What Types of Sweaters Can’t Go in the Washing Machine? Learn How to Clean Them

With winter in full swing, most people are bundling up in sweaters. Even if you wear tops under your sweaters, you still need them cleaned regularly. But perhaps you are wondering if you can throw sweaters in the washing machine or include them in your wash and fold laundry batches. If you are unsure about how to clean your sweaters, you may find it a better idea to search for a “wash and fold laundry service near me.” After all, you may need it dry cleaned or hand-washed.

Discover when you need a local laundry service to clean your sweater and how to clean it yourself.

How Often to Clean Your Sweater

There isn’t a hard and fast rule about how frequently you need your sweater cleaned, whether using a laundry drop-off service or by washing it yourself. It will depend on how dirty your sweater gets. Generally speaking, you should be able to wear it two to five times between washes. But if it gets dirty or stained, you can clean it more frequently as needed.

If your sweater is made from synthetic materials, wool, or other thicker materials, you can likely get away with even less frequent washings.

How to Tell If Your Sweater Is Machine Washable

As a general rule of thumb, sweaters made from cashmere, wool, and a handful of other fragile materials won’t be machine washable. Still, the absolute best way to check if you can include the sweater with other wash and fold laundry is to read the tag, which will specify washing instructions.

How to Hand-wash a Sweater

If your sweater’s tag instructs you to hand-wash it, you can have it cleaned by your laundry delivery service. Just make sure to separate it from wash and fold laundry items and include it in your dry cleaning batch.

You may opt to hand-wash your sweater yourself.

Always Pretreat Stains

Before anything else, pretreat any stains on your sweater. Dab a bit of stain remover onto the stain, don’t scrub, and don’t use a brush. Use a soft cloth to clean out the stain gently. Be sure to rinse off the stain remover before you clean the rest of the sweater.

Fill Your Sink with Water and Detergent

Once you have pretreated any stains, go ahead and fill a clean sink or washing tub with cold water, never hot water. Add a small quantity of gentle detergent. Adding too much can make it hard to remove all the suds, leading to a scratchy, stiff feeling.

Gently Clean and Soak the Sweater

Wearing rubber gloves, place your sweater in the soapy water, gently squeezing it repeatedly. Don’t scrub or wring the sweater, as this could lead to pilling or stretching.

Let your sweater soak for five minutes.

Rinse the Sweater

Once your sweater is cleaned, you can dump out the soapy water and refill the basin with clean water for rinsing. Rinse out all the suds and dump out soapy water as many times as it takes. You want clear water to come out of your sweater.

Gently Squeeze Water Out

Now, you can start gently removing water from the sweater. Instead of wringing your sweater, gently press it, supporting the material to avoid stretching.

Put your sweater on a clean, absorbent towel. Roll the sweater and towel together firmly.

Grab another towel big enough for your sweater to be stretched out. Place the sweater on the towel and reshape it. This includes pushing together ribbing by the waist, wrists, and neckline.

Let your sweater dry for about 24 hours. Grab another dry towel, place the other side of the sweater down on it, and repeat the process, including reshaping and drying for 24 hours.

How to Machine Wash a Sweater

What if you’re in luck and your sweater says it is machine washable? Your easiest option is to bring it to a wash and fold service nearest you. But you can also wash it in your washing machine if your sweater fits inside.

Be Mindful of What You Wash It With, and Use a Mesh Bag

Before you put your sweater in the washing machine, consider the other items you will be washing. Don’t wash sweaters with towels, jeans, or other bulky items. Also, consider putting it inside a mesh laundry bag. Doing these best practices will prevent agitation or friction from damaging the sweater.

Pretreat Stains

As with hand washing sweaters, pretreat stains before cleaning the entire item. This prevents the stains from spreading and further damaging the sweater.

Set the Machine Properly

When setting up your washing machine, always use cold water. Remember that hot water can shrink sweaters and warm water may cause fraying on certain materials.

Opt for either a permanent press or gentle cycle for knit sweaters. For top-loading machines, let the cycle start. Let the basin fill with water, add some detergent, and then add the sweater. For front-loading machines, add the detergent and sweater, and then start the cycle.

Don’t Use the Spin Cycle

Even if your sweater says it is machine washable and safe for laundry wash and fold near me, it’s best to avoid the spin cycle. The movement of the cycle can pull thread or yarn in the sweater. It can also distort the shape of the sweater.

Dry Like You Would for a Hand-washed Sweater

Instead of putting your sweater in the dryer, follow the instructions for drying it after hand-washing. This dries your sweater appropriately without damaging it.

How to Dry Clean Sweaters

What if your sweater says, “dry clean only?” In this case, book your local dry cleaning service to do the washing for you.

Have Professionals Clean Your Sweaters

Whether your sweaters are safe to go in the machine, need to be dry cleaned, or are suitable for hand-washing, your sweater will be in good hands with a local laundry and dry cleaning service. After all, professional laundry services know what it takes to clean your laundry and ensure your clothes are in good condition.