In the cooler months, there’s nothing quite like wrapping yourself in the cosy embrace of knitwear. Knitwear also has a role in summer, with cotton tops and cardigans. However, of all the garment types in your wardrobe, knitwear is the category that suffers the most from ill-treatment. Have you ever pulled out a doll-size sweater from the wash because it got thrown in with your activewear by accident? And what about the sad cardigans that get washed too often because they’ve seen too many apron-free cooking sessions? Bolognese sauce and curries can really make a mess!
As retailers of high-quality knitwear from a curated selection of brands, we know that how you care for your knitted garments determines their lifespan. That’s why we’ve prepared this quick guide to airing, washing and storing your knitwear collection.

In this knitwear care guide

● General washing instructions (including stain removal for knitwear)
● How to wash a merino wool sweater
● How to wash cashmere knitwear by hand
● How to wash cotton and viscose knitwear
● Storage tips for merino, cashmere and other types of knitwear
● Removing pills from cashmere and other knitwear

General washing instructions for most types of knitwear

Natural fibres are pretty amazing when it comes to handling odours, stains and wrinkles. They also do a great job of managing moisture, which helps to prevent bacteria build-up and keeps your clothes feeling fresh longer. So after you’ve worn an item of wool, cotton, viscose or cashmere clothing, don’t feel you need to toss it into the wash. Instead, air the garment out by laying it flat on a towel overnight.
You can get away with the airing approach for many wears if you’re not a messy eater!
However, the day will come when it’s time for a wash. Here are the general guidelines for washing and drying knitwear.

Hand washing knitwear

● Turn the garment inside out.
● To avoid roughing up delicate fibres, hand wash in cold water with a mild soap that’s recommended for delicates. Don’t be tempted to use your usual laundry powder, because the ingredients could be too harsh.
● Dissolve the soap in the water before you add the garment. Agitate gently with your hands.
● If you notice dye coming out, don’t worry. It’s normal the first time you wash a
● Don’t leave the garment to soak. After washing, rinse immediately in cold water. You might need two rinses.
● After washing, squeeze the garment gently to get rid of excess water, then roll it up in a clean towel to remove more of the moisture. Avoid twisting or wringing.

How to remove stains from wool

● After immersing the garment in soapy water (as described above) massage any areas that are stained. You can dab stains with a microfibre cloth and a little extra
detergent if necessary. Then continue with the usual washing process.

Air-drying knitwear

● Dry flat on a clean towel in a well-ventilated area away from direct sunlight. Turn the garment during drying.
● If any wrinkles remain, remove them with a very gentle steam iron.

How to wash a merino wool sweater

Merino wool offers unparalleled comfort with its softness and breathability, keeping you warm in winter and cool in summer. What’s more, it’s fantastic for activewear because it naturally wicks away moisture, resists odour and maintains its shape. Of all the natural fibres, merino is the only one that doesn’t have to be hand-washed. Avoid dry cleaning, unless the garment care label says otherwise.

Here’s our quick guide to Merino wool care:

Machine washing Merino knitwear
● Machine-washing knitwear isn’t usually recommended – merino is the exception.
● Choose the delicate or hand wash cycle and use a gentle detergent specifically
designed for wool. The water should be lukewarm, not hot.
● Do separate loads for light and dark knits.
● Avoid using fabric softener.
● Spin on slow or medium.

Hand-washing merino knitwear
● Wash in a basin or tub with warm (but not hot) water and wool detergent.
● Treat stains by gently dabbing with a soft cloth - avoid rubbing.
● Rinse with lukewarm water, then squeeze dry in a clean towel. Don’t twist or wring.

Drying merino knitwear
● Lay flat on a clean towel to dry, away from direct sunlight.

How to care for cashmere knits

Prized for its luxurious softness, cashmere provides exceptional warmth without weight. If other fibres make you itch, cashmere will be your friend - it’s hypoallergenic and gentle on the skin.

How to wash a cashmere sweater by hand

● For best-practice cashmere care, let your cashmere garment air between wears.
● Lightly iron on the reverse side with gentle steam if it needs smoothing.
● Avoid washing cashmere too often; airing it out is often enough, as the fibres don't retain odours.
● For small stains, dilute wool wash or baby shampoo with cold water and massage
into the affected area.
● Wash the garment in cold water using a wool washing product or baby shampoo.
● For larger stains, take the garment to a dry cleaner, but don’t do this too often – it’s hard on the fibres.
● Press out excess water gently, rinse in cold water, then roll up in a towel to remove moisture before laying the garment flat to dry away from heat and sunlight.

How to wash cotton and viscose knitwear

Cotton is the most versatile of natural fibres because it offers unbeatable comfort and breathability. It’s great for casual summer and trans-seasonal knits and has a lovely way of draping. Viscose is similar to cotton because it’s also made from plant fibres – often bamboo or eucalyptus. Here are our recommendations for cotton and viscose care.

How to wash cotton and viscose knitted garments

● Before washing, turn the garment inside out.
● Dissolve a small amount of liquid detergent in cold water, submerge the knit and
massage through. A small amount of dye release is normal for dark and bright
colours, particularly in the first wash. 
● Rinse in cold water and gently squeeze before rolling the knit in a clean towel to
absorb excess water. Don’t wring or twist.
● Lay the garment flat to dry in an airy space, out of direct sunlight. Lighter-weight
knits may take a little longer to shed creases. You can remove any wrinkles by steam ironing on a delicate setting.

Storage tips for merino, cashmere and other types of knitwear

When it comes to knitwear, folding is the way to go, because using clothes hangers can lead to unwanted stretching. Store your folded garments in a drawer, cupboard or sealed container. Watch out for pesky moths and silverfish - they love wool! To fend them off, try a few drops of lavender, mint or eucalyptus on a cotton ball among your knits. Fresh lavender or whole cloves can work too.

Removing pills from cashmere and other knitwear

You might notice some pilling on your knitwear, especially with wool and cashmere. This is completely natural and not an indication of the quality of a garment. It tends to show up in areas that get a lot of rubbing, like under your arms and along the cuffs. Also, wearing a jacket over cashmere can cause some friction pilling. Getting rid of pills is easy – just get yourself a cashmere comb, which removes pills to make your garment look brand new.

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