Thank you to the wonderful creators of Ampersand for all your ongoing advice. "How to Hand Wash a Sweater" is an oldy-but-a-goody from the Ampersand archives. For more great tips from the Eileen Fisher staff, make sure to visit the full site here.
Over to You: The Care Cycle
Did you know that clothing’s greatest environmental impact happens during the care cycle? It’s sometimes hard to imagine, but care—washing, drying, ironing and dry cleaning—uses more energy and toxins than either raising fiber, spinning, dying, manufacturing or transportation. One of the simplest ways to minimize the impact of care is to hand wash clothes in cold water, using non-petroleum, eco-friendly soaps.
A step-by-step guide to hand washing
Read the care labels and you’ll find that, in most cases, cotton, linen, silk, and wool can be hand washed. So instead of sending sweaters to the dry cleaner, wash them following the instructions below.
1. Fill a basin with cool water. Add mild soap, preferably an eco-friendly variety.
2. Place sweater in water and swirl gently.
3. Rinse. Drain basin. Gently press sweater to remove excess water, being careful not to wring or twist.
4. Spread sweater on a thick, dry towel. Roll towel the way you would a yoga mat, pressing as you go. Do not twist towel.
5. Unroll. Lay sweater on a dry towel on a flat, waterproof surface. Reshape sweater. Spread arms out straight, push ribbing together, align collar and button any buttons. If there is a belt, dry it separately. After 12 to 24 hours (depending on the thickness of knit), turn sweater over and spread out on a dry towel. You won’t need to reshape but you can pat and fluff.
6. Once completely dry, your sweater should be ready to wear. If any wrinkles or folds remain, use a steamer to remove.