We gave pen & paper to the amazing Arkivé Atelier - an inspiring platform for clothing care.
Read their tips for getting the best out of your favorite knits :
Fine woollens like cashmere, merino and alpaca knits have the magical tendency to become garments we want to wear everyday. A fine woollen sweater is often the choice for days when we want to feel the most comfortable yet still sleek – as we do almost everyday. As these warm and soft pieces are in regular use, they will need some extra care from us to remain beautiful and fresh.
Pilling is a natural characteristic of all woollens and does not always imply poor quality. It’s true that pilling will occur more on bad quality woollens, but they still manage to appear on the most high quality woollens too and even more on hairy fibres like cashmere. Pilling will decrease after a while when most of the loose fibres have loosened. Pilling also tends to appear less on worsted woollens than on carded woollens.
Pilling occurs from wearing and is caused by friction. When fibres loosen, they form little balls on the top of the fabric together with dust. The best and the most gentle way to remove pilling is to use good quality wool comb. Wool combs will remove the balls gently whilst battery-powered shavers will cut the balls and may cause holes if not used with extra care.
1. Airing and storage between uses
Air your knit after every use if possible. Hanging next to an open window will do the trick as well. This is to keep the knit fresh and avoid washing as long as possible. Steaming will also help to eliminate smells and bacteria. Let the knit breath on a hanger or on a chair arm after every use. Fold no later than the following day to avoid stretching.
2. Brush Gently every now and then - use wool comb sparingly
It is a good routine to brush through your knit every once in a while. This will help to remove loosen fibres and reduce pilling. Brushing is a gentle daily way of making your knit look fresh. Because a wool comb always eats the knit slightly, it is better to use the brush on a daily basis and the comb more sparingly. A wool comb is not for everyday use!
3. Do not wear the same knit every day
Try to keep at least one day in between the wears to let the knit revert from the wear and stretching. This keeps the knit in a straight condition.
4. Clean the stains as soon as possible
A small piece of Marseille soap or gall soap kept in a small box or pouch in your bag will help you to clean the spills not only from your own clothes but also your friends’! Quick action is the most important thing to get rid of stains.
Before & After - Comb your knit sparingly, once or twice a year.
Care and storage
Remove pills from the knit before washing for best results. Place the knit evenly on
a plain pillow or on an even surface. A pillow placed on the lap is usually the easiest
pilling position. Hold the knit firmly with your one hand and glide the comb in the direction of the knit with the other. Apply pressure gradually until the fibre balls starts to loosen. Cashmere usually tends to need a bit more pressure as the surface is more hairy. Finish by brushing through the knit with a smooth clothes brush to remove the remaining loose
Wash by hand or in a laundry bag in a washing machine. See washing instructions below. Finish by brushing and steaming the knit. Let it dry before storage.
The most important thing to remember when storing your knits is to ensure that the knit is thoroughly clean. This is to prevent mould, moths and other pests occurring – and also to prevent stains and dirt settling.
Always store your knits folded to prevent stretching and distorting. Silk paper in-between the folds will help to support the knit and also soak up any moisture. Place the knit in a breathable textile bag or pouch made of natural materials. The storage bag should be clean and free of starch as pests love starch!
Place the bag in a clean, dry and breathable place with a stable room temperature (preferably a bit chilly), for example on the top shelf of a wardrobe. Never store
knits (or any other garments) in a cellar or in the attic, the temperature and
moisture tend to vary in these places which can cause moisture and mould. Ensure also that the storage place is clean. Use lavender pouches or cedar wood blocks to bolster protection from pests and prevent bad odours.
Note: If there develops a pest problem in your house or if the knit is going to be
stored for a really long time, place the knit in an airtight bag or box. Always ensure that the knits are clean and thoroughly dry when stored airtight!
Washing - Machine & Hand Wash
All the washable woollens (woollens which don ́ t have the sign/instruction to not to wash with water) can be washed by hand or in a washing machine on a wool program – preferably in a washing bag.
1. Pre-treat the stains
Always remove the stains before washing to avoid the stains sticking to the fibres. Washing will actually help the stains stick if not treated before washing!
2. Select the right cycle and spin
Select the woollens or hand wash cycle and make sure the water temperature is cold and spin is on the lowest setting.
3. Always use laundry bag
Turn the knit inside out and always use laundry bag to minimise the wear during washing.
4. Use wool detergent
Preferably a natural and biodegradable choice. For example, Sonett Wool and Silk detergent is a great option. Self-made detergent from white Marseille soap is also a good choice and can be scented with your own preference!
Add Sonett Wool conditioner in the rinse water if your knit feels dry or in need of some extra care. This conditioner contains wools own grease (lanolin) which will help to revive and condition the knit.
5. Dry flat
Remove promptly from the washing machine, wrap the wet knit in a towel and press to remove excess moisture if needed. Shape gently and let dry on a flat rack. Avoid direct sunlight and heat sources.
Brush through the knit with soft clothes brush and steam.
1. Pre-treat the stains
Always remove the stains before washing to avoid the stains sticking to the fibres. Washing will help the stains to stick if not treated before washing!
2. Keep the same water temperature throughout the whole cleaning process
One of the most important things to remember with hand washing is to use cool water throughout the wash – from washing to rinsing. The variation in temperature can cause shrinkage and felting.
Use a biodegradable and natural liquid detergent for woollens, for example Sonett Wool and Silk detergent is a good choice. Self made detergent from white Marseille
soap is also a good choice and can be scented with your own preference. Let the detergent soak well in the water to avoid detergent stains!
3. Press, do not wring
Turn the knit inside out and soak in to the water. Press gently but do not wringe. Woollens usually clean up quite easily so a few minutes of gently pressing and soaking is enough.
4. Rinse well in cool water
Rinse the item through with cool water until the water is no longer soapy.
Remember to keep the same temperature in the water all the time. Press do not wring!
5. Dry flat
Press out most of the water. Wrap the wet knit in a towel and press to remove
excess moisture. Repeat with a dry towel if needed. Shape gently and let dry on a flat rack with a towel underneath. Avoid direct sunlight and heat sources.
Brush through the knit with a soft clothes brush and steam.