Knitwear is an essential part of our wardrobes - easy to dress up or down, cosy, comfortable and oh so soft. It's delicate nature is one of the things that makes knitwear so special, and with the right care you can make your favourite knits last season after season. We've created this how-to care for your knits guide to help your knitwear go the distance.
Emma wears the Lou Ribbed Turtleneck in Pink.
One of the most common questions we get asked is about the best way to wash knitwear.
1. Do you actually need to wash your knit? Because contrary to what every detergent commercial has ever told you, you don’t need to wash your knits after every single wear. We’re usually wearing another layer underneath so there’s no direct skin contact, and most of the time knitwear can benefit from just a good airing. Simply lay your knit across a clothes airer or a few washing lines out of direct sunlight and let nature do it's best work. Oh, you’ve spilt pasta sauce on your knit? Keep reading.
2. Have you read the care label? Have you really read the care label?! Ok, just checking. Knitwear care is not one size fits all and different yarns will call for slightly different laundering. While some pieces may be dry clean only, most are dry clean friendly, if you're into that sort of thing. Personally, we find our knits stay softer when handwashed with a gentle detergent.
3. Another note on detergents - this may sound crazy but we aren't fans of woolwash! Woolwashes contain harsh chemicals and bleaches which can cause the dye to run in your knit. We suggest opting for a gentle detergent like this one or this one from the Laundress if you're feeling really fancy. You can also try using a gentle hair conditioner for that super soft feeling - just ensure there are no bleaches or colour concentrates in there.
4. Now you're ready to wash your knit, fill your sink or laundry tub with water (check the care instructions for optimum temperature) and a splash of laundry liquid. Immerse the knit in water and wash gently with your hands. Don't scrub your knit too hard as this can agitate the fibres and lead to pilling (more on this later).
5. Once you're satisfied your knit is clean, give it a rinse to make sure all the detergent is out. Gently squeeze out the excess water without twist or wringing - instead, roll your knit onto a clean towel and roll it up to gently draw out the extra water.
6. Time to hang it out! Or rather, not hang it - we like to lay our knits flat across a clothes airer and gently pull it back into shape. Keep it out of bright sunlight to prevent fading, and once dry you're ready to wear.
Storage is just as important as laundering in our opinion. Knitwear stays at its best when it is stored folded neatly in a drawer or cupboard. Knitwear should not be hung for prolonged periods as this will cause stretching.
Some notes on Pilling
Pilling occurs when shorter fibres separate from the knit and ball on the surface. Caused by friction, pilling can happen to any knitwear that contains natural fibres. Sadly, the only way to stop it completely is to not wear your knit at all - but there are some simple ways to prevent it and deal with it once it happens.
1. Handwash your knits in a gentle detergent or hair conditioner.
2. Use a pilling comb or fabric shaver to remove any balling after laundering. Place your knit on a flat surface and pull it taut. Gently apply the fabric shaver to the surface to remove lint and pilling.
3. Be mindful of handbag straps as continued friction from walking can cause balling under the arms or across body.
At Apartment Clothing, we believe in buying less and buying better. We take care to create garments designed to be loved season after season, and once it's in your hands, the care is up to you.
Keep an eye out for more tips on making your garments go the distance, and let us know if you have any more questions to be answered in the comments.