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Here’s How To Wash Your Favourite Jumper Without Completely Ruining It

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We love wearing knitwear and jumpers in the cooler months. But washing them? Not so much. Whether your jumper is made of wool, cashmere or even cotton, cleaning it can feel like a game of roulette. Will it shrink to an unwearable size? Will it get fluff all over everything else in the wash? Will it get weirdly stretched out?

For all of these reasons and more, washing a brand-new jumper can feel super stressful. But it doesn’t have to be! To help us with our sweater-washing anxiety, HuffPost consulted professional dry cleaners and laundry experts to get their best tips and product recommendations.

Read the label

When it comes to washing knitwear, throwing them in the washing machine with all your other clothes and hoping for the best isn’t the smartest idea.

“Knit sweaters are delicate due to the way the stitches come together as a series of loops,” says Alexandra Wojenski, a sustainable cleaning expert and Grove guide at Grove Collaborative. “Compared to a woven fabric, the knitted loops are often looser and can be easily stretched.” She adds that a washing machine can pull the fibres of knit sweaters, leaving them misshapen, stretched out and more quickly worn out. “For wool or wool-blend knits especially, heat from a washer can be dangerous and cause irreversible shrinkage.”

To help prevent laundry mishaps, the first step to cleaning a knitted jumper should be consulting the care tag – that little piece of fabric with symbols you’ve probably never bothered to look up.

“Read the garment care label,” says Zachary Pozniak, vice president of Jeeves New York, who also spoke on behalf of Jerry Pozniak, the dry-cleaning company’s CEO. In addition to telling you the best way to wash it, the label will also give the material of your jumper. “Wool, viscose, rayon and angora knits all need to be dry-cleaned due to shrinkage issues.” They added that some merino wool and most cashmere jumpers can be hand-washed and air-dried, and most cotton knits can be machine- or hand-washed and machine-dried. “Knits can be tricky, and if the sweater is expensive I would not risk hand-washing and ruining the garment,” Pozniak says. When in doubt, bring it to the dry cleaners.

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