How to Wash Knitted Clothes

Have you ever had the experience of putting on a knitted sweater only to find that it was scratchy, stiff, and simply not enjoyable to wear? If this is an issue you’ve experienced with your knits in the past then chances are you need to improve upon your laundry methods.Washing knit garments carefully can make them more comfortable and help extend their life.

How to Wash Knitted Clothes

Knitted clothes are often made from delicate materials that require special care regarding laundering. Unlike other fabrics, knits can easily become misshapen and shrink in the wash if you’re not careful.

In this blog post, we will give you our best tips for how to wash knitted clothes so that all of your favorite sweaters remain as soft and cozy as when they were first purchased! Keep reading to learn how thoughtful laundering practices can keep your favorite items looking great.

What Will You Need?

Before we break down the different ways to wash knitted clothes, let’s start by reviewing the supplies you will need. These are some essential items for keeping your knit garments in top condition:

  • Mesh laundry bag: helps prevent snags and tears
  • Gentle detergent: harsh chemicals can damage delicate fibers
  • Fabric softener: makes knits softer and more comfortable to wear
  • Towels: for drying and reshaping the garment
  • Flat surface: to lay the wet garments on (a clean towel also works)

Once you have these items, you’re ready to start washing your knits!

10 Easy Steps on How to Wash Knitted Clothes

Step 1. Sort Your Clothes:

Start by separating your knitted clothes from other types of fabric. This is crucial as knitted clothes require a gentler washing cycle, and mixing them with other garments might result in them getting damaged. Also, sort the knitted clothes by color to avoid any color bleeding issues.

Step 2. Prep Your Clothes:

Inspect Your Knitted Clothes

Before you begin washing, inspect your knitted clothes for any stains or spots. If you find any, pre-treat them with a gentle stain remover, being careful not to rub or scrub as this can cause the knit to lose its shape. Also, if there are any loose buttons or threads, secure them or consider removing the button and resewing it after the wash to prevent it from becoming further loose or lost.

Step 3. Load the Washing Machine:

Load your sorted, prepped, knitted clothes into the mesh laundry bags to protect them during the wash. Then, place the bags into the washing machine. If you’re washing multiple items, make sure not to overload the machine, as this can cause the clothes to rub against each other and potentially damage the knit.

Step 4. Choose the Right Settings:

Next, set your washing machine to the gentle or delicate cycle. This setting uses less agitation and thus reduces the risk of damaging your knits. The water temperature should be cold or lukewarm, as hot water can cause the fibers to shrink. Also, opt for a slower spin speed, if available.

Step 5. Add Laundry Products:

Pour a gentle detergent into the dispenser. Avoid using bleach or any harsh cleansers, as they can damage the fibers and colors of your knitted clothes. If you wish, add fabric softener to make your knits softer and more comfortable. However, be cautious not to overuse it, as too much softener can leave residue on your clothes.

Step 6. Start the Wash Cycle:

Once everything is set, start the washing cycle. Avoid leaving your knitted clothes in the washing machine for too long after the cycle ends, as this can lead to creases or wrinkles. Remove them promptly once the cycle is completed.

Step 7. Dry Your Knitted Clothes:

Knitted clothing should almost always be air-dried to maintain shape and prevent shrinking. Do not wring out the water, as this can distort the garment. Instead, gently squeeze out excess water, then lay the garment flat on a clean towel.

Roll the towel with the garment inside, pressing gently to absorb more water. Unroll the towel, reshape the garment if necessary, and leave it to air dry. Avoid direct sunlight or heat, which can shrink or fade the garment.

Step 8. Reshape Your Garment:

Once your knitted clothing is slightly damp, you may need to reshape it gently. Carefully stretch the garment out to its original dimensions. Pay particular attention to areas like the sleeves and collar, which can become distorted. Then, leave it to finish drying completely.

Step 9. Store Your Knitted Clothes Properly:

 Lead to Stretching and Distortion

Proper storage is an important aspect of maintaining the longevity of your knitted garments. Avoid hanging knitted clothes, as it can lead to stretching and distortion. Instead, folding them and storing them in a cool, dry place is best. Moth-prevention products can be used to protect your clothes from damage.

Step 10. Regularly Check for Damage:

Finally, regularly inspect your knitted clothes for any signs of wear and tear. Repair any loose threads or small holes immediately to prevent further damage. With proper care, your knitted clothes will remain cozy and comfortable for years.

By following these ten steps, you can ensure that your knitted clothes receive the care they deserve. With extra attention and proper washing techniques, you can keep your favorite knit garments looking great and feeling soft for many seasons.

5 Additional Tips and Tricks

  1. Always Check the Garment’s Care Instructions: Manufacturers often include specific instructions for washing and maintaining their products. Following these guidelines can help prolong the life of your knitted clothes.
  2. Use Cold Water: Cold water is typically gentler on knitted fabrics. Warm or hot water can cause shrinking or stretching, which can ruin the fit and look of your clothes.
  3. Avoid the Dryer: Heat is a sworn enemy of knitted items. Always let your knitted clothes air dry to maintain their shape and prevent damage or shrinkage.
  4. Wash Similar Colors Together: While this is a general rule for all laundry, it’s crucial for knitted items. This prevents any color bleeding that could ruin your clothes’ look.
  5. Use a Gentle Detergent: Some detergents are too harsh for delicate fabrics like knitted ones. Opt for a gentle detergent to maintain the color, softness, and overall quality of your clothes.

With these additional tips and tricks, you can ensure that your knitted clothes stay in top shape for years to come.

6 Things You Should Avoid

Overwashing Can Cause the Fabric to Lose
  1. Avoid Using Bleach: Bleach can significantly damage the fibers of your knitted clothes, leading to discoloration and deterioration over time. Always opt for bleach-free detergents.
  2. Avoid Wringing Out Your Clothes: Wring out your knitted items can cause them to lose shape. Instead, gently squeeze out excess water without twisting or wringing.
  3. Avoid Washing Too Frequently: Knitted items don’t need to be washed after every wear. Overwashing can cause the fabric to lose its softness and shape faster.
  4. Avoid Brushing or Scrubbing: These actions can cause pilling and damage the texture of your knitted clothes. If there are stains, dab them gently with a cloth soaked in soapy water.
  5. Avoid Drying in Direct Sunlight: Although air drying is recommended, avoid placing your knitted items under direct sunlight, as it can cause colors to fade. Instead, dry them in a shaded, well-ventilated area.
  6. Avoid Fabric Softeners: Fabric softeners can leave a residue on knitted fabrics, making them feel stiff and uncomfortable. Opt for natural alternatives like vinegar or baking soda to soften your clothes.

By Avoiding these common mistakes, you can ensure that your knitted clothes stay in excellent condition and last for a long time.

How Often Should You Wash Knitwear?

Wool and Cashmere Knitwear

As mentioned, over-washing can damage your knitted clothes. So, how often should you wash them? The answer depends on several factors, such as frequency of wear, fabric type, and climate.

  • Generally, knitwear worn close to the skin, like sweaters or socks, should be washed more frequently than outerwear items like cardigans or scarves.
  • Wool and cashmere knitwear should be washed every 2-3 wears, while cotton or acrylic knits can go longer between washes.
  • If you live in a hot and humid climate, you may need to wash your knitted items more often due to sweat build-up. In comparison, those living in colder climates can stretch the time between washes.

It’s important to pay attention to any odors or stains and wash your knitted items as needed. By following these guidelines, you can maintain the cleanliness and condition of your knitted clothes without damaging them.


All in all, washing your knitted garments the right way will ensure that they stay beautiful and last you a long time. Take the time to read the instructions on properly cleaning them and take special consideration when dealing with natural fibers.

With lots of patience, love, and attention to detail – you can be sure your clothes will always look their best. But remember: if ever in doubt, don’t hesitate to seek professional help with expensive fabrics or unusual materials.

Hopefully, the article on how to wash knitted clothes has provided you with all the essential information and tips you need to keep your knits looking great.

With a little bit of extra care taken, you’ll be enjoying every single one of those items for months and years to come! Now, go off and enjoy your knitted garments without fear or worry!

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Jennifer Branett

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