Tuesday, September 13, 2016

How to Wash Hand Knitted garments

Wishy Washy

How do you wash your hand knitted garment?

I spend many hours of knitting on a project and want to preserve it's shape and drape. After carefully picking out the fiber, colors, the pattern I want to keep it as new looking as possible for the longest time. Many trial and error hours spent, I have found this guideline to work the best for me.

It may work for you:
  • Hand Wash Do NOT throw in the washing machine!
  • Some fibers are more sensitive than others. Use common sense. 
  • Cool water, not too cold and not scalding hot. It needs to be gently warm. Not shocking the fiber or your hands. 
  • Fill the wash tub with water first, Do NOT run the water on top of the garment.
  • Add mild Soap ie. shampoo, mild dish detergent like Dawn. If it works well for your skin it will work well for your fiber. Wool and hair are related! Swish around so the soap is dissolved in the water. 
  • Add the garment and gently make sure it is covered with water. Squeeze and get it all wet evenly.
  • Let it soak for a little while, I sometimes leave it for an hour or better. 
  • Do not agitate, gently squeeze. Give it a massage and gentle massage. 
  • Rinse well, soap residue is attracts both bugs and dirt.
  • If you have scratchy wool use hair conditioner to soften the fibers. This sometimes works on synthetics also. 
  • Do NOT wring use clean dry towels to get moisture out. Hand squeeze gently and place in towel and roll gently. You may need to use more than one towel. 

I use Pantene on my hair so it's handy smells nice and it works.

When storing hand knit delicate fibers we do not want bugs or critters anywhere near. Air them out once in a while and before storing make sure the garment is clean. Keep it dry and airy place, plastic bags are not recommended. 

What to do if you accidentally "felted" or "shrunk" your garment? One solution is to make something else out of it. But first try one of these methods which may work. What do you have to loose? Warning you will never be able to get it back to the shape it was originally. At least I never have but give it a try.

  • Soak the garment in a solution of cold water and hair conditioner. Let it soak overnight. Check once in a while and try and gently pull and "stretch" the fabric.
If that does not do the trick. 
  • Soak the garment in a solution of cold water and a half a cup of vinegar.
It that does not work here is the most extreme method. I've never tried this but have heard that this may work.
  • Make a solution of one part vinegar and two parts water. Put the garment in a large pot and gently boil for 10-20 minutes and check how it's progressing 
Good Luck. 


Ellen Bloom said...

Everything sounds delicious! Hahahaha!
Thanks for the tips, Ana.

June Solnit Sale and Laurie Sale said...

Thanks...always great advice.

June Solnit Sale and Laurie Sale said...

Great advice from a Master!!!!!