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Keep your sweaters looking great with these tips

woman in black leggings and burgundy sweater consisting of cable-, rib- and jersey-knit textures

Comfortable knits are one of this season’s biggest fashion trends, whether over-sized or fitted, or made from cotton, cashmere or wool, women are loving the warm and cozy style. However, some people don’t know that it’s important to care for sweaters properly to keep them in excellent condition.

Unlike jeans or basic tees, it’s easy for sweaters to stretch out, snag and otherwise become damaged, but appropriate care can help prevent these issues from happening. Take a look at some suggestions for keeping your sweaters in prime condition:

Limit washes

Overwashing a knit can lead to shrinkage and fading, and most fashion experts agree washing after every wear just isn’t necessary. If you put sweaters on over a tank top, undershirt or other layering piece, wash every few wears. The exception? If a sweater becomes dirty, stained or is exposed to smoke (knits can easily pick up odors), it’s time for a wash. If a minor spill occurs, spot treat it if you can, and wash it if you can’t.

How to wash

Many women prefer to have their sweaters dry-cleaned, but that typically isn’t mandatory, unless you’ve splurged on an expensive cashmere or chunky wool piece that you don’t feel comfortable hand washing. The best way to wash sweaters is by hand, using cool water and a mild detergent. Treat any stains, then just leave the sweater submerged completely for half an hour and rinse clean. Squeeze the sweater gently to remove excess water before laying it flat to dry. For most sweaters, though, machine washing on a gentle cycle will be fine, especially if you put them in a lingerie bag first. Try to avoid machine drying, as it can cause shrinkage.

Damage control 

If a sweater snags, pull gently on the surrounding fabric to loosen the snag as much as you can. Then, use a needle to push the snagged yarn through to the other side. If possible, weave the snagged piece of string through the knit a couple of times to keep it in place.

Get rid of pills

Though you shouldn’t wash sweaters after each wear, it’s a good idea to remove pills. You can buy depiller brushes, but there are some easy ways to get rid of them with items you have at home. Try lightly running a disposable razor over areas where pills form (they are commonly found in the underarms and sides of the sweater where your arms rub against your body frequently). Brushing them with pumice stones and using the sticky side of tape are also effective methods.

Storing properly matters

Hanging chunky and loose-knit sweaters can quickly and easily stretch them out, so it’s much better to fold or roll them, then keep them in a drawer, shelf or bin. If hanging is your best or only option, use shoulder pads on your hangers to keep the sweaters from stretching as much as possible. Before storing cardigans, whether you hang or fold them, button them up, as this can help the sweaters keep their shape.

Comment below with any other tricks you have for taking care of your sweaters!

Cassidy Crochet Sweater

Comments (7)

Susan Thornhill

Love this article!!! I have some sweaters that I love and I want to keep them looking new. Makes so much sense to wear a light layer under and not wash so often. I pull the snags through (with a tiny crochet hook) but didn’t think to try to weave them to protect them AND I didn’t know what to do about the dreaded pilling. Very valuable information. I am excited to know my favorite sweaters can now be saved! THANK YOU Monroe and Main!!

valorie joy

Great article-thanks

valorie joy

I hang mine on skirt hangers

Monroe and Main

What a great idea!

Monroe and Main

We’re glad you enjoyed it!

Fay Goring

Great tips

Victoria Addington

It was captivating when you explained that sweaters don’t require to be dry-cleaned. I am planning to buy a gray women Ashton sweater. Your post gave me helpful tips on how to wash it properly.

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Published on Sep 13 2018

Last Updated on Nov 16 2021

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