Can You Put Knit Sweaters In The Washing Machine?

Yes, you can safely put knit sweaters in the washing machine, including those made from wool. However, it’s important to follow the proper care instructions based on the fabric type.

But what settings should you use, and what other steps do you need to take to keep your knits looking their best?

Curious about how to keep your knit sweaters looking as good as new? This article will guide you through the best practices for machine and hand washing knit sweaters, along with tips on preventing damage and dealing with shrinkage.

What Wash Setting Should You Use For Knit Sweaters?

Wool Silk Wash Cycle

Select the wool setting on your washing machine even for knits made of other fabrics. This uses less agitation which is gentler on clothes. You can also manually set the spin speed to low if needed. If your machine lacks a wool setting, use the delicate cycle instead.

Avoid using powder detergents on wool knits as they can be abrasive. Opt for a gentle wool detergent instead. 

Wash knit sweaters separately from heavier items like denim to prevent damage from friction. Turn sweaters inside out before washing to minimise pilling. Keep zips done up and buttons closed.

Choose short wash cycles whenever possible to reduce shrinkage and damage. Use a mesh bag when washing knits with large or delicate stitches to prevent snags.

Keep the washing temperature at 30°C for wool sweaters to prevent shrinking. After washing wool knits, lay them flat to dry instead of hanging to maintain their shape.

Cotton knits can be machine washed and dried like regular laundry at temperatures up to 60°C. Always make sure to check the wash care label for specific instructions.

When machine drying is allowed, use the lowest setting. Don’t use the air dry setting as too much movement can damage knits. It’s best to lay sweaters flat to air dry.

How To Hand Wash Knitted Sweaters

woman holding knitted wool sweaters

For fine knit fabrics like mohair or cashmere that cannot be machine washed, hand wash gently in cold water using a small amount of detergent. Avoid rubbing stains.

After soaking, drain dirty water and rinse with clean water until all soap is removed. Roll the knitwear in a towel to soak up excess moisture. Lay flat to air dry and reshape.

How Often Should You Wash Knit Sweaters?

Wool knitwear only needs washing once or twice per season depending on wear. Other knit fabrics can be washed more often but not as frequently as woven fabrics.

Try not to wear your knit sweaters more than 5 times in a row. If you’ve only had it on for a little while, it might not need washing. But if you’ve sweated a lot or it’s stained, then it should be washed immediately.

What If Your Knit Sweater Shrinks?

If washing has caused your knit sweater to shrink, ease it back into shape while damp. Put it down on a flat area with a towel beneath. 

Stretch the fabric gently from the bottom upwards. For the hemline, shoulder area, and sides, lightly stretch the sweater to elongate the fibres. 

It might not return to its original size, but this can help with slight shrinkage.

SEE ALSO: Can You Put Embroidery In The Washing Machine?

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I wash knitted sweaters in the washing machine?

Yes, you can wash knitted sweaters in the washing machine. Make sure to use the wool or delicate cycle, set the spin speed to low, and turn the sweater inside out to minimise pilling. Use a gentle laundry detergent and avoid washing with heavy items.

How do you wash a knitted sweater without shrinking it?

To wash a knitted sweater without shrinking it, select a cold or 30°C wash setting, especially for wool sweaters, and use a short wash cycle. Avoid high temperatures and excessive agitation. After washing, lay the sweater flat to air dry to maintain its shape and prevent shrinkage.

How do you wash a thick knitted sweater?

When washing a thick knitted sweater, turn it inside out, place it in a mesh laundry bag to protect it from snags, and use the wool or delicate cycle with a gentle detergent. Wash it separately from heavy items like denim to prevent friction damage. After washing, lay it flat to air dry.

How often should you wash knit sweaters?

Knit sweaters should be washed once or twice per season if they are wool. Other knit fabrics can be washed more frequently, but not as often as woven fabrics. Avoid wearing your knit sweaters more than five times in a row without washing, unless they are lightly worn and not stained or sweaty.

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