The American Cleaning Institute (ACI)

Sweater Care


How to keep your favorite sweaters in tip-top shape

Sweater careWhen it's time to put away sweaters for the season, say goodbye to losing a favorite sweater before its prime with these tips from the American Cleaning Institute:

Shop Talk

When choosing a sweater, price is just one consideration.

  • Construction. Harder, tighter yarns are more durable than soft, loose ones, which tend to stretch easily. That's why a fisherman's sweater is more suited to rugged, outdoor activity and a cashmere sweater is happier in the office.
  • Care requirements. Sweaters can be machine-washable, hand wash-only or dry clean-only. Read the care label before you buy so there are no surprises later on! Choose care styles that match your lifestyle.
  • Trim. Special trims, such as suede, leather or beads may influence the care requirements. Check the store's return policy before purchasing in case the trim creates maintenance problems.

Read and follow the care label instructions:

  • Machine washing. When in doubt about water temperature, choose a cold water wash. Use a detergent formulated for delicates.
  • Hand washing. Gently swish the sweater around in the wash. Do not rub or wring. Rinse thoroughly, then roll the sweater in a towel and press gently to remove excess moisture. Some washers, though, do have hand wash cycles.
  • Drying. Hand wash-only sweaters should be dried flat. Machine-washable sweaters can sometimes be dried in the dryer on low heat. Check the care label to be sure.
  • Blocking. Soft, hand wash-only sweaters may lose their shape during washing. To restore them, trace the outline of the sweater onto a piece of brown or craft paper before cleaning. Use it as a pattern to block the sweater to its original size and shape.
  • Dry cleaning. In-dryer cleaning kits can be used to remove odors and light soil. For stains and heavy soil, take dry clean-only sweaters to a professional drycleaner.
Daily Care

Sweaters should be folded for storage. Hanging a sweater can stretch it out of shape. And be careful what jewelry you wear with your sweater. Some knits are delicate and easily snagged.

Storing Winter Sweaters
  • Thoroughly clean all items before storing. Certain soils can attract insects. You wouldn't want your favorite sweater to become their feasting ground! In addition, stains that the eye can barely see may turn yellow or darken over time.
  • Don't iron sweaters before storing. Ironing may heat set stains that have not been completely removed. If they reappear after a long summer siesta, they may be impossible to remove.
  • Store sweaters in a cool, dark, dry, well-ventilated area. Good choices include a cool closet, an airtight chest, or an under-the-bed cardboard box. Avoid plastic bags or bins. They can trap air and moisture, creating a damp, unsuitable atmosphere.