Slow Series | How to Make your Knitwear Last a Lifetime
When you invest in a high quality piece of knitwear, you want it to stand the test of time. By looking after your woollen knitwear, you can extend its lifespan and allow it to become a treasured heirloom piece that you may even be able to pass down through generations. Wool and cashmere are incredibly soft natural fibres, but they are delicate and require a little extra care than coarser yarns to keep them at their best.
Read on to discover our guide to caring for your knitwear – tried and tested by Genevieve herself.
WASH AS INFREQUENT AS POSSIBLE
Wool is a natural, breathable fabric that wicks away moisture, and therefore doesn’t have to be washed as frequently as other fibres. We recommend washing your knitwear just once a year if possible, spot cleaning and airing in between to treat stains and freshen up. By washing less frequently, you won’t just prolong the life of your garment, you will also lower its carbon footprint. To spot clean, use a brush or a cloth to gently work stains off the garment without rubbing too aggressively or applying too much pressure. Occasionally take your knitwear out of storage to air, and if a garment requires a little extra TLC, lay it out flat in the bathroom after showering to gently steam.
ALWAYS HAND WASH YOUR KNITWEAR
Never, ever put a piece of knitwear in the washing machine and also try to avoid dry cleaning. When it is time to clean your knitwear, we always recommend hand washing as this helps to maintain the quality and softness of the yarn. Wash your knitwear in a clean basin that hasn’t been exposed to any products that could harm the yarn, using a gentle garment detergent such as our bespoke wool and cashmere wash or baby shampoo, distributed evenly with cool water. Turn the garment inside out and submerge in the water, moving it gently through the suds without pressing on too hard or being too vigorous. Carefully massage a small amount of detergent on stains, rinsing and repeating as necessary. Finally, gently rinse the garment until the water runs clear.
AIR DRY YOUR KNITWEAR FLAT
Be extra careful with your wet garments to ensure that they keep their shape. Never wring or twist wet knitwear; instead, press the excess water out before placing the garment onto a clean, dry bath towel. Roll up the towel with the garment inside and press with your palms to continue squeezing out the water. Finally, remove and place the piece of knitwear flat onto a new clean, dry towel, arranging it into its original shape. Leave it to air dry flat, replacing the towel if necessary. Don’t hang knitwear to dry, as it will stretch and lose its shape. Never, ever tumble dry knitwear, as this causes it to shrink and become misshapen, as well as wearing down the fibres.
KEEP ON TOP OF PILLING
It is common and completely normal for small balls of fibres to form over time in areas of your knitwear where there is more friction, like under the arms. This pilling can easily be removed using a product such as our cedar wood pill comb to revitalise your garments and give them a new lease of life. Once combed, your knitwear will look brand new. Combing should be infrequent, to avoid the risk of yarn fibres breaking.
To preserve the natural beauty of our fibres, reduce water wastage and avoid using chemicals, we choose not to treat our cashmere. This means that it isn’t initially as super soft as you may be used to (although it naturally softens over time), but it also considerably reduces the chance of pilling.
With brushed wool styles such as Lunan, Leslie, Laide and Leven, you may find that the brushed wool rubs together where there is more friction (such as the underarms or side seams). We recommend brushing with a gentle wire brush to even out and elongate the fibres to get your knits looking as good as new.
STORE YOUR KNITWEAR CORRECTLY
It is important to store your knitwear correctly to keep it looking fresh and to protect it from moths. Never hang knitwear, as this can cause it to lose its shape and could leave indentations in the shoulders. Instead, fold your knitwear and wrap it in acid-free tissue paper or canvas storage bags, storing it flat in a clean, dry place. Covering your knits before storing them helps to protect from moths, mould and discolouration.
Try adding sachets of natural lavender, rosemary, cedar balls or cloves to drawers, cupboards and wardrobes where you store your knitwear to ward off moths – all natural alternatives to mothballs which usually contain harsh chemicals. Our lavender and cedarwood bags are hand-crafted using lavender picked by Genevieve at a local farm in Essex and smell wonderful in your drawers.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU FIND MOTHS
If you do find moths, check all of your knitwear and treat the issue immediately. If you only discover moth holes on one piece of knitwear, it is still best to treat the problem thoroughly to completely eradicate the moths. There are several methods for getting rid of moths in your home, and we advise using a combination of these together for the best results.
First, remove all clothes from the area where you discovered the moths and give your wardrobe and drawers a good deep clean. Wash all fabrics in the room, including bedding and curtains as well as your clothes. To be extra sure, you can place your knitwear inside plastic bags, seal them and place them in the freezer for a couple of weeks, then wash everything once it has defrosted.
Vacuum all surfaces in the room, paying great attention to any cracks in walls and furniture or gaps in the floorboards, then use soap and water to clean the inside of your wardrobe and drawers. Steam is very effective in killing moth larvae, so we recommend purchasing a steamer and getting into the habit of regularly steaming your clothes.
Use a natural moth killer, such as a Chrysanthemum moth spray inside your wardrobe or drawers, destroying the eggs and larvae before placing your knitwear back inside. Ensure that your clothes are stored in moth-proof storage bags, and use a natural moth repellent (as suggested in the previous section) to prevent the moths returning.
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