How to Care for Your Knitwear

As a former knitwear buyer I'm often asked "how to keep your jumpers in perfect shape — and moth-free..." here are my five top tips 

1. Washing

Most knitwear can be either hand washed or go through a delicate cycle, follow the labelling instructions. In fact cashmere goes through an extensive washing process in production and can react well to a gentle wash.

Moths are said to be drawn to human scent, so the best way to protect your jumpers from moths is to keep them spotlessly clean, particularly when storing away for any period of time. 

Try washing delicate cashmere inside a laundry bags if using a hand wash machine cycle.

2. Treat it gently

Crucial to washing is the reshape. Oversized sweaters can be tricky to manoeuvre at this stage. 

To dry knitwear lay the piece flat on a towel and gently roll to get rid of excess water, never wring it out or hang wet knitwear as it will s-t-r-e-t-c-h hugely ! Never tumble-dry and never spin as this can felt the fibres together while they are wet.

Dry by laying flat and in a good shape on a kitchen table or worktop on a towel and avoid using a hanger at all costs. 

3. Storage

Make sure that your wardrobes and drawers are fluff free. Angela Flanders French Moth Herb spray and bags are excellent for warding away moths from stored knitwear, and have a wonderfully fresh smell.

If storing over a season it’s wise to store all “high risk” knitwear in bags. Ikea’s zip-lock freezer bags come in large sizes and are excellent for this.

4. When disaster strikes …

Make the freezer your first port of call. Moth-infested jumpers should be stored there (in a freezer bag) for up to five days to ensure all eggs are eradicated. Then if a prized item take it to the dry cleaner, and consider darning or repairing the damage in a creative way with either contrasting stitching or adding a motif over a hole. 

5. Pilling 

Pilling is not a sign of poor quality, on the contrary it's often the small soft fibres that tend to pill. Bobbles can be removed with a knitwear comb or a fabric shaver, but be gentle and don't get carried away or you can do more harm than good. Sometimes a wash or dry clean will help to eliminate bobbles from cashmere. 

Try not to over-wear cashmere. It's easily done as it's so soft and comforting, but rotating your sweaters and allowing the sweater to rest for a day or so, rather than wearing on consecutive days can help to reduce pilling. Allowing it to rest apparently lets the fibres rebuild and helps to keep the sweaters flexibility and softness.