How to Clean an Aran Hand Knitted Sweater

by John DeMerceau

An Aran hand knitted sweater is known for warmth and comfort as well as for the beauty and complexity of its knit patterns. Originating with villagers in the wind-swept and ocean-chilled Aran Islands off the coast of Ireland, today these sweaters are in demand among fashion connoisseurs as well as those who enjoy the outdoors. Most Aran sweaters are knitted from wool, but some manufacturers offer acrylic knits for those who are sensitive to wool fibers. You can have your Aran hand knitted sweater dry cleaned, but gentle hand washing keeps it clean and renews its appearance just as effectively.

Items you will need

  • Soap or detergent for fine woolen washables
  • Sink stopper or basin
  • 2 large colorfast or white towels
Step 1

Plug your sink and add fine washing detergent or soap according to the package directions, or pour the recommended amount of fine washing product into a basin.

Step 2

Fill the sink or basin with cold water and make sure there is enough water to circulate around the entire sweater. Gently squeeze the sweater as you immerse it in the water so that the water solution penetrates the fibers of the sweater.

Step 3

Drain the sink or basin and rinse the sweater several times with cold water as soon as you have immersed the entire sweater in the water solution and saturated it by squeezing. Remove all traces of the soap solution by rinsing until the water that hits your sweater appears completely clear.

Step 4

Squeeze out as much water as you can from the sweater without twisting or wringing it. Lay the sweater flat on a towel and smooth it out with your hands.

Step 5

Roll up the sweater in the towel and squeeze a few more times to remove more water. Unroll the sweater and towel. Remove the sweater and lay it flat on a dry towel.

Step 6

Smooth the sweater back into shape and allow it to dry. When the top feels as if it is at least partially dry, turn the sweater over and smooth it again. Wait overnight for the sweater to dry entirely before you wear it again. Wash your sweater any time it appears dirty or worn, or if it becomes stained or saturated with perspiration.


  • Never machine wash, machine dry or line-dry an Aran sweater.

About the Author

John DeMerceau is an American expatriate entrepreneur, marketing analyst and Web developer. He now lives and works in southeast Asia, where he creates websites and branding/marketing reports for international clients. DeMerceau graduated from Columbia University with a Bachelor of Arts in history.