require less washing and simply airing out in a gentle breeze will often being enough to freshen them up.
Always wash your knitwear before packing it away for summer as stains, sweat, and deodorant can damage the fibres and will affect the quality of material if left over time. Make sure the garment is completely dry and well aired before you store it, as even the smallest amount of damp can cause mould to grow.
3. Remove Bobbles Regularly
As knitwear is worn, the yarns in the fabric can rub, creating little balls of fluff on the surface of the garment. Bobbles are an inevitable result of wearing your favourite knit, no matter the brand or price, but once you have removed them correctly a few times, you should find your clothing bobbles less in the long run. To help reduce bobbles appearing, you should wash your knitwear inside out. If bobbles do surface, they can be gently removed from natural fibres by simply picking them off by hand.
4. Avoid Moth Holes
We all live in fear of reaching for our favourite jumper and finding tiny holes in it, a tell-tale sign you’ve been hit by moths. Unlike moths that live outdoors and are more common in summer, moths that thrive on garments like to reside in dark spaces such as attics, cupboards, wardrobes, and often linger in the creases of folded clothing.
One of the best ways to minimise the risk of moth holes, is to store knitwear with cedar balls, which contain natural oils that kill the larvae from moths and their eggs. You could also carry out regular checks every few weeks, hoovering and dusting the insides of drawers and wardrobes to prevent moths lingering.
If you are unlucky enough to find moth holes in an item, you should consider putting it in a sealable plastic bag and put it in the freezer for two weeks as this will help to kill the moth eggs.
5. Air Dry Flat
To maintain a jumper’s size and shape, you should lay it out flat to dry rather than hanging or stretching over a drying rack. As the garment dries, stretch it out gently to correct the shape and ensure it doesn’t fall into the wrong place. Keep it away from direct heat as this may shrink the fibres and cause the clothing to reduce in size. When it’s dry, you can use an iron on a light steam setting to remove creases and flatten any stray fibres.
Knitwear should not be a one-year purchase as, with the right care and attention, timeless and quality pieces can last a lifetime. No matter the style or brand, your favourite jumpers and sweaters require the highest level of caution when washing, drying, and storing them – ensuring their longevity, and making them worth every penny.