Here's the perfect trick to stop your sweater from itching
Revealed: How to make your favourite knitwear less ‘scratchy’ without ruining the shape – including soaking jumpers in vinegar and storing them in the FREEZER
- Kegan Kimball is laundry expert from dry cleaning company Laundryheap
- He gives his best advice to keep your sweater smooth and it top conditions
- Hair conditioner and white vinegar are magical combination against itchy knits
- White vinegar soak followed and hair conditioner treatment turn sweater smooth
There’s no worse feeling than an itchy sweater scratching against your skin.
Fortunately a fabrics expert has shared his secrets for tackling this common knitwear woe.
Kegan Kimball, from London-based dry cleaning service LaundryHeap, revealed the nine steps everyone can take to make their favourite jumpers softer to the touch – without ruining the shape.
From storing jumpers in the freezer to soaking them in vinegar, read on for Kegan’s tips…
A laundry expert gives his tips to get rid of itchy sweaters for the winter. Stock image
1. Check the label!
The first thing you should do when washing your sweater for the first time is to check its label.
‘This cannot be stressed enough, as you need to know what you’re working with,’ Kegan said.
‘A true wolf in sheep’s clothing, not many “woolly” sweaters are actually made from 100% wool, but blended with fibres like nylon, cotton and acrylic.
‘And as some fibres fray more than others, different combinations can wreak havoc on your skin. So when you can, opt for high quality, natural fibres like cotton, cashmere and wool, and stay away from the acrylic.’
2. Soak in white vinegar and water
Kegan said to ‘relax’ your sweaters in order to keep them smooth.
3. Swap the fabric softener for hair conditioner
Why not treat your precious sweaters like you do your hair.
‘If the vinegar just isn’t quite cutting it, you go even further by giving your sweaters the special treatment,’ Kegan said.
‘Just like frizz, clothing fibres need moisture to stop them from fraying and scratching at your skin.
‘So whilst damp, massage your favorite hair conditioner into the fibres, rinse off with cold water, air dry and voila! A sweater as soft as your tresses.’
‘Any rough fibres will need relaxing. And while it’s tempting to douse your sweaters in fabric softener, natural alternatives are often just as good, if not more effective,’ he said.
‘Soak the offending garment into a white vinegar and water solution for around 20 minutes, drain and always lie your woollens flat to air dry.
He also pointed out that vinegar worked great with all fabric and offered a wide range of properties.
Vinegar works wonders in softening all kinds of fabrics, is great at freshening up clothes and wards off mildew. Perfect for knits that have been tightly stored away all year!
4. Freeze them!
For those willing to take the off-beaten tracks, Kegan has a radical solution.
‘It may sound a little mad, but try throwing your itchy sweater into the freezer overnight. Doing so locks the fibres in place, so they don’t shed and poke into you,’ he said.
And freezing is also a good way to get yourself rid of unwanted insects and their spawns.
‘Freezing is also a great way to rid your woollens from moths and their eggs. Just make sure the clothes are completely dry before they go in – you don’t want to have to thaw both your Christmas jumper and turkey,’ he added.
5. Wash with care
‘You may not need to wash your woollens as often as your other clothes so when you must, make sure you do so with care,’ Kegan said.
A pile of sweaters, stock image. Kegan added you could tumble dry stretched jumpers to restore them to their former glory
‘Use a gentle detergent, and wash in a net bag on a delicate setting. The net beg stops your clothes from rubbing against other garments too much in the cycle, which can loosen fibres and result in rough, stretched out sweaters.’
6. Invest in quality storage
Sometime, the best tools are worth putting your money into, Kegan said.
‘We’d say avoid hanging where possible, as this stretches out the fabric. But if you’re short on space, invest in some trusty knitwear hangers.’
7. Use a fabric shaver for any pills or bobbles
Kegan explained that fabric shaver and great for day to day care.
‘When damage does occur, make sure you have the right reinforcements to hand. Invest in a trusty fabric shaver and banish those little bobbles that plague your woollen items every year,’ he said.
‘Gently run the shaver over your sweater to lift off pills without damaging the material – keeping your circa 1995 Christmas sweater looking brand new,’ he added.
‘These will cause minimal stress on your clothes and help you avoid the tell-tale droopy shoulders of worn-out woolies,’ he added.
8. Wear a shirt underneath
Kegan said that wearing a shirt under the sweater was the quickest solution to get rid of an itch, if only temporary.
‘Preppy never goes out of style. So if you’re short on time, you can combat any itch by keeping a layer between you and the garment. It’s exactly the look you were going for,’ he said.
9. Tumble dry to shrink any stretches
While you shouldn’t chuck all your woolen sweaters in the wash, sometimes, a trip to the tumble dryer is perfect to fix a stretched fabric.
‘We’d normally advise against tumble drying any kind of sweater, as the heat can weaken and damage the fibres. But if you do notice your garments stretching, the tumble dryer can often come to the rescue,’ Kegan said.
‘Simply dampen or wet (depending on the severity) the stretched areas and throw into the tumble dryer until dry to see those areas shrink back in good form,’ he advised.
‘But when times get rough, leaving it to the experts is always a sure option. There are a number of quality dry cleaners across the country, with some even operating door-to-door and on-demand,’ he added.
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