How to Properly Care for a Sweater

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Madewell Cashmere Sweatshirt | Madewell Province Cross-Back Sweater | Madewell Pullover Sweater in Elmwood Stripe | Ugg Scuffette Slippers | Anthroplogie Mug | Cinnamon Pinecones

It's sweater season, you guys! I mean I know I have already said that in my Fall Sweater Guide and Fall Cardigan Guide, buuuut it's now getting to the point where you only sweat a little bit when you wear them in Texas...

Anyway, I love me some sweaters, but they are kind of annoying to care for. On the flip side, if you don't take care of them, then you will drastically decrease the sweater's life. Anddd why spend money on something that you are going to not take care of?

What to do? As an apparel merchandising major, I definitely read the tag in clothing, but most people don't. Even if you were to read the tag, that only takes you through the cleaning portion, not how to store or treat it. So, here's 3 tips to take care of your sweaters and ensure a longer closet life:

1) Hand Wash. Get some delicate laundry detergent (I like Seventh Generation) and fill a sink with cool water. Place the sweater in the sink and gently move it around. Let it sit for 30 minutes, then drain the sink and gently squeeze the water out. Lay flat to dry on a towel to dry. Don't wring!!  Also, never machine wash the sweater. I recently did that to one of Nick's sweaters because it actually said to on the care instructions and it was ruined... I promptly returned it and vowed always to hand wash regardless of the label. Note: don't wash every time you wear...think about them like jeans. Wash them when they're dirty with something specific like a food stain or smoke. 

2) Fold and Store.  This is as equally important as the washing process. Fold your sweaters and place them in a container. I use fabric boxes; however, they actually make sweater boxes, but you can use any container really. Just keep them in a safe space, away from your cat's claws ;) Make sure you fold them well...not like you fold the fitted sheet for your bed. The way you store them is how they will be when you want to wear them. Fold poorly? Have wrinkles. Hang up? Have a stretched out sweater.

3) Don't Shave. Sweaters will inevitably pill due to natural wear and tear. Gently remove them when necessary. NEVER use one of those sweater shaver things. This actually removes the fabric and makes it thinner.


-If you want to shrink a sweater, place it in the washing machine on the hot cycle. Once it is out, gently squeeze out the water and make sure it has the desired shape. Lat flat to dry. If you only need to shrink it a little bit, spray hot water on the garment, then put it in the dryer for about 20 minutes. If it still needs to be shrunk, place it in the dryer for another 20 minutes. Continue to monitor it until desired size is achieved.

-If you want to un-shrink a sweater, you can fill a sink with warm water and about a tablespoon of conditioner or baby shampoo. Let it sit for about 15 minutes, then remove and place on a towel. Stretch the sweater to desired and then lay flat to dry on a new towel. I also watched the Shark Tank episode of Unshrink It and it looks legit too!  Note this procedure will only work on wool, cashmere, or wool blends.

I made this post, because I don't always treat my sweaters like I should and I figured some of y'all may not know the best thing to do! Do you have any best practice tips for caring for a sweater? Let me know if I am doing something wrong! I have a TON of favorite sweaters and want to make them last as long as possible!

Stay cozy my friends and as always, thanks for reading!!

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