Although getting set-in wrinkles out of your sweaters can seem like a battle, you can win the war by removing deep creases. Although improper storage is often the cause, incorrect care and maintenance can also lead to these unwanted wrinkles. Whether you're caring for merino, cashmere or angora, always check labels and product hang-tags. Before you tear away the tiny neck labels or discard the tags, read the valuable information suggesting care and maintenance for the yarns used to knit your sweater, including alternative drying methods that will help diminish deep creases.
Remove your sweater from storage and evaluate the creases. If you have light creases throughout the sweater, put it in the dryer on no heat for a few minutes and then iron it. Read the care label first to ensure you can iron the sweater. For stubborn wrinkles, you may need to wash and dry the sweater.
Turn the sweater inside out. Machine wash as directed, even if you have recently washed it. This helps relax the yarns. Although instructions and water temperature suggestions vary, cold or warm water instead of hot avoids shrinking. Use the recommended amount of mild detergent. Immediately remove the sweater from your machine when the rinse cycle ends.
Fill a tub or basin with warm water to wash a hand-wash sweater. Use the recommended amount of mild detergent -- generally a few drops for hand washing. Allow your hand wash sweater to soak for approximately 10 minutes before removing it from soapy water.
Remove the sweater from the tub. Rinse the sweater in lukewarm water thoroughly, squeezing out leftover suds. Continue rinsing with cold water until the water runs clear and free of studs. Avoid wringing, twisting or stretching the sweater, which can lead to distorting its shape.
Spread out a white towel on your laundry table and lay your sweater on top of the towel, whether you've machine or hand washed it. Starting from the bottom, roll the sweater up in the towel. Press the roll to remove excess water.
Place a mesh laundry rack on your table. Lay the sweater on the rack and reshape it with your hands, setting the sleeves along the body of the sweater and squaring the shoulders. Do not place the rack near direct sunlight or heat, and put it in a place where air can circulate to dry it.
Lay your sweater on the ironing board to iron it. Fill the spray bottle with water. Spray a light mist over the creases. As an alternative, dampen a white ironing cloth and cover the creased area with it. If you have an acrylic sweater, use a dry cloth.
Set your iron to the recommended setting, generally the wool or medium heat setting. Lightly press the iron onto the creased surface. If your sweater's shoulders have creased peaks from hanging, place the sweater on its side until the sleeve and shoulders are facing up. Continue to lower and lift the iron, pressing the creases until the wrinkles have diminished or disappeared. Do not apply pressure, which often causes a shiny surface or coating on the sweater's surface.
Fill your steamer's cup with the recommended amount of water -- distilled or tap -- according to your brand's suggestions. Skip this step for acrylic sweaters or if the iron has completely removed the creases.
Hang your sweater on a padded or plastic hanger to steam instead of iron it. Adjust the steamer to your sweater's recommended heat setting -- generally medium heat for wool and cashmere sweaters. Hold the steamer head approximately 3 to 4 inches away from the sweater. Press the steam release button and pass the steamer head over the creased area in an up, down and side-to-side motion until the creases and wrinkles completely disappear. Repeat as needed. If you're using a steam iron, leave your sweater on the ironing board, hovering the iron approximately 3 to 4 inches away from the sweater.
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- If you do not have a mesh laundry rack, use a moisture-resistant surface.
- Do not hang sweaters in your closet to avoid stretching. Fold the sweater to store it. Heavyweight sweaters are often less prone to creasing.
- Avoid wire hangers that can cause crease marks -- peaks -- along your sweater's shoulder cap.
Mercedes Valladares is the founder of M721Organics and has been an independent designer for over 15 years. Her work experience commenced during college with manufacturers based in New York and Hong Kong. Her education includes LIM College, International Fine Arts College and design certification from the Paris Fashion Institute. She produces eco-crafting videos and writes recycling articles online.