Jumpers are a staple part of our wardrobe, come winter or spring, so it makes sense to take care of them. In this quick and simple guide we'll tell you everything you need to know to keep your quality garments in tip top shape.
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A simple sweater should be the staple of any man's wardrobe - regardless of the weather outside. They can be made from thick woollens to fight off the cold in the winter months, linens to keep you cool in the summer, and a good cotton for everything in between. It might be 30 degrees outside, but we'd still advise never being too far from a comfy sweater - we all know how unpredictable mother nature can be.
You can easily throw a jumper on with a simple pair of jeans and look great, or smarten one up with a blazer for a clean, sophisticated look, so don't forget yours when you're putting an outfit together. If you've got yourself a nice jumper for the summer, or you're just curious about wool and cashmere care, you've come to the right place. It can be easy to damage jumpers made from wool and cashmere by washing them the wrong way, so here's your ultimate guide on how to wash your sweaters, making sure they stay looking fresh for longer.
How to Wash Sweaters
One of the most commonly asked questions is: "does cashmere shrink?", the answer is... not if you wash it right. But, before you even think about washing your sweaters, you need to ensure you have the right cleaning products that won't cause any damage.
You might think that the dry cleaners is the best bet for your wool and cashmere jumpers, but in reality this could do them more harm than good. The chemicals used in dry cleaning are often too harsh on delicate materials such as cashmere and angora, and can dramatically reduce their lifespan. So by taking the time to wash your sweaters yourself, you could be prolonging the lives of your sweaters, and saving yourself a bit of money in the process.
Washing cashmere by hand doesn't have to be expensive. There's a wide range of cleaning products dedicated to preserving the quality of luxury materials, but these can be pricey - our tip is to use baby shampoos! They're just as delicate as the expensive alternatives and do the job just as well, but without the price tag. Once you've got the right tools for the job, you're ready to get washing!
How to Wash Cashmere By Hand
If you want to know how to clean cashmere or wool by hand, you don't necessarily need to get yourself a tonne of equipment. A bath or a bucket, some baby shampoo and a bit of muscle is really all you need, so there's no need to rush to the dry cleaners the moment your jumper gets stained.
The first thing you need to do before cleaning your sweaters is prepare them correctly. Firstly, check there are no lint balls on the fabric (the little bobbly bits). You can get rid of lint balls with a lint roller, or sticky tape, or a special lint remover - available online for a few quid.
Next, you'll need to turn your jumpers inside out to avoid any fading. Make sure that the sleeves are pulls through the whole way and aren't caught up, as this could stop them from being cleaned or drying properly.
Fill your bathtub (or a bucket if you have one big enough) with cold water, and add around two capfuls of detergent. Make sure it's all mixed in consistently; a good test of this is when small bubbles appear on the surface of the water. Then, completely submerge your jumpers in the water. You might want to do this a few at a time if you're washing a lot of jumpers in one go.
Now it's time to start washing. Gently wash the jumper in the water, making sure to move it around a lot to cover every part of it. Gently press down on the jumper (kind of like kneading bread, because you totally know how to do that) to get all of the sweat out.
Make sure the entire jumper has been exposed to the water, and then leave to soak for 5-10 minutes. NOTE: Don't be worried if some of the colour is coming out into the water - especially if this is the first wash. This is completely normal, as the yarn is simply releasing some of the colour. You won't notice any difference in colour when you've finished.
Empty the tub (or bucket) and fill again with fresh water to rinse all of the detergent out. Fold the jumpers in on themselves and apply pressure to do this. Repeat this process until the water is completely clear.
Empty the tub again, and leave the sweaters where they are. Squeeze as much of the moisture out of them as you can. The best way to do this is just to press them against the side of the tub. Make sure you don't wring them, as this can damage the delicate fibres and stretch the jumpers.
And there you have it! Your jumpers should be as good as new. But, don't just take our word for it - Martha Stewart, housewife extraordinaire, takes you through the cleaning process step-by-step.
Hand washing is always the best (and safest) option for washing woollens, but, if you really can't face getting your hands wet then you can use a washing machine, as long as you take great care.
Washing Wool in a Machine
Before you put your jumpers in the washing machine, you'll need to check the care labels to see how it needs to be washed. Luckily for you, we've found a simple guide explaining all the symbols you might come across.
Turn your jumpers inside out, as you would if you were washing them by hand, but this time put them into laundry bags, similar to the ones you use to put your underwear in. A pillow case would also work, if you don't have one. This is to give them a little bit more protection and prevent them from getting caught up in the cogs of the washing machine.
Put your jumpers in the washing machine - taking care to only wash similar colours together. Then, add two cupfuls of a delicate detergent that will be soft on your jumpers.
You need to make sure to select the right cycle on your washing machine to avoid damage. Select the 'woollens' or 'delicates', and make sure you use a cold water temperature (no higher than 30!) and a slow cycle.
After the wash is finished, you can put your more sturdy sweaters on a delicate spin cycle to remove any excess water from them.
Don't put your jumpers in a tumble dryer - unless you want them to fit your Action Man from when you were 10.
Follow our top tips for guidance on how to dry your jumpers correctly.
- Before you start to dry the jumpers, you'll want to get as much of the moisture from them as possible - make sure they're not still dripping wet.
- The most important thing to remember is to NEVER HANG WOOL WHEN IT IS WET. This is because the excess water will pull down on the jumper and stretch it out of shape.
- The best way to dry your clothes is to lay them flat on a clean, dry towel. Try to place them in the middle of a room, away from direct sunlight and the radiator. The heat can damage the fabric and make it shrink. This is the best way to dry your woollens, but you need a lot of patience as it can take up to a few days, depending on how thick the jumpers are.
- If you're short on time, a quicker alternative is to roll the clothes. Place them flat on a dry, clean towel and roll it up, pressing down as you do so, to remove any excess water.
Just make sure that whatever you do, you don't hang them up in your wardrobe. Hanging woollens can cause them to stretch out of shape, particularly at the shoulders. Instead you should fold your jumpers and put them on a shelf or in a drawer - they'll stay looking much better that way.
Protecting your Jumpers
One of the biggest dangers to jumpers is moths, who love to attack your precious knitwear and leave them littered with holes. If you're short on wardrobe space and want to pack your jumpers away in the summer months, you'll need to take care with how you store them. We recommend storing your jumpers in plastic storage boxes or old suitcases, as storing woollens in cardboard boxes can let the fibres in your jumpers breathe, but can also attract more insects - particularly moths. To help repel moths try using moth or cedar balls, which contain chemical that moths dislike. You can usually find them in fabric or homeware stores, and don't cost a lot to get your hands on.
To limit the damage moths can make to your clothes, you should make sure to check them regularly, especially when they are packed away. If you do find any of the dreaded moths lingering around, you'll need to air out all of your jumpers, and check them all for any holes. While the clothes are airing, you'll need to clean and hoover the entire area, to destroy any possible nests and stop them from coming back.
If that doesn't sound good enough then you can always treat your jumper like a piece of meat and give it the vacuum pack treatment. These handy bags push air out, compressing your clothes together without damaging them. They also ensure that moisture stays out, so there's no risk of mould, and you can store it anywhere you want, regardless of the humidity.
Just because it's starting to get warmer doesn't mean that you have to put away your jumpers, and if you've not got any lying around, check out our selection! Jumpers are notoriously easy to style, mainly because they go with just about anything.
This summer, we suggest going for paler colours - such as greys and creams. Wear with a pair of pale chinos (if you're wearing grey) or a pair of dark jeans and you're good to go. If you're heading somewhere a bit warmer, try pairing a thin jumper with a pair of ripped shorts for an summery look that will keep you feeling - and looking - extra cool.
Darker colours can also work in summer if they are part of bold patterns, such as stripes. Navy and white striped jumpers and tan chinos will create an effortless nautical look - perfect for summer!
Luckily, jumpers for the summer tend to be much easier to keep in top shape, and thinner materials are usually quite simple to take care of. Your favourite Christmas sweater you got from your Nan three years ago, however, is a different story.
If it's a summer jumper you're wanting, your best bet will be one made of linen or cotton, because of how thin they are, and the materials will let your skin breathe and keep you cool when the sun finally comes out. Linen and cotton are relatively easy to take care of and can usually be put into the washing machine with the rest of your laundry - just make sure to double check the care labels beforehand!
Your Quick Guide on How to Take Care of Your Jumpers
- Washing wool and cashmere is a delicate process, so make sure to take great care to avoid damage, and pick hand washing over any other form if you can.
- Always wash jumpers in cold water for the best results, and use a soft wash like baby shampoo.
- Never hang wet jumpers up as they'll warp permanently out of shape.
- Store your clothes carefully, vacuum packing them or using moth ball to ensure they stay dry and undamaged.
On That Note...
Washing wool and cashmere really doesn't have to be as hard as everybody thinks. Whether you're learning how to wash wool sweaters, or packing up your best cashmere jumper, there's a way to do it in an easy, cheap and effective way. Just make sure to follow our tips, and you can have a long and happy life with your favourite sweaters.