Here’s how to keep moths away and gentle wash your knitwear.

If you’re anything like I, you’ve spent the last few months shuffled around your house, covered in various knitwear. A charcoal turtleneck is perfect for video calls. A large navy cable knit is ideal for coffee runs. Red scarf for brightening dark mornings.

It’s a great time to give your knitwear some love as the weather changes. We tend to keep woollen clothes for a long period of time, and they served as a substitute for the warm hugs that we were not allowed to receive from our family and friends this winter.

Deborah Sams, co-founder of Australian brand Bassike says that knitwear is an investment and can be kept in good condition for many years. Care for knitwear is difficult because merino wool, as well as its counterparts like cashmere, alpaca, and mohair, are susceptible to shrinkage, pilling, and moth holes.

These are just a few of the things you should keep in mind.

white textile on white textile

When washing your clothes, always refer to the care label

To wash your hands, use lukewarm water in a tub or sink. Then, apply mild detergents that are wool-specific or with a neutral pH. For help, Woolmark offers a guide. Put the garment in the tub, allow it to soak for ten minutes, then rinse it in lukewarm and cold water.

Turn the garment inside out and place in a bag for machine washing. Make sure your washer is set to “wool” or the “delicate” setting when running a cold water cycle. When choosing detergent, follow the same guidelines as hand washing.

You can dry the garment by gently squeezing out excess water. Next, lay the towel flat on the ground and place the garment on it. Then, roll the garment up gently, using pressure as needed. The towel should absorb any moisture. Next, dry the garment with a towel or flat drying rack. Finally, place it to dry out of sunlight or direct heat.

Pilling is unfortunately a fact of life

Mary-Lou Ryan (Sams’s co-founder at Bassike), says that “pilling” is a natural process. It can be difficult to prevent because it is caused by the rubbing fibres of a garment. This is something to think about when you are getting dressed. Friction from items like belts or handbags can cause fibers to rub and pill.

Avoid it by washing woolen clothes inside-out and avoiding fabric softener. A cool iron can be used to smoothen the fibers of woollen clothes after they have been washed and dried.

Ryan recommends that you remove pilling with a fabric brush, which “pulls away knotted piling fibres from your garment”. Ryan suggests that you also consider using lint-removal devices or electric garment shavers to reduce pilling. However, Ryan warns that it is important to be cautious and keep your hand steady.

Proper storage will keep moths away

Because wool and other animal fibers contain keratin (which clothes worms love), moth holes can occur. Moths may be attracted to food stains or body odours, so make sure you clean knitwear before you put it away for the summer.

Garments should always be folded and stored on cedar blocks. If possible, hang them on cedar hangers. If garments are stored for a prolonged period of time, it is worth vacuuming the drawers and cabinets. Moths are also sensitive to light and disturbance so it is worth giving them a shake-up every now and again.

Moths can be fixed by an invisible mander who is a professional and trained in knitting. To restore the garment’s original condition, they re-weave the affected area thread by thread.

Parting tips

You can also improve the life of your knitwear by doing these other things.

  • Knitted garments must be folded and given at most a day of rest between uses.
  • You can fix snags or pulls by pulling the errant threads inside the garment. Sometimes, a neat knot is required to hold things in place.
  • A clothes brush can be used to clean wool from dirt and dust, which can dull its appearance.
  • Woollen clothes should be left outside to eliminate odours caused by smoking or cooking. They are just like us and love the sunshine and fresh air.

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