How to keep your spring knits cosy and bright
Though many of us associate knitwear with the colder months, spring knits are the perfect transitional piece amidst fickle weather. From sunny spells to sudden showers - and sometimes even snow or hail - you can’t go wrong with a classic yet chic knit (we’re in love with Cinta The Label’s whimsical yet practical collection). But how to keep your spring knits in full bloom, season after season and year after year? It’s a breeze if you know how.
Image source: @monikh, Riley Studio
Check the label
Before you reach for the detergent, check the label that comes with your garment, and pay attention to both the care instructions and the fabric content. For mixtures of fabrics, follow the instructions for the more delicate fabric, rather than for the fabric in the majority (for example, wool and silk are delicate fibres, and should always be treated as such).
Sort and separate
To reduce the risk of both colour bleeding and fading, always sort and separate by colour (darks with darks, whites with whites, colours with colours). If you’ve got knits containing more than one colour, sort each item based on the colour in the majority. This is likely to be the case with patterned items, such as stripes, florals and plaids. For items with an even balance of colours, sort according to the strongest colour in the mix.
Test for colour fastness
Test whether vibrant-coloured knits will bleed when washed by washing them alone by hand. If it does happen, don’t worry - it’s simply the yarn dyes releasing a little colour, and won’t have a noticeable effect on the colour of your garment once you’ve finished washing.
Pre-treat stains/discoloured areas
Image source: Cinta the Label, @jessiebush
To pre-treat stains or discoloured areas, dilute some detergent in cool water, work it into the stain using a clean, wet cloth, then dab away the residue with another cloth. Be sure to use a gentle, protective detergent, such as Kair’s Wool, Silk & Delicates Wash, free from harsh, fabric-degrading ingredients like bleaching agents and optical brighteners, as well as enzymes (including proteases - one of the key enzymes found in mainstream biological detergents, which if exposed to natural protein fibres such as wool or silk can cause irreversible damage (they’re also known allergens, and so can irritate sensitive skin).
Machine or hand wash
Though some labels might stipulate hand washing garments to protect the seams or other sewn embellishments like sequins and beading, most fabrics, including wool and other natural fibres, can be safely machine-washed. The advice isn’t for the sake of the fabric, but for the delicate embellishments (see our post on wool myths and truths).
What’s important when machine-washing is the type of detergent and wash cycle. To protect against colour run and preserve fabric integrity, simply use our gentle, protective Wool, Silk & Delicates Wash, and stick to a cool wash (> 30°C) on a gentle hand wash or delicates cycle, with a low spin, and use a mesh laundry bag to prevent snagging. If you’re hand washing, fill a basin with cool water, add your knit, give it a gentle stir, and let it sit for a few minutes. Rinse in another bowl of clean, cool water, then lift out to dry.
Dry flat and refresh
Take your knit out of the drum immediately after washing to reduce wrinkling, and gently press or squeeze the water out. Never wring - this can damage the delicate fibres and alter their shape. For a similar reason, avoid tumble dryers - as well as direct heat sources like sunlight or radiators - at all costs, as these can shrink the fibres. Finish with a spritz of scent-boosting finishing spray to revitalise your knit and release lingering creases.
Image source: @chey_maya, Kitri
Fold rather than hang
Take care when storing your knits (including cardigans). If you hang them, the shoulders will likely become misshapen. Instead, carefully fold away your pieces and store them in a dresser or on a wardrobe shelf. For longer-term storage, pop them in an airtight container (though be sure to avoid cardboard, which moths love and will happily munch through).
Now you know how to wash and care for your spring knits, so your favourite seasonal pieces can stay cosy and bright all throughout the year - and beyond!
Cover Image: Jonathan Daniel Pryce