The Best Way to Care for Jumpers
When the temperatures plummet and the weather outside gets bitterly cold, it’s time to bring out the jumpers. Although jumpers are warm and comforting, and perfect to keep the winter’s chill at bay, the more you wear your jumper, the more you’re going to wash it. Washing your jumper, especially in the machine, could leave the cosy fabric looking dull, bobbling and maybe you find that your favourite jumper has shrunk a bit! From cable knits to cardigans, learning to care for your jumpers properly will ensure you stay toasty, season after season. Read on to see our jumper care tips, so you’ll also learn how to wash your jumpers to keep them smooth and in-shape, without bobbling.
Golden Rules of How to Wash Any Type of Jumpers
Despite being thick and heavy, knitwear is quite a delicate fabric as it’s easy for the knit to unravel if it gets caught on something. This is why knitwear needs extra care when compared to the other fabrics you have hanging in your wardrobe. Saying that, just because your knitted jumper may need a little more attention than a cotton t-shirt, you can still wash it in the machine. Here are our golden rules for how to keep any jumper soft when washing:
- Use the delicate setting on your washing machine or handwash. Knitwear needs to be handled gently when washing, so you’ll want to either wash it by hand in the sink or go for the delicate setting on your machine.
- Go for short wash cycles. If you are going to wash your jumper in the machine, try to go for the shortest cycle length available, if your machine has the option.
- Check the fabric care label. Before putting any jumper in the wash, read the fabric care label to make sure that the garment is washer safe.
- Separate knitwear from heavier, rougher fabrics. Try to keep jumpers separated from garments like denim so you can avoid any damage to the fabric during the wash.
- Turn the garment inside out before washing. To prevent pilling, turn the jumper inside out, also button up all buttons and close the zips before washing.
- Dry on the lowest setting possible or lay flat to air dry. If your jumper is dryer safe, then use the lowest heat setting possible, and do not use the air-dry setting as this causes too much friction. However, it’s best to lay the garment flat to air dry. Don’t hang wool or knitted garments to dry, as this can cause the fibres to stretch.
How to Wash Cotton Jumpers
Cotton is the easiest material to wash, so cotton jumpers can be added to your regular wash load and even be hung out to dry as normal. Cotton also comes with the benefit that it is less likely to shrink in the wash and you’ll also find it easier to remove stains from the fabric. If you’re not sure how to wash your cotton jumper, here’s our cheat sheet to help:
- Temperature: It can be washed on temperatures higher than 40°C – although we don’t recommend going any higher than 60°C – and always check the fabric care label before choosing a temperature.
- Cycle: If you have a cotton cycle on your washing machine, use that, as this setting is suitable for all cotton garments.
- Detergent: Use Ariel All-in-1 PODS, as they have everything you need for clean, bright and fresh-smelling clothes in a tiny, but powerful capsule.
- Use fabric softener: Add Lenor Fabric Conditioner, which helps prevent stretching and fading, so your jumpers will stay looking newer for longer.
How to Wash Wool Jumpers
Wool jumpers are more delicate than durable materials like cotton, so it’s important you wash it on the right setting in the machine or even wash by hand. See our tips on how to wash wool jumpers while protecting the fabric:
- Temperature: Always wash wool at 30°C. You risk shrinking the garment if you wash it on a higher temperature.
- Cycle: Use the gentle or wool cycle in the machine, but if you want to play it safe, then wash by hand.
- Detergent: Use a gentle laundry detergent, so you don’t damage the material. Avoid using powder detergents, as powder can cause more abrasion to the fabric.
- Use fabric softener: Add Lenor Fabric Conditioner to help protect the jumper from damage during the wash.
If you’re wondering how to dry a wool jumper, follow our tips as given above: air-dry the jumper by laying it flat to avoid damaging the fibres.
How to Remove Stains from a Jumper
Just like any item of clothing you own, your jumper can also get stained. But if you notice that anything has splashed onto your knitwear, have no fear, you can get those stains out of your jumper in no time with these steps:
- Step 1: Remove the excess stain. Start by blotting the stain with a brush, fork, or napkin, but don’t rub, as this will only make it worse as it’ll spread the stain deeper into the fabric.
- Step 2: Soak: To keep stains from setting in, make sure to soak your clothing item in cold water (especially if it’s a blood stain!) as soon as possible. When it comes to removing stains, it’s usually best to use cold water and a high-quality detergent like Ariel All-in-1 PODS if you're not sure about the stain type. However, for harder-to-remove greasy stains, you'll want to use warm or hot water.
- Step 3: Wash with a high quality detergent. Place a high-quality detergent like Ariel All-in-1 PODS at the bottom of the drum and add your jumpers. If you’re not sure about the stain type use cold water. However for harder-to-remove greasy stains you’ll want to use warm or hot water. Still unsure? We’ve got a comprehensive stain removal guide covering more than 70 type of stains here!
How Often Should You Wash a Jumper
Since your knitwear is quite delicate, you may be worried about washing it too much, but you also don’t want to put on a jumper that smells. You may ask yourself “how often should you wash a jumper?”
The good news is you don’t have to wash your jumpers each time you wear them, especially if they don’t get stained. However, a good rule of thumb is not to wear the jumper more than five times in a row.
If you are wondering whether you need to wash your jumper, perhaps you should ask yourself these questions:
- How long did you wear it? Did you only wear the jumper for a couple of hours or a whole day? If you only wore the jumper for a short time, it probably won’t need washing yet.
- Did you sweat while wearing it? Sweat can cause malodour, so if you’ve sweated into any garment, you’ll want to wash it immediately.
- What type of material is your jumper made from? Materials like wool or cotton stay fresher for longer than a material like cashmere.
- Is it stained or dirty? If you’ve poured coffee all down the front, you won’t want just to put the jumper back into the wardrobe. Treat the stain straight away and put it in the wash.
How to Unshrink a Jumper
You’ve heard the urban legends: You put a jumper in the washing machine, and it shrinks to something only a doll can wear. Maybe the shrinkage is not that extreme, but sometimes little disasters can happen, especially when you tumble dry your jumpers. But before you panic, you can follow these steps to save your shrunken jumper:
- Stretch while wet. When the jumper is still damp, lay it out on a towel on the floor or worktop and start stretching the jumper from the bottom upwards.
- Pull at the hems. Once you’ve done the above, pull the jumper gently along the hemline, at the sides and around the shoulder area to expand the knit and encourage the jumper to stretch out again.
It’s unlikely you’ll be able to get the jumper exactly to its former size, but you can still save the jumper and undo most of the damage if you take your time.
It’s easy to keep your jumper looking clean and new with a little care, even if you need to machine wash it. Using a cooler temperature and gentle wash cycles can help keep your jumpers healthy and happy, and even if it shrinks, you can still rescue it. If you’re worried about pilling, then read our bobble prevention guide to learn more about protecting your jumper. Or if you have any other unanswered laundry questions, then check out our laundry guide.