If you want to avoid dry-cleaning costs and wash sweaters at home, there are several steps that you should follow to keep knits looking their best. This information applies to cotton, acrylic, ramie and wool sweaters. One special tip to remember: Never put a sweater into the clothes dryer!
Machine Washing Tips for Sweaters
Stop the machine before the spin cycle. Take care not to pull the sweater out of shape as you remove it from the washer.
Use mesh laundry bags (one sweater per bag). Mesh bags help contain and protect sweaters and are easy to fish out of the washer.
Hand Washing Tips for Sweaters
Gently agitate the sweater in the water. Never wring or scrub.
Support the sweater from underneath as you transfer it to a dry towel.
Reshaping and Drying
Gently remove excess water and lay sweater flat on a dry, absorbent towel and roll the sweater in the towel, pressing firmly as you roll. Do not wring the towel.
Lay a dry bath towel on a flat surface large enough to hold your sweater with arms extended. A card table is the perfect size for air-drying sweaters and typically has a protective vinyl top. Always protect wood surfaces with a vinyl tablecloth under the towel.
Place the sweater on the dry towel and reshape the sweater into its original shape. Pat the sweater into shape; avoid tugging or pulling. Gently push the ribbing together at the neckline, wrists and waist. Fasten buttons. Fold collar. If the sweater has an attached belt, extend it flat away from the sweater on each side. For removable belts, dry the belt off the sweater.
Allow the sweater to dry for 24 hours.
Flip the sweater over onto a dry towel, arrange into shape (the shape will have set by now but you don’t want to add wrinkles or slow drying), and dry for another 24 hours.
Fold your sweater and put it away. Never hang a knitted garment. The weight will stretch out the shoulders very quickly.
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