How to care for your knitwear

How many times do you wash your jerseys? I pretty much wash mine only once a season. Sounds gross right? It’s not I promise. The less you wash your knitwear, the longer it will last you. I’ll tell you why just now.

Now before I get into the how to care for your knitwear I just thought I’d let you know, (some of you who know me well will already know this) that I am a stickler when it comes to the fabric of your knitwear i.e. I ALWAYS check the label of the jersey I am keen to purchase. Natural fibres are essential if you’re looking for a jersey that will still look good beyond that current winter season. What do I mean by natural fibres? Cashmere, cotton, silk, mohair and wool are the most common ones you’ll encounter. If a jersey consists of nylon, polyester or acrylic – be warned, it will most likely look like shite within a few weeks of you wearing it.

Ok so let’s jump into how to care for your knitwear

  1. Hand washing is essential, BUT most often what is best is to choose the hand wash cycle on your washing machine, rather than physically hand-washing your jersey in a bucket and then wringing it out to dry. Pop it into a hand wash bag (or pillowcase) for extra care, and dry it flat i.e. not hanging on a hanger as this will stretch out the shape. I use Woolite but I’m sure there are other brands that work.
  2. Wear a neutral coloured base layer underneath your jersey i.e. a long sleeved or even short sleeved t-shirt that fits snugly and is also cotton based. This will protect your jersey from your deodorant and any underarm sweat. You can easily throw your t-shirt into the wash each time you wear it, rather than the jersey.
  3. Air your jersey for a few hours before you put it back into your wardrobe, either on a hanger or over a towel rail – anywhere where there is ventilation. I don’t always do this but it is preferable.
  4. Spot clean as you need to i.e. if you get a snotty-sticky-grubby finger mark on your shoulder, grab a baby wipe immediately and wipe it off. Wipes are the BOMB. If you don’t carry wipes I highly recommend you buy a pack and keep it in your home, alternatively just grab a damp cloth and wipe at the mark. The trick is to do it straight away i.e. as soon as the offender has placed his or her mark on your shoulder!
  5. If you have a steamer you can also steam your jersey to give it a fresh life. (Steamers are actually a win for all delicate fabrics and you can pick up a hand-held steamer from the likes of Makro for under R500)

Following the above simple tips will definitely prolong the life of your knitwear. And when it comes to long term storage, I like to wash them before packing them away into one of those plastic storage boxes with an airtight lid. I have never suffered from fish moths and there are SO many theories on what does and doesn’t work with those nasty little buggers. But from my personal logic – if a container is airtight then they can’t get in so your knitwear will be safe! There are theories that you should give your knitwear air, but I never have and they’ve been fine year after year.

Remember that natural fibers can and most likely will still bobble, but you will be able to de-bobble them with a blunt razor or one of those de-bobbling machines that you can get at woolies.

Finally – buy the best that your budget allows and ALWAYS check the label, don’t be fooled by how soft and luxurious the fabric may feel! Know that wool and cashmere are not necessarily always going to be good quality i.e. the cashmere jerseys you can buy at Country Road are generally not always going to be of premium quality, so take the time to seek out a shop/brand that you trust.

I hope you have found this post helpful? Please share thoughts in the comments below x

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