Friday, March 13, 2015

Sweater maintenance

The weather climbed above freezing, hooray!  Today, it hit the 60s.

Kyle asked whether anyone else had hacked RTW pieces lately.  Well, I did some sweater maintenance but the only hacking was to go back and add length to the sleeves of a me-made sweater.

With the warmer temps of spring, I wash all of my wool sweaters before putting them away for the season.  I've read that wool moths are more attracted to dirty sweaters so this is my ounce of prevention.

While I was at it, I examined them for damage.  The black cashmere cardigan had developed a small hole at the shoulder.  Perhaps it was a casualty of my purse strap.  I darned it with a small amount of the black lace-weight wool I am using in my cowl before washing.  Does this count as a RTW hack?  Or just basic wardrobe maintenance?

I'm embarrassed to admit that the two black RTW sweaters are cashmere--purchased before I learned about the planetary cost of cashmere and more bad news about cashmere.  I wrote and firmly believe:
If you already have cashmere, don't sweat it. Take good care of it so it lasts. I have cashmere sweaters that are 25+ years old (one bought new, two bought at thrift shops).
The sweaters are all clean, fluffed up, delinted and fresh.

I washed them with shampoo on the delicate cycle of my washer. Well, I didn't let the sweaters agitate--I just used the spin dry feature.

 I filled the tub with a mixture of warm/cool water until it was tepid and let it agitate just to dissolve the shampoo. Then I added the sweaters and let it agitate just enough to thoroughly wet the sweaters. I turned the washer off and let them soak while I went to the gym. When I got back, I let the washer drain.

 Then I took the sweaters out, let the tub refill with warm/cool water, then put the sweaters back in for a rinse cycle (with an abbreviated agitation period). I repeated the rinse cycle and lay them on the drying rack for a day.  No visible fulling or shrinking.

What about you? How do you maintain your sweaters? DIY or outsource? Wash or dry clean?  Are you interested in a post about the planetary cost of dry-cleaning?


  1. Ah that's good to read about your sweater/jumper maintenance! I wish everyone did that to extend the life of their woollens. Most of the lower cost cashmere garments in the shops today feel sooo thin, it's great to hear that older and better quality ones can last over a quarter of a century! xx

  2. I am due for sweater maintenance. I spot clean the left shoulder nearly every time I wear one -- that is the baby carrying side -- but they could use an allover wash.

    I take my sweaters to the dry cleaner; however, I was under the impression that they do not actually use the dry cleaning chemicals, but just throw them in a washing machine much like you would do at home. I am not sure if my washing machine (a front loader) allows me to have as much control over the cycle as you describe.

  3. Yes, CA law required dry cleaners to upgrade to less polluting alternatives. Yay!

    I have a front loader in LA and wash sweaters in a big bucket in the bathtub or the kitchen sink. I only use the washer to spin-dry the sweaters.

  4. Anonymous13:53

    Yes, please – planetary cost of cashmere and dry cleaning.
    Vancouver Barbara

  5. Adding length to sleeves? Definite hack!
    Darning a hole? I agree that it sounds like maintenance.

    I'm allergic to wool so no cashmere for me!

  6. I haven't purchased cashmere recently, but do wash and maintain all my sweaters. My oldest cashmere dates to the mid 80's. My front loader in the new house does not have all the options for stopping the cycle that my old top loader did, so I now mostly hand wash and spin.


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