Looking after your knitwear

Bored of bobbles? Made miserable by moths? Woolly jumpers and cardigans are probably the most comforting items in your autumn wardrobe, but they can also be the highest maintenance. We’ve asked a knitwear expert, along with some of our favourite fashion bloggers, to answer some of your most-asked woolly woes.

How do I stop my jumpers and cardigans from developing bobbles?

Our knitwear expert says: “Knitwear bobbles are caused by fibres rubbing together – it’s called pilling, and it’s particularly irritating as it’s most likely to occur on the garments you wear, and love, the most. That’s because washing and drying your knitwear is one of the biggest causes of bobbles.

What can you do to prevent pilling? Wash your knitwear as little, and as gently, as possible. In an ideal world, all woollens would be hand-washed, but not everyone has time to stand over a sink full of sweaters. If you machine wash, turn your jumpers inside out first, and avoid the tumble dryer altogether, and use liquid rather than powder detergent.”

Blogger Leah says: “Wash your knits in a lingerie bag or pillow case to avoid getting threads caught on other garments’ zips or button.”

Everything you need to know about knitwear


My jumpers already have bobbles sadly, how do I get rid of them?

Our knitwear expert says: “To get rid of existing bobbles, gently run a new disposable razor over a jumper that’s lying flat on a table – just avoid women’s razors that come with moisturising strips. You can also try pulling up bobbles with a Velcro hair roller or a piece of Velcro itself.”

Blogger Colours And Carousels agrees, saying: “You can get specific de-bobbling devices but, to be honest, disposable razors work as effectively,” while Blogger Fox and Feather reckons that “investing in a bobble shaver will keep your knits looking brand new!”

Blogger Country Mouse Claire claims she “swears by my little de-bobbling gadget for keeping much loved jumpers and cardigans looking smart.”

Everything you need to know about knitwear

My most expensive jumpers, the wool ones, are being destroyed by moths. How can I stop them eating my favourite clothes?!

Our knitwear expert says: “To eradicate moths altogether, you need to clean out every cupboard and drawer with a vacuum and an insecticide, hoover and treat all woollen rugs, and really blitz the house from top to bottom, as the moth larvae can be found in cracks in wood, little gaps in wardrobes, and secreted in fabric folds. All clothes will need to be not only washed (this does not kill moth larvae) but frozen overnight too. If you can’t face this mammoth task, still take all knits and freeze them overnight, then wash them.

Most importantly, always clean food marks and spillages from knits directly after wearing. You may notice that moth holes appear on the front of jumpers and on the cuffs, and this is because they’re actually eating the food residues on the wool. Finally, store cherished knits in airtight containers during the summer – these are cheap to find online and in pound shops.”

Everything you need to know about knitwear


I’ve shrunk my favourite jumper… Can anything be done?

Our knitwear expert says: “Wash your woolly jumpers at too high a temperature (anything above 30 degrees) and you risk permanently ruining them. But if you’ve unintentionally sized down your sweater, it is worth trying this technique: Hand wash your shrunken knit with lukewarm water and mild hair conditioner or a special wool detergent. Gently soak it for ten minutes, then, without rinsing, gently squeeze out the water. Now lay your knit over a towel on a flat surface, and roll the towel up to absorb more water. Finally, lay the knit on a new dry towel and manually stretch out the fabric while it’s still damp. Dry flat, and keep your fingers crossed.”

Blogger Fizzy Peaches says: “Always pay attention to care labels – washing and drying your knitwear properly is vital to keeping it at its best. You don’t want to end up with a jumper fit for a teddy bear after just one wash.” Blogger Stephanie Dreams agrees, sayingIt may be an obvious one, but one I always forget to read the label!”

 Everything you need to know about knitwear


My knitwear always seems to sag after washing – how do I keep its shape for longer?

Blogger Alice Megan says: “Use the right detergent for your knits, check the labels and go for knit specific or the mildest one you can find on the shortest cycle your washing machine runs. Many soap powders are too harsh for knitwear and will leave them itchy and unwearable.”

Blogger Miss West End Girl says: “One of the best things you can do to keep your knits in tip-top condition is to store them correctly. Keeping jumpers and cardigans neatly folded and in drawers will help keep their shape for longer.

Blogger Loved By Laura says: “Yarn moves and stretches out of shape easily so try and avoid putting your pieces on hangers if you can. I keep mine folded in drawers, and if they’re prone to creasing I lay them out flat, place a cut open bin bag on top to make a plastic sheet and then fold my knitwear around it.”

Blogger Mini Adventures says: “If you have to hang up your knits, put them on a padded hanger to help them keep their shape for longer.”

Blogger Becky Bedbug says: “Knits look much more glamorous than plastic or metal hangers and you can get fancy scented ones to keep your knits smelling sweet!”

Blogger Lived with Love says: “Keep knitwear out of direct sunlight when drying, and if washing in the summer, hang them on the line inside out so the colours don’t fade!”

If you’re looking to stock up your knitwear collection in time for autumn, check out our selection of jumpers and cardigans.