Everyone knows knitwear can be tricky to wash and is prone to shrinking, but thanks to the ubiquity of care labels on most clothes it’s easy enough to avoid disaster if you pay attention. That’s not the case with hand knit items which have been made at home however, where care labels are the exception rather than the rule.
While it may be tempting to “accidentally” shrink that horrible green jumper your sister knitted you for Christmas though, it’s probably less grief in the long run to learn how to take care of hand knit clothes. Luckily, all you need to know beforehand is what type of wool it’s knitted from…
How to Wash Merino Wool
Merino wool is one of the most affordable and commonly used types of sheep’s wool, mainly because it’s the warmest type of wool on the market. It’s also possible to machine wash some smaller merino wool clothes, though it’s certainly not recommended. Instead, you should hand wash them in a basin of cold water and specialist wool detergent.
Once you’ve very gently washed your clothes by hand, it’s important to squeeze out as much of the excess water as possible. Don’t twist, stretch or wring it at all, as this will noticeably damage the wool. Once you’ve squeezed out as much as possible, lay the item flat on a dry towel – preferably in a cool, dry place.
How to Wash Lambswool
Lambswool is one of the most luxurious types of wool available because, as the name suggests, it’s sheared exclusively from young lambs. That means it’s softer and more elastic than sheep’s wool, as well as more expensive and more prone to damage. Lambswool clothes and accessories are not at all suitable for machine washing and should never be tumble dried, ever.
Instead, hand wash lambswool clothes just as described above but using a specialist wool detergent with a neutral acidity (pH 7). Lambswool is especially prone to shrinking when wet, so once use your hands to gently stretch it back out to the original size as you lay it flat to dry. Keep it out of direct sunlight too, as drying too rapidly can cause damage.
How to Wash Cashmere
Cashmere is universally recognised as the softest wool available and takes its name from the Kashmir goats that it’s sheared from. It’s also one of the most expensive, primarily because it’s very difficult to shear and can only be collected in small quantities.
While it’s possible to find home detergents specifically for cashmere clothing, the reality is that cashmere wool is so delicate that we can’t recommend trying to clean it at home. Our advice is that cashmere garments should only be cleaned by professional dry cleaners – regardless of whether they’re hand knit at home or bought from a store.
Got a cashmere jumper that needs cleaning or would you rather just avoid spending time hand washing and stretching your knitwear? Either way, you can book a Laundrapp collection today and we’ll take care of the cleaning for you – with free collection and delivery to boot!