The ultimate guide to keeping your knits looking and feeling great


Autumn is here so let’s start the season off right and get your sweater wardrobe in check. We’ve compiled a comprehensive guide to keep those knits looking and feeling great, while giving your wallet and neighborhood dry-cleaner a break.

It’s the bane of every sweater lover’s existence ‐‐ those pesky fuzz balls that appear after consistent wear or a cleaning. Send them packing by holding the garment flat and lightly drawing your preferred tool (a disposable razor, the D-Fuzz-It® tool or Conair® battery-operated shaver are good options) over the pills to shave them off. Problem solved.

The general consensus among professionals is to wash a sweater every four wears, unless you spill something, sweat or have been around smoke, in which case you should clean as soon as possible. You can launder most knits by hand ‐‐ even wool. Be sure to follow the label care guide instructions for best results.

  • 1

    Fill your sink or bucket with cool water.

  • 2

    Add a squirt of delicate liquid detergent.

  • 3

    Turn your sweaters inside out. Don’t mix colors, and if the piece is multi-hued, wash it alone.

  • 4

    Submerge and swish around, then soak for 10-30 minutes.

  • 5

    Rinse twice to ensure all of the soap is out.

  • 6

    Press ‐‐ never wring ‐‐ the water out, then lay the piece on the bottom half of an absorbent towel. Fold the top half of the towel over the sweater and roll it up, pressing the roll to remove as much water as possible.

  • 7

    Lay flat to dry on a fresh towel or a netted drying rack.


Tip: Martha Stewart® recommends that you measure your sweaters before washing. Lay out the piece to dry, re-measure and gently stretch any areas that may have shrunk during the process.

It is 100% non-negotiable; you must clean your sweaters before you put them away for the season. Moths, carpet beetles and the like are all drawn to sweat and stains.

Fold or roll your clean knits and place them in a breathable cotton bag or canvas box. Toss a satchel of cedar or lavender (bugs are not fans of the smell) and hide away in a cool, dry place until next fall.

SHRUNK: The next time you wash the item, follow the instructions above, or for a dry sweater, place your forearms up the body or arms of the piece. Gently expand them and hold for four to five seconds to loosen the area of concern.

STRETCHED-OUT: Use a spray bottle and wet the piece down (less shrinkage) or soak it (more shrinkage), then put in the dryer on high heat until it’s 100% dry. If there are isolated areas that are out of shape, elbows or knees for example, just dampen those areas and dry as instructed.

HANG UP: Knits are best when folded (remember those little peaks that form in their shoulders), but if you must, fold them over the bar of a hanger.

ITCHY: Liquid fabric softener works wonders. Simply wash and rinse your knit per the instructions, then do a second wash in a fresh sink of water with your favorite brand of softener. Rinse and dry as usual.


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