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How to hand wash a sweater?

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
Taking a break from studying: I will show my ignorance, but how does one hand wash a wool / cashmere sweater? Jon.
post #2 of 24
I wash my cashmere sweaters by filling a small pail with some cold water and putting a very light amount of soap in it, then mix up the soap until there is very little suds (and no concentrated soap anywhere), and then dip the sweater into it and swish it around a bit. Then I take the sweater out quickly, and rinse it about 3 or 4 times with clean cold water. I then fill a different pail with cold water (no soap) and put my sweater in the new pail of clean water to soak for about 10 minutes. After that, I pull the sweater out, ring it gently a few times, and then lay them flat on a thin towel (which we lay on a table) on our back deck (it is a covered deck) overnight to dry. Sometimes it takes up to 36 hours to dry. Believe it or not, this tends to do a better cleaning job than machines, and my cashmere sweaters last a LOT longer. I dry them on a towel because I found that if I hang-dry the sweaters, they tend to stretch a bit and lose their shape. If I lay them flat on a towel, they tend to keep their shape very well over a long period of time. It does not require much soap at all. I hardly use any. If you use too much soap, it will not rinse completely.
post #3 of 24
I do it in the sink, using a little bit of Woolite with lukewarm water, swish around and squeeze through, let soak if you want, then rinse many times. Then squeeze out gently, lay out on a big towel and arrange into shape. Put another towel on top. Roll the whole sweater burrito up and let it sit a few hours or overnight. Don't leave it too long or it will start smelling funny. Unroll and possibly steam out. If you do a few at a time, it's less work/time than driving them to the cleaners, plus they are always softer after doing this and I haven't had great luck with cleaners.
post #4 of 24
Yeah, I definitely prefer hand-washing to taking in for dry-cleaning. Perhaps that has something to do with losing a beautiful cashmere sweater that had been given to me by my father as a graduation gift (it had sentimental value). I was so pissed off I decided to never take a good sweater to a dry-cleaner again, and actually found that my sweaters last much longer, feel much softer and cleaner, and just hold their shape much better if I wash by hand. Oh, and I forgot to mention that I also use Woolite (or sometimes I use liquid detergent, although I try to avoid that if possible). Also, if you leave the garment outdoors (if possible), I've found that it will dry quicker and for whatever reason you don't seem to get any smell or mildew.
post #5 of 24
Quote:
Also, if you leave the garment outdoors (if possible), I've found that it will dry quicker and for whatever reason you don't seem to get any smell or mildew.
I have covered balconies, but the possibility of random sideways rain around here tends to rule out that option except on really nice days. Fun fact about Seattle: the fifth day of any weather forecast is no better than random at predicting the actual weather that day. The Seattle area is the most difficult area on Earth for weather prediction.
post #6 of 24
Thread Starter 
Well, I took a sweater to the drycleaners because it had way too much smoke smell on it (I don't smoke, but if one goes to areas where people smoke...) and I did not have anytime over the weekend to learn and clean it. Alas, even though the shape seems ok, there is something about it; a certain I don't know what that strikes me that it is not as it was before. Alas, it's not damaged, and I'm thankful for that, but I have had things ruined by drycleaners in the past and would rather just do it at home. Anyways, back to calc... (shoot me) Jon.
post #7 of 24
Steam will often get out smoke smell. Also, just airing the sweater (put it on a wide hanger so it can get good circulation), especially outside, will help a lot. You can try that first before washing. Don't steam a sweater with food spots, though; you can set them harder that way. Fun tip #2 of the thread: Don't rinse dishes with raw egg on them with hot water - it will cook onto the dish.
post #8 of 24
Dry cleaners' chemicals will take natural oils out of wool/cashmere and shorten its lifespan. I use Woolite and follow the instructions for cold-water wash. Same as recommended by linux_pro. j's burrito style roll might speed drying. Since that's an issue when it's humid, I'll give it a try. No experience removing smoke smell.
post #9 of 24
Now that I think about it again, if you wanted to you could put another towel inside the sweater to further speed the drying process. I have always had good luck with this method. Just don't use brand new towels. The lint gets everywhere.
post #10 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Steam will often get out smoke smell. Also, just airing the sweater (put it on a wide hanger so it can get good circulation), especially outside, will help a lot. You can try that first before washing. Don't steam a sweater with food spots, though; you can set them harder that way. Fun tip #2 of the thread: Don't rinse dishes with raw egg on them with hot water - it will cook onto the dish.
I don't have a steamer, but I left it in hanging in my bathroom and ran the shower at full heat 3 times and the smell did not come off. That's when I took it to the cleaners. Jon.
post #11 of 24
Quote:
Quote:
(linux_pro @ Feb. 15 2005,19:58) Also, if you leave the garment outdoors (if possible), I've found that it will dry quicker and for whatever reason you don't seem to get any smell or mildew.
I have covered balconies, but the possibility of random sideways rain around here tends to rule out that option except on really nice days. Fun fact about Seattle: the fifth day of any weather forecast is no better than random at predicting the actual weather that day. The Seattle area is the most difficult area on Earth for weather prediction.
I couldn't agree here more. The most frustrating thing about Seattle is the completely schizophrenic nature of the weather patterns. For instance, yesterday it was gorgeous and sunny, and 34F outside. Yikes. We have a very large deck with a covered roof, so it generally works out. When it is raning, I just lay my sweater on a table with a towel underneath it. That tends to work very well. I never hang my sweaters though, because then they stretch and lose shape. Even when dry, I fold them. I hate losing a good warm (crucial to Seattle) sweater that way.
post #12 of 24
I always pre-wet wools before I immerse them in the soapy water.
post #13 of 24
I hand wash all my sweaters as well, using the methods discussed (woolite or some other fine fabric wash, cold water, towel and laying flat) except that I recently purchased a sweater dryer at Bed Bath and Beyond which helps to expedite the process. Previously I would lay them flat on a towel, but they tend to take longer to dry becuase no air is coming from below. The sweater dryer is a nylon mesh that allows air to come from under the sweater and dry it a little quicker. Plus, the device can be folded and stored away nicely. I would highly suggest using them.
post #14 of 24
As we enter spring, I'm starting to think of storing my wool sweaters, i was wondering what you guys did in terms of cleaning them?

Hand wash or dry clean?

I find it hard trusting dry cleaners, essentially i know that my prized suit/sweater is just another garment amongst 1,000's they get through each week.

Last year, I did my own handwash using this guide: http://www.fuzzygalore.biz/articles/wash_sweater.shtml

Just wondering what everyone else did - my main hope is to keep away pesky moths.

Cheeers,
R
post #15 of 24
The following applies to all my merino/lambs wool/cashmere sweaters.

They are nice sweaters from the likes of Cucinelli/Loro Pianas


Machine wash on gentle/hand wash cycle, COLD water, Woolite detergent, and table-top dry.
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