If you are like me, you freeze most of the winter. I find that I am always wearing several layers during the cold weather months just to be comfortable. I have mostly washable layers, but I also have a stack of wool or cashmere sweaters that I wear regularly. These sweaters can’t be tossed in the washer and dryer like most other clothing. They require special attention in order to stay clean and fresh. Since I don’t like paying the dry cleaner to keep my sweaters clean, I have a tried and true alternative method. I wouldn’t be a true friend if I didn’t share it with you. Right? So, come along and learn my tips on how to care for your sweaters.
Dry Clean at Home
At the beginning of every fall when I am switching my closet from summer clothes to fall/winter clothes, I clean my sweaters at home. I buy an at-home dry cleaning kit and use it according to package directions. I have used both the (this is not an ad) Woolite brand and the Dryel brand, and I think Dryel works more efficiently. I like its fragrance, and it comes with a bag that I can put the sweaters in before tossing them into the clothes dryer. It even has a spot cleaner. But before I put them in the dryer with the product, I check each sweater for snags, holes, or stains and treat them accordingly.
These products can clean about five sweaters at a time, and they just take 15 to 20 minutes in the dryer. Once they are clean and folded, I stack them in my closet. There are some other steps that I follow for the care of my sweaters.
I never let my skin actually touch the body of a sweater. Every fall I buy a package of six size small men’s white cotton tee shirts. I love the feel of cotton against my skin and wear one under everything in the fall and winter. Not only do these tee shirts help keep me warm, but they keep my sweaters clean longer. I don’t have to worry about body odors and oils getting on my sweaters. They’re getting on the washable tee shirts instead. This simple step keeps my sweaters clean longer. Now, if you would get too hot wearing a cotton tee, try a camisole or a thinsulate layer.
When I take my sweaters off at night, I check to make sure I have not gotten anything on them during the day. I look for stray hairs, food stains, ink stains, or any other smudges. If I find something, I put a dry paper towel under the stain. I then dampen another paper towel with our DIY pre-wash spray. Then I just gently dab the stain till it disappears. I dab off any remaining solution and then let it air out in the laundry room till the next morning when it has dried.
If I don’t find any smudges or stains on my sweater, then I drape it over the drying pole in our laundry room to air out overnight. It’s the same rod where I hang my freshly ironed clothes. Sometimes I will spritz a fabric spray like Febreeze on it just to freshen it up a little. The next morning I fold the sweater and place it on a sweater shelf.
Organize Your Sweaters
I don’t just put all of the sweaters together on the shelves. I separate them according to turtle neck sweaters, cardigans, and crew necks. I also try (but it doesn’t always happen) to keep like colors together. These steps help me put my hands on the one I want much faster when getting dressed. It’s a simple step that helps my closet stay organized and helps me to be ready faster.
Use a Shower Cap
I think this last tip is a great one, and I don’t remember where I learned it. You know those shower caps that are always in hotel rooms? Well, I keep one in my closet, and when it is time to pull a sweater over my head, I put the shower cap over my face. Don’t worry – it’s just for a few seconds. Then I quickly pull on the sweater. That shower cap keeps my make-up from getting on the sweater, helps the sweater slide over my face faster, and protects my hair from getting messed up. Ingenius, don’t you think?
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