The best thing about investing in knitwear is its endurance as a winter-wardrobe staple year on year. From its practical function as one of the season’s warmest garments to its effortless ability in creating a great look, knit is a vital style asset. Looking after your knits, though, requires effort. As a textile, it is quite delicate and as a result can be prone to such things as stretching and shrinking as well as pilling, which is when tiny bobbles of twisted fabric appear on a garment, particularly the sleeves and ends. As knitwear can be an expensive purchase, it is important to be aware of the different methods to combat damage. Here, we have drawn up a guide on keeping your knits in top condition and getting the most wear out of them...
Winter’s here. Keep your knitwear in check with these five steps
First things first, check the inside label to ensure that the garment is machine-washable. If so, it’s always best to think, “Go gentle”. A good idea is to separate your knits from your regular laundry and then separate again by whites and colours before turning them inside out for the wash.In terms of detergent, check the label to see if it’s OK to use on knits, but there are specific wool washes available in most supermarkets. When it comes to choosing the cycle, use the hand-wash option. The maximum temperature of the wash should not exceed 30C. As an extra precaution, you can place your knits in a mesh bag that's commonly used for underwear and other delicates. If you’re still hesitant about putting knits into the washing machine, you can always hand-wash instead.
The inside care label should indicate if the wool or yarn is safe to use in the tumble dryer, but if in doubt it is good practise to avoid the dryer, especially as it can affect the shape. Dry the garment flat and use blocks if necessary to weigh it down and keep shape. Avoid wringing or twisting. If it’s still damp after a few hours, dry on a low temperature in a dryer for a short time.
No, that wasn’t a typo. Gently shaving those tiny bobbles that pepper your beloved knitwear is a great way to reduce and remove pilling and restore your jumper to its original condition. You can use a regular razor, but it is important to go slowly when doing this. Alternatively, you can buy an electric fabric shaver or fabric comb. In order to minimise the possibility of pilling, use a lint brush to regularly brush your garments.
Maintaining the shape of a knitted jumper can be tricky as it tends to lose it if worn frequently. Drying your jumper in the correct manner (as shown above) is one way to ensure its continued wearability, but another trick is to have a few knitted jumpers in your wardrobe so you’re not exhausting the same one on a weekly basis.
It’s important to not put a knit jumper on a hanger. This will cause the wool to stretch and lose shape. It’s always best to fold it and put it away in a drawer. When the warmer months return and your packing away your knitwear, invest in a vinyl jumper bag or space bag to protect from the inevitable threat of moths who love to feast on wool fibres. If you’re storing your knitwear in a wardrobe, use moth balls. These balls kill clothes moths, their larvae and eggs and they keep your clothes in the best possible condition.