1. Your pre-laundry checklist
If you’re going to be washing your knits by hand, you should prepare the following items. Firstly, you’ll need a pail that’s large enough for you get some swirling motions. Too small of a pail would mean you won’t be able to thoroughly wash your knits, or you might overwork the fabric.
You also want to get a mild detergent, as knits are more susceptible to breaking in the wash. And once a knit is broken, there’s no way of patching that hole because it will just keep getting larger.
2. When hand washing...
It’s important to be gentle with the fabric. Protect your hands with some gloves, and submerge the knit into warm soapy water for about 3-5 minutes.
Then, take it out, and rinse off the soap with warm water. Do not wring or twist the knit. Instead, gently squeeze it bit by bit until you can get as much of the water out.
Lastly, place your knit flat on a dry, clean towel, and fold the towel over the knit and begin squeezing out excess water.
3. When machine washing...
Firstly, check the knit’s care label to check that it’s machine-washable. Certain knits like cashmere and lambswool should never be thrown into a washer.
Always stick to a gentle cycle, even if you’re washing cotton tees. This is because a stronger cycle can tear the fabric or cause the knit to lose its shape.
4. Never overwork a fabric
The two easiest ways to overwork a knit fabric is by either wearing it or by washing it. Sounds crazy? Stick with us…
Overworking can result in unsightly bumps, or what we call pilling. In worst situations, it can cause the yarns to break and holes to appear.
Since you did buy this knit to wear, then go ahead and wear it, but with a buffer. For example, if you’d just bought a new cashmere sweater, wear it over a tee so the oils and dirt on your skin interact with it less.
And if you don’t have to wash the knit, then don’t! Use spot cleaners to get rid of food stains or dirt marks and if it looks good as new, you only need to air it and wear it again. T-shirts that are worn close to the skin are hardier and can be washed more, but delicate knits like fine cashmere should only be washed when it starts smelling or it’s visibly dirty and you’re not able to work the stain out on your own.
5. Do not hang dry
Here is a mistake that so many people make: they hang their knits to dry. What happens when you drape it over your drying rack or hang it from a hanger is that you completely ruin the knit’s shape. The drying rack makes the knit drag downwards, which in turn, gives it a misshapen fit. Hangers create little bumps around the shoulders, which isn’t a good look either.
Instead, you should dry them flat. Lay some towels on the floor and dry them horizontally. Speed it up by keeping a fan nearby, but never use a dryer.
6. Storing your knits
Once they are washed, make sure they are folded and kept in drawers. Hanging your knits will basically ruin its shape and undo all the care that you’ve put in in caring for them.