Sweater weather is one of our favorite seasons for all the coziness and style diversity it brings. As with any delicate garment, like cashmere and knitted pieces, sweaters require special care to last beyond the fall and winter seasons.
To keep our jerseys, pullovers and cardigans looking brand new, we consulted a few pros to get their tips for taking care of our sweaters. Along with their expertise, they also offered up over a dozen product suggestions ranging from hangers and storage bins to detergents and products that help get rid of those pesky sweater pills.
Best sweater hangers, according to experts
If you're lucky enough to have ample closet space to hang your sweaters, you'll want to take a few precautions to keep them looking their best. "I strongly recommend a padded hanger since it prevents shoulder creases and eliminates stress on the knit," fashion designer David Meister said.
This padded satin option looks gorgeous in closets and it's also quite practical since it's anti-slip and soft to the touch, so sweaters glide right on (no scratches or tears here!). It comes in two neutral hues, too, so you'll be sure to find at least one that suits your aesthetic.
Whenever they're hanging sweaters, Done & Done Home co-founders Kate Pawlowski and Ann Lightfoot love these slim, non-slip velvet hangers for lightweight styles. "They save room and are more gentle than wire or plastic hangers," Pawlowski explained.
- Fold the sweater in half vertically and line up the sleeves.
- Lay the sweater flat and put your hanger on top of the sweater "upside down" so the hook is between the body and the underarm of the sweater.
- Wrap the sleeves over the top of the hanger and hook through the bottom of hanger.
- Repeat with the body side of the sweater.
Sometimes, you need something a bit sturdier for heavier garments like coat-length sweaters, and wooden hangers are your best bet for these scenarios. "They take up more room but are far superior to hangers designed for lighter materials," Lightfoot explained.
The organizing expert digs these non-slip hangers that are lightweight yet strong. They can rotate 360° and have notches in just the right spot so your favorite sweaters will stay in place instead of falling to the floor.
If you have a short rack and don't like your long sweaters collecting dust from the floor, opt for this smart hanger. Cove is an innovative organizational tool that won't crease your sweaters and avoid unnecessary snags. This one is great if you have long cardigans and sweater dresses that need extra care.
Have a bunch of natural fiber sweaters? Adding a bit of cedar to your closet is a good idea. "It helps to prevent moths and other critters from destroying your well-loved items," Pawlowski said.
Meister echoed her sentiments and said he likes to use these cedar rings in his own closet. "Just slide one over the head of the hanger on all of your wool or cashmere garments and it really does help," he told us.
Best sweater storage products, according to experts
Whether you're short on closet space or simply prefer to fold your sweaters, there are plenty of products out there to help you get organized. Celebrity fashion stylist Jasmine Caccamo likes to fold chunky and oversized sweaters and neatly place them on shelves or in drawers.
The fashionista suggested storing your sweaters in this fabric box with a zipper closure. Thanks to the clear front panel, you can also see your clothes right away, which makes getting ready in the morning much easier!
"Not many people have room for all seasons in their closet, so I find the best way to store sweaters when not in use is by using fabric storage boxes like these," Caccamo said. "They're easily collapsible when not in use and allow for the sweater to take some shape while in the box."
The convenient storage option has a clear window in the front and an easy zip top. Each set comes with a small, medium and large size box, so you have plenty of options for storing your different sweaters.
You can always save space by going vertical and Pawlowski loves how stackable bins can double or triple the room you have to store your sweaters."You'll be shocked at all the extra room you have if you can go up with bins that will prevent your stacks of sweaters from tipping over," she said.
The organizing guru loves these storage boxes with two clear windows that let you see what's inside from wherever you're standing. They feature a sturdy stainless steel frame and are built to last, so they'll help you stay organized for many sweater seasons to come.
Prefer to store your sweaters on shelves? Lightfoot recommends using dividers. "They keep things organized and in place. Nobody likes a sweater avalanche when you're trying to get a sweater from the bottom of the stack," she said.
The organizing pro also noted another potential benefit of using bins and dividers. "They're both useful tools to keep you accountable from overbuying. If you have more sweaters than will fit in the space allowed, it's time to edit your collection and donate the ones that no longer fit," she said.
Looking for a sweater storage option that offers the best of both worlds? Adams suggests trying a hanging organizer like this affordable find from The Container Store. It features three compartments and can fit up to 12 sweaters, so it's definitely worth giving up the closet real estate.
The lightweight linen material also glides seamlessly against surrounding garments and the structure has a reinforced top panel and shelves to make sure it's nice and durable.
Best fabric shavers for sweaters, according to experts
We simply adore sweaters, but it's always a pain when we find one we love and it develops those pesky pills over time. Luckily, there are a few handy devices to help banish them, and Adams named this as one of her go-tos.
"I love its long handle and the three different edges for different types of fabrics and knits. They are easy to use and very affordable," she explained. The power and battery-free device gently removes fuzz, pills and pet hair from both clothing and furniture and works on fabrics of all types, making it a multitasking must-have, in our opinion.
Keeping on top of pilling can breathe new life into your favorite sweaters, and Pawlowski recommends trying this popular defuzzer with 2,400+ five-star ratings.
"This easy-to-use product will keep your sweaters looking brand new after just a few minutes of use," she told us. The powerful device is suitable for clothing and furniture and comes with a lifetime money back guarantee, so if it doesn't impress you, it's risk-free.
Sometimes, the simplest solutions are some of the most effective ones and this affordable option tops Adams' list of products that help keep sweaters in great shape. "It's a great way to remove pilling," she said.
The product has a pumice-like surface that lifts and trims pilling and works on all sorts of fabrics, ranging from cotton to wool.
Don't stress with pilling sweaters thanks to this comb made for all your cashmere piece. It will become easier to de-pill your fine knits and sweater pieces with this tool thanks to the fine metal mesh screens. You can use this on scarves, wool coats or pant legs to revive the look of the textile.
Best cleaning products for sweaters, according to experts
Sweaters are one of those fall wardrobe essentials that we're never quite sure how to clean, so we consulted the experts to get a few tips.
- Protect your sweaters while you wash them: "The best way to wash sweaters is to roll them up and put them inside a mesh bag. They should be really tight; if your bag is too big, either pin it with safety pins or put a rubber band around it. The sweater should be so tight that it cannot move inside the bag," Patric Richardson, cleaning expert and author of "Laundry Love: Finding Joy in a Common Chore," told us.
- Don't toss sweaters in the dryer: "Sweaters should always be air-dried. Lay them on a rack or, in a pinch, on a towel to dry. Gently reshape them as you lay them out, and, when they are dry, you are good to go," Richardson said.
- Wash, but don't over-wash, your sweaters: "They definitely need to be washed with some regularity. I'd say aim to wash your sweaters every four to five wears. Though if your sweater gets any dirt or food on it, you should wash it right away. The same goes if you sweat a lot or have been around cigarette smoke — I would wash those sweaters sooner rather than later," Adams said.
- Don't forget to be gentle: "If you can machine-wash your sweaters (according to the label), I would still wash them on the delicate, slow or hand-wash setting on your machine so it's gentle on the knit. Wash it by itself or with similar weight fabrics — avoid washing with jeans or differently colored items," Adams said.
- Skip the softener: "Do not use softeners as they can change the texture of the fabrics," Richardson advised.
When Adams is working on the set of a film or TV show, she tends to err on the side of caution and uses detergents that won't cause an allergic reaction while washing sweaters. "Sometimes the scents are just too strong for me and I prefer to use a product that is as gentle as possible on all fabrics without sacrificing the strain removing and cleaning power," she said, citing this effective Tide cleaner as one of her favorites.
Adams also loves this detergent that's formulated for sensitive skin and said the gentle formula is good for both your skin and the sweater itself. "You don't want to use anything too powerful on sweaters specifically as it could start destroying the delicate fibers," she explained.
It might be an extra step, but Adams prefers to hand wash her sweaters using a mild detergent like this one from Woolite. "Fill a bucket, small tub, a clean sink or even your bathtub with cool water. Add some mild detergent and swish it around," she instructed.
"Turn your sweater inside out and swish that around in the detergent water. Soak it for at least 10 minutes but no longer than 20 minutes. Rinse the sweater in cool water to get all the detergent out. Replace the water in your sink/tub with clean water and swish it around to make sure it's fully rinsed," she continued.
Do you wash sweaters after every use?
You don't need to wash a sweater after every use. According to style expert Amanda Sanders, you can eliminate any odor on the garment with a simple trick. "In between washes, you can freshen up cashmere or any sweater by putting it in a plastic bag in your freezer."
Also, she advised being careful with cashmere sweaters. "Cashmere should only be hand washed cold or dry clean. Never in a washing machine."