Or, I guess it’s Fall Cleaning…
The mornings are getting cooler and I’m reaching for my big wool sweaters again, sweaters I haven’t worn in months. And, frankly, they’re kinda (very) gross.
Theoretically, I do a big cleaning of all my knitwear every year, then spot-clean as necessary. But if I’m being honest, this hasn’t happened in quite a while. Like, maybe 5 years since I last did a through once-over of all my sweaters. And it shows.
I put on my Bubbles Pullover the other day, and my allergies went off like I’d just rubbed my face in a pile of pollen, dust, and cat dander. Not ideal.
So, while I might not have the time to devote to every single sweater in my closet, I do have time to clean at least this one. Let me show you how I did it.
First, I hit it with the de-piller. I like this Sweater Stone. It seems pretty efficient, and it’s what I’ve had for years. The de-pillers with blades kind of scare me, like they might jump out and cut my sweater, but this one seems fairly gentle (maybe?). But, if I have a really special sweater, made with really delicate fibers or featuring a lot of texture-work, I’ll just go through and pick off the really bad pills by hand. Efficient? No. Gentle? Yep.Then I did a once-over for any holes or snags. I noticed a little hole near the collar of this guy. It’s not so bad, so I’ll leave it for another day. But, if it was worse or in a more critical spot, I’d fix it before I washed it, to prevent making the run worse.Now it’s time for a bath! I folded the sweater, and lay it in a nice, warm, soapy bath. I like Eucalan soap, since it’s super-gentle on wool, doesn’t require a rinse, and smells nice, but isn’t too scented. I never swish the sweater around or anything. Remember, wool + agitation + water = felt, so I keep the agitation to a minimum. I just push the sweater down into the water, squeezing out the air.Then I let it sit for… a bit. I’m sure there’s a rule about this, but I usually just let it hang out until I get bored. At least 5 minutes or so (more, if you’re like me and wander off and forget).And this is the best/worst part: Look at how gross the water is!!! Yuck!I let the water drain away, and carefully wrung out most of the water (again being careful not to agitate too much). Then I rolled the sweater up in a towel or two, and squeezed the sweater burrito to get out even more water.Then it’s off to the drying rack! I like using these big (clean) window screens. (They were originally used as drying racks for hops, back when my husband grew hops for his home-brew beer, but now I mostly use them for my knitwear.) You can also use your regular blocking boards or just lay your sweater out on more clean towels. Just make sure you’ve got it blocking to the right measurements, otherwise your sweater might end up clean, but lopsided!Now I just have to repeat the process for my other two dozen sweaters…
How often do you clean your knitwear? Do you have any tricks to streamline the process?