The transition from winter to spring calls for shedding coats and other outerwear. Spring is one of the best times of year to wear your favorite sweaters and cardigans without the bulky outer layers to hide them. However, with its unique structure and materials, knitwear needs special attention in care and storage.

The longevity of these cherished garments relies heavily on how you treat them. Under improper care, knitwear can shrink, pill, or lose its shape, turning a favorite piece into a fashion faux pas. Fortunately, practicing proper storage and care ensures your sweaters stay as fresh as the day you bought them. Implement the following care tips to help your knitwear keep its shape and look fresh during sweater season and beyond.

What Makes Sweater and Knitwear Care Unique?

Knitwear stands out from other clothing types due to its unique construction. Its intricate weaving and loops are cozy but delicate, meaning they’re prone to friction and snagging. Brushing against a button or a rough Velcro patch can easily lead to wear and tear, affecting the garment’s appearance. Knitwear’s intricate design requires special attention to maintain its beauty and longevity.

Different Types of Knitwear

Understanding which material you’re dealing with is the first step to proper care. Pure wool sweaters are warm and cozy but are also prone to shrinking and felting with improper care and handling. A luxurious cashmere blend can be delicate to the touch and to maintain. Alpaca and mohair bring unique softness and warmth, but each has peculiar care instructions as well.

Knowing the fiber content of your knitwear is your starting point. Always check your garment’s labels to understand what fibers it’s made of and to sort out the manufacturer’s care instructions. This measure is a good foundation for determining how to take care of your garments.

Washing Tips for Knitwear

With the right technique, washing your favorite knit can be straightforward and safe. Handwashing is the golden rule for knitwear, as it gives you the most control over the washing process. Use a mild detergent specially formulated for delicate fabrics and avoid harsh scrubbing that could cause pilling. Gently press out water instead of wringing to retain the shape of your sweater, and never toss it in the dryer.

Washing Mistakes To Avoid

One of the biggest mistakes when it comes to washing knitwear is overdoing it. Using too much detergent can be harsh on fibers, and washing too often can lead to unnecessary wear. Additionally, never use hot water on your knit fibers, as it can promote shrinkage. This issue is also why you should never run your knitwear through the clothes dryer. Always place them on a flat, ventilated surface to dry.

Storage Tips for Knitwear

How you store your knitwear is as crucial as how you clean it. With proper storage, you can extend the longevity of your sweaters and other garments. With warmer temperatures on the horizon, you’ll soon store your favorite knits for the season, so make sure you know the proper way to do so. Here are some essential tips for keeping your knitwear looking its best in and out of storage.

Before storing your knitwear, make sure it is clean and free of any odors. Even a small stain or lingering smell can attract pests and ruin your garment. Prepare knitwear for a long hibernation with these steps:

  • Clean it thoroughly
  • Ensure it’s completely dry
  • Fold neatly (hanging can cause stretching)
  • Use breathable fabric storage bags

Cedar blocks and lavender sachets are great natural repellents and keep your sweaters smelling fresh and avoid a musty odor.

Even if you’re storing your knitwear between uses or for short periods, you should still make a habit of folding it to prevent stretching in the shoulders, arms, and body. Repeated stretching to take your clothes on and off the hangers can also easily damage knit fibers.

Storage Mistakes To Avoid

Never store knitwear in plastic bags or bins, as the lack of airflow can trap moisture and lead to mold. In the same vein, avoid storage with potent-smelling items such as mothballs or strong cleaning agents, which the fibers of your sweaters can absorb. And don’t forget, where you store your knits matters too—opt for cool, dark, and dry spaces.

Sweater Maintenance Tips

Sweater care isn’t just about cleaning and storing; it’s also about maintaining the garments between seasons. Regular checks and a little TLC can go a long way in preserving your favorite sweaters. Before storing your garments, make sure to check them for any signs of damage, including snags, small holes, or loose threads. Addressing these sooner than later will help prevent further damage during cleaning or storage.

Tools for Maintaining Sweaters

Invest in a good quality clothing brush to remove lint, pet hair, and surface dirt that accumulates over time. A pill shaver is a small but mighty tool that can help trim and collect the fibers that pill on the surface of your knits. A specialty sweater drying wrack gives you a place to lay out your sweaters to dry or when you need to comb or treat them. These tools make sweater care easier and more effective.

Best Practices for Wearing Sweaters

Even little actions like how we dress and undress can impact the condition of our knitwear. Always remove your sweaters by pulling them off from the body rather than the arms to avoid stretching. And when you must hang them, opt for padded hangers to keep the shoulder shape intact. Just remember to avoid hanging them for long periods.

Additionally, if you want to avoid washing your sweaters too often, wear a thin layer beneath your knitwear. This layer will help absorb sweat and odors, keeping your outer layers clean and minimizing the need for washing as often.

Ensuring your knitwear lasts for seasons to come may take a little extra time and attention, but it’s an investment that pays off for the quality of your pieces. By following this guide to sweater season storage and care, you’ll spare your sweaters from avoidable damage and preserve their beauty and integrity for seasons to come.

Don’t let a few extra care instructions dissuade you from wearing your favorite sweaters and other knits. Now you can wear your sweaters with confidence, knowing how to care for your wardrobe with expertise and love. It’s never too late to start implementing these tips into your routine, and with the changing seasons, there’s no time like the present. In fact, consider lining your wardrobe shelves with new sweaters that are perfect for spring temperatures. Browse women’s boutique sweaters today at South Boutique to find the latest styles and coziest sweaters, sweatshirts, and knit fashions.

Sweater Season: Proper Storage and Care Tips for Knitwear
March 20, 2024 — Chelsey Becraft