Taking care of knitted garments
Dear admirers of hand-knitted clothes! To be able to enjoy your favourite item of clothing longer and to preserve its beauty, you must take good care of it.
Here is what needs to be done:
Dust is a big destroyer of natural fibres. Knitted clothing must be kept in tightly closed chests and wardrobes and not on open shelves.
Stains can be as destructive as dust. They must be removed as quickly as possible. If they penetrate deeply into the yarn, they often become irremovable. Many stains can be removed with lukewarm water if treated immediately and properly: apply drops of water onto the stain or rinse the soiled part of the fabric without rubbing. You must not try to rinse stains from oil, colouring agents, paints, inks or lipstick. Such materials must be removed with solvents. Place a clean white cotton cloth on the stain at the front, and at the back rub out the soiled part with a swab soaked with the respective solvent for that particular type of stain. To soften an already dry stain, it must be treated with a solution of equal parts of glycerine and warm water and put aside for about an hour. Then rinse with lukewarm water and after that treat with a solvent.
Threads pulled out of the knitted garment must never be cut. If possible, they should be extended with a blunt needle or a thin hook. If that does not help, try pulling the thread from the underside using a crochet hook.
You must strictly follow the instructions for washing the knitted garments as described on the label. Knitted garments made of various threads should be washed according to the requirements for the most delicate type of thread in the yarn composition. Here are the meanings of some of the most popular symbols on the labels of clothes:
hand-washed only at a temperature of up to 40° C
can be laundered at the indicated maximum temperatures
this item of clothing can be bleached
can be steam ironed – please observe the temperature indications on the iron: one dot – low temperature, 2 dots – middle temperature, or 3 dots – high temperature
Knitted garments must be washed regularly but less intensively. Do not wash with an ordinary washing powder! For hand-knitted garments it is recommended to use special washing detergents for woollen and delicate fabrics. Usually such detergents are liquid, fragrant and mixed with softener and antistatic.
When hand-washing, first dissolve some washing detergent in lukewarm or cold water. The water must be enough so as to cover the clothing completely. Soak the garment but bear in mind that if soaked for too long the threads will become matted faster. Do not rub the knitted garment. Rinse several times until the water becomes clear. Rinse with water with the same temperature as the one used for washing the garment. At the last rinsing of silk and woollen clothes you can add a little vinegar. That freshens up the colour of the threads and helps remove any remnants of the washing detergent.
Avoid excessive wringing. Instead, place the garment on a clean towel, roll it up and leave for a few minutes so that the towel absorbs most of the moisture. Repeat if necessary.
Use a washing machine only when the label indicates that the garment can be laundered. Intensive laundering used in case of heavy soiling can do irreparable damage to the knitted garment.
Do not put knitted garments in the washing machine together with other types of clothing. Set the washing machine at a low temperature and at the setting for woollen fabrics. Spin dry can be used only at the lowest revolution settings or best avoided altogether.
Do not dry in dryer – the garment will probably shrink.
Knitwear must not be hung to dry so as not to extend.
The best drying method for knitted garments is placing them horizontally on a towel. When drying, the knitted garments must be stretched a little to take the right shape.
If possible, leave the garment outside avoiding direct sunlight. If drying indoors, it might dry slowly and the moisture can cause odour.
When the knitted garment has dried, remove any little down, hairs and fibres using a very soft brush.
The clothes must be completely dry before putting them in the wardrobe because otherwise they will have a stale damp odour. If moths are an issue, use only natural products against them, like lavender or cedar.
Iron from the backside by applying a thick cloth under the garment. Do not apply too much pressure with the iron – it must only be lowered and lifted gently. Steam can also be used for this process. Therefore, use either a steam iron by covering the knitted garment with a dry fabric, or an ordinary iron by applying a wet fabric. Do not apply steam to the elastic bands and the elastic knitwear.
This is a possibility but avoid opting for it very often. The chemicals used in dry-cleaning shorten the lifespan of knitted garments.