There's nothing quite as cozy on a chilly day as a soft, merino wool sweater. Wool is a warm and highly breathable fabric you can wear for a large portion of the year, which requires regular washing and special care. While you may worry about ruining your knitwear by washing it yourself, there are laundering methods you can use at home to keep your sweaters as fresh and new as they day you bought them.
Fill a basin or sink with lukewarm water and add 1 tablespoon of mild laundry soap. If need be, add 3/4 cup of white vinegar to nullify any odors. Swirl the water and soap around with your hands to create suds.
Submerge the sweater into the water, letting it soak for 10 minutes. Handle the wet sweater as little as possible to avoid stretching the fabric.
Ball up the sweater with your hands, lift it out of the basin or sink and gently squeeze out the water. Discard the soapy water and refill the sink with clean, cool water. Once again dunk the sweater into the water and knead it carefully to remove all the detergent. Repeat this process until the sweater feels free of soap.
Squeeze out any excess water from the sweater, then lay it flat on a white bath towel that's been placed on a flat surface (like the floor or a large table). Carefully roll up the towel and sweater, pressing the towel as you go to absorb moisture.
Unroll the towel, and transfer the sweater onto a dry, white or other colorfast towel. Lay the sweater out flat, smooth away any wrinkles the best you can, and reshape it to its original form. Make sure the arms of the sweater are extended to the sides so the undersides can dry, and secure all buttons and closures. Let rest until completely dry.
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- Even though the tag of your sweater may say "Dry Clean Only," you can still wash it by hand as long as the sweater's main fiber is wool or cashmere.
Virginia Pond is a Chicago-based writer. She earned her bachelor's degree in English from Indiana University.