Courtesy of MCT
Now that the winter weather seems as though it’s finally here to stay, it’s time to break out those chunky wool sweaters. While warm knits are perfect against the nippy winds, our favorites sometimes end up with unsightly pills or shrink two sizes in the wash. Here’s a simple guide to caring for your cardigans, cable knits and oversized sweaters this winter.
Read the label: Every garment you buy in the United States is required to have a “care” label on the inside. This is to ensure that wearers know the best way to wash and dry the garment. Sweaters are no different. Most labels will be on the lower left or right seam of the garment. Once you find it, read the directions carefully. If it says “dry clean only,” do not under any circumstances run the sweater through the washing machine. Delicate fabrics like cashmere will start to pill and lose any softness they once had. Embellishments may begin to fall off – and isn’t that why you bought that sparkly number in the first place?
Lay flat to dry: Because so many sweaters I buy fit just right over tops and dresses, I find that it’s risky to put any in the dryer no matter what the material. If the label reads “100 percent cotton” or “100 percent wool” those are both cues that while you might be able to “wash cold with like colors,” the heat of the dryer will turn your medium into an extra-small in a matter of minutes. I recommend purchasing a drying rack, which on average costs between $15 and $30, to hang-dry your sweaters to avoid any mishaps on laundry day.
Dry cleaning made cheap: Most college students can’t afford to make it to the dry cleaner every week – especially women, since our clothes cost more to clean. Luck for us, Woolite has created “Dry Clean at Home,” by Dry Cleaner’s Secret, miracle sheets, which on average costs between $10 and $20. These function similarly to dryer sheets. Before you start, make sure to set your dryer on “delicate cycle.” The normal cycle is too hot and you run the risk of melting embellishments or damaging sensitive fabric. Also, put sweaters of like fabrics through the same cycle. Pairing cashmere with wool will cause the cashmere sweater to begin pilling because it’s a more delicate fabric.
Fold them up: Sweaters are generally knit fabrics, so storing them on hangers may cause the shoulders to stretch and deform. If you have a shelf, fold and store sweaters there, or you can purchase a hanging sweater rack that fits in your closet if you don’t have room in a dresser drawer. You can even look for under-the-bed storage if you still need more space.
Even though many of us love to shop for new things, it’s important to care for your clothing properly. This will ensure that you get the most for your money, especially if you splurge on an item. Sweaters are generally made from more expensive fabrics and are spun in more complex ways, leading them to cost more. Many can be used for multiple seasons, so caring for them the right way will give you more use from them for years to come.