Sweaters can be harder to care for than other garments. They can shrink, stretch, and pill. Also, the softer the sweater, the more delicate it is. Many sweaters can survive the laundering process and come out looking good. An important factor is to know how to launder each type of fiber. First, always read the care label and follow the instructions very carefully. If the care label says, “Dry Clean Only” then dry clean it. However, if it says “Dry Clean” you may be able to wash it. And if the care label says, “Wash in cool water” then don’t wash it in cold water – there is a difference.
TIPS FOR LAUNDERING
Washing: Always turn the sweater inside out to reduce pilling. Wash in an extra-large mesh bag. If hand washing, remove excess moisture by rolling the sweater in a towel. Machine drying: Not recommended but if you do put your sweater in the dryer, dry on low heat and remove when almost dry, reshape and finish drying flat on a rack.
Flat drying: Place sweater on a rack and reshape as much as possible. Do not dry near heat or in direct sunlight. Check occasionally to make sure sweater is not shrinking as it dries. If it does, pull back out to original size. (Mark the outline on your rack with tape as a guide.)
Acrylic: This fiber can stretch when subjected to heat. Wash as directed on the care label (usually in warm water). Lay flat to dry or tumble dry on low if the care label indicates this process is acceptable.
Angora: A rabbit hair blend that is very prone to shrinking – consider dry cleaning. If the care label says it can be washed, hand-wash only with a gentle product such as Woolite or any baby liquid laundry detergent. Lay flat to dry.
Cashmere: Goat hair blended with wool or synthetic fibers. Again, go by the care label instructions. Cashmere can sometimes be washed on the delicate cycle in cold water. Roll in a towel to squeeze out excess water, reshape and dry flat.
Chenille: Chenille sweaters lose their soft, silky feel when put in the washing machine – even if the care label indicates that this process is acceptable. The rubbing caused by the machine agitation can damage the fibers and make them snag or feel rough. Instead, hand-wash inside out and lay flat to dry.
Cotton: Prone to shrinkage, you can usually hand or machine wash cotton sweaters in cool water – check the care label first to see if this process is acceptable. Reshape and lay flat to dry. Turn inside out to iron if needed.
Silk: Some silk sweaters can be washed in the delicate cycle in cold water and flat dried, but may need ironing afterward. Always check the care label first.
Wool: Some wool sweaters can be washed, others cannot. Check the label – wool is also very prone to shrinkage. If you do put wool in the washing machine, use the gentlest cycle and wash in cool water. Don’t twist and lay flat to dry.
As always, check the care label on each sweater before washing/hand washing at home. Remember, you can bring all your sweaters to Lapels Dry Cleaning for the professional care they need to stay looking good for years to come.