How to Have a Happy Sweater

Sweater Weather is Near! Here's Exactly How to Wash Your Cozy Knit

Tried and true tips to avoid pilling, pulling and fuzzies on your fave knit during sweater season.

By Heather Dunhill October 27, 2016

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Sweater by Parisian brand Mes Demoiselles, available at Bohemian Bliss ($265).

November is only days away. And, if you’re like me,  this is the time of year I begin to look forward to sweater weather. That is, until it means facing the daunting task of caring for delicate fabrics, which, frankly, intimidates me.

So, I opted to arm myself with information before donning that cashmere sweater I’ve been eyeing at a fave downtown boutique. First things first: Now I know to check the weave of the fabric before I buy. The looser the weave, the more prone the fabric will be to pilling. Mixing fabric types can cause that, as well as premature wear. 

Then…there’s the care. Below is what I learned; however, I’d love to hear your tried and true tips and tricks, so please comment and let me know.

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Autumn Cashmere sweater, available at L.Boutique ($398).   


  • Button all buttons and zip up any zippers. Then turn the garment inside out or toss in a mesh lingerie bag. During the washing cycle this avoids fabric agitation (no one wants an angry sweater!), which causes the fabric to rub together during prime pilling time.
  • Wash on gentle cycle.
  •  Avoid washing sweaters with powder detergents that tend to be abrasive. And always wash alone or with like-minded soft, happy garments. Heavier weighted fabrics take us back to Angry Sweater.
  •  Use a fabric conditioner like Downy, which lubricates the fibers during the wash. This reduces friction, which also helps reduce pilling, stretching and fading. This = Happy Sweater.
  • After this election season, even our sweaters are over the spin. So, avoid the spin cycle as well as wringing out your sweaters, which can their ruin shape. Instead, grab a clean towel that won’t bleed color or pull color from your garment. Lay the sweater flat on the towel and then roll it into the towel to gently remove excess moisture.
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Hand-stitched lace-up merino sweater available at Rue ($215). 


  • Tumble dry? Whoa. Not. So. Fast.--even if the care label says it’s OK to tumble dry, consider draping the sweater over a drying rack or lying it flat to dry instead. The tumbling action causes garments to rub together…and you know what that means. 

With these simple instructions, we can keep all of our cozy sweaters soft and protected from pilling and fuzz. Not to mention they’ll stay looking fresh and new for a longer Happy Sweater life.

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