How to Clean and Care for a Wool Sweater
It’s about time to store wintry knits for the season. Here’s your pestproof plan.
“Clean sweaters before storage, because moths, carpet beetles, and silverfish feed off sweat and stains,” says Brian Johnson, the director of education and analysis at the Drycleaning and Laundry Institute, in Laurel, Maryland. Dry cleaning works well but can get pricey. In most cases, it’s safe to hand wash wool (including blends), but let the care label be your guide. Add 2 squirts of a delicates wash, like Wool & Cashmere Shampoo ($19 for 16 ounces, thelaundress.com), to a sinkful of tepid water. Turn the garment inside out; submerge, swish, then soak for 10 minutes. Rinse twice, pressing out the water. Never wring or hang-dry, since wet wool stretches easily.
Lay the garment on a clean towel and roll it up like a jelly roll to extract water. Unfurl and let dry on a new towel or a mesh rack. Reshape, or “block,” the knit. You can adjust the fit slightly bigger or smaller, and as the garment dries it will set in place.
Shave off fuzz balls with the Gleener ($20, gleener.com), a fabric-safe device with different blades for heavy, medium, and fine knits.
Creepie crawlies can worm their way through cracks in a cedar chest; also, cedar’s effectiveness wears off. Instead, fold knits and place them in an airtight plastic bin, says Michelle A. Lee, the country manager for the American division of the Woolmark Company. Finally, throw in a sachet filled with ½ cup dry lavender (bugs hate the stuff) and store in a cool, dry place.