Jumpers are a winter wardrobe staple, but a little carelessness when doing the laundry can shrink them three sizes or more. Proper care is crucial if you’re to keep your wool jumpers looking new, and holding their shape. Follow these steps to ensure you give wool jumpers all the attention they deserve – in turn, they’ll keep you warm and cosy all winter long.

Wash sparingly

The great thing about wool clothing is that you don’t have to wash it as often as other garments. Even your wool socks can be worn several times before they need a wash – just make sure to air them out between wears. Wool is incredibly resistant to staining and does not easily absorb aromas, making it ideal for multiple wears, hence why it’s so often used for outerwear. So if your jumper isn’t physically dirty and has no distinctive odours, chances are it doesn’t need a wash. Opt for spot-cleaning if you can; the less spin cycles your wool clothing goes through, the better.

Soak in cold water

Soak your woolen jumper in cold water for a few hours before washing it. This will provide ample time for the water to saturate the fibres, providing added protection against shrinkage.

Always use lukewarm water

When it comes to wool, heat is the enemy, the primary cause of shrinkage. Every time you wash your jumpers, make sure you use lukewarm water. Hot water cycles can transform your favourite knitwear into toddler-sized garments, so always double-check that the temperature is correctly set before you start the washer.

Use the right detergent

When possible, use a detergent specially made for washing wool garments. If you can’t find any, or simply don’t have any on hand, make your own using laundry soap (or hand soap if you’re completely out of detergent) that’s been diluted with a bit of water. Use a little less soap than you would normally use, as soap can increase felting and make your jumper look shabby.

Low spin cycle

Use the lowest spin cycle possible, as high spin rates will agitate and damage wool fibres. If your washer has a setting for wool clothing, use it. Alternatively, handwash your jumpers, just to be sure. Just be sure not to rub the wool, twist it or push it around too much. Treat it gently and it will last you for years to come!

Lay them out flat

Once your jumpers are nice and clean, lay them flat out on a towel to dry. Take care to lay them in their desired size and shape, as wool fibres can become twisted and may not bounce back into shape. For faster drying, try laying a towel over your garment and carefully rolling them together to squeeze out excess water. Remember to be gentle, or you could stretch your jumper and end up with a misshapen sleeve!

Steam into shape

Once you’ve completed all these steps, steam your wool jumper on a hanger, or press with an iron using a wool or steam setting. This will get rid of wrinkles and ensure your favourite winter garment is all set and ready to wear.

Storing jumpers

When woolen jumpers aren’t in use, fold them carefully and put them away in a drawer. Never store your wool garments on a hanger; this will stretch the fibres and make your jumper sag in all the wrong places.

© Axonn 2015