Sweater weather is here — and it’s not looking pretty. In fact, the arrival of the holidays means people everywhere are foregoing all fashion sense for the seasonal garment of choice: the ugly sweater. How beloved is this tradition? In the U.S., there’s even a day to celebrate it: National Ugly Sweater Day, which falls on the third Friday of December.
Admit it: you, too, have a — shall we say — extravagant sweater in your wardrobe perfect for that office holiday party or festive get-together with friends. Maybe it features the beaming nose of a stitched-on reindeer. Or the frosty face of a snow man. Or it’s covered with tinsel and bows — making you the gift that keeps on giving. And we say: embrace it! Why let fashion and good taste get in the way of a good-spirited laugh? Moreover, make sure to give your favorite ugly sweater a long life.
Using our eco-friendly detergent strips and following these simple tips, you can help ensure your garments look good and garish for years of holiday parties to come.
Caring for wool garments: why do you need extra care?
For sweaters, one material is preferred over others — wool, popular for its beauty, its softness and for the numerous advantages it offers. Indeed, of the many natural fibers that exist, wool is the most breathable and absorbent. It manages to retain heat effectively without causing perspiration. In addition, it is pleasant and light. But even though it is a durable material, we all know that it can easily run into washing accidents. But with a little care, you can prevent your sweaters from shrinking or becoming felted.
A 'self-cleaning' fiber
The pandemic may have made us clean freaks, but there’s no need to constantly wash your woolen sweaters, especially if you want to avoid ruining them. In fact, wool is considered a self-cleaning fiber.
How is this possible? The very structure of the fiber prevents dirt from clinging to it effectively. Moreover, it is covered with a protective layer of lanolin. This is a substance, secreted in nature by the glands of many animals, including sheep, which is designed to inhibit the proliferation of bacteria, molds, and fungi. It also prevents unpleasant odors from forming. This makes a good wool sweater a perfect ally for a warm, comfortable, and environmentally friendly winter. You can enjoy a nice warm feeling without having to do a lot of laundry.
Most of the time you can simply hang them up to air out before returning them to your wardrobe to wear again.
Caring for your sweater between washes
Well, now we know it’s not necessary to throw our sweater in the washing machine after every use. But still, it’s a good idea to give it some care and attention. Here’s how:
- Once you have taken the sweater out, shake it well to remove dust deposits and lint.
- Let it air out of the wardrobe; this will remove body moisture and erase most odors, especially mild ones.
- It is always a good idea, especially for more delicate fabrics, for the sweater to be laid out to air rather than hung up (this will prevent the fibers from warping); lay a dry towel on a flat surface and lay your sweater on it, making sure it is not directly exposed to the sun, which could discolor it.
- Remove the lint balls with special tools, taking care not to damage the fibers.
- Once the process is finished, carefully fold the sweater, and put it back in its place, perhaps together with a good, ecological, and natural moth repellent; do not store a wool sweater in plastic.
Wool sweaters: hand or machine washing?
When it comes to delicate fibers, washing by hand is always the safe way to go. Aside from being more eco-friendly, it helps save on energy costs. That said, there are also now safe machine-washing cycles — even for wool. Whichever method you choose, you should follow a few helpful guidelines:
- Use cold or cool water — never warmer than 90 F.
- Use our eco-friendly detergent strips, which dissolve easily in water, and provide a thorough clean while remaining gentle to the fabric. And because our formula is plant-based and free of toxins, it is both safe for the environment and your household.
- Also remember wool garments should be dried flat, so make sure you have enough space to lay them out.
How to wash wool sweaters by hand
If you have opted for hand washing, there are a few steps we recommend you follow:
- Use a suitably sized basin or tub; fill it with lukewarm water.
- Add SaltyLama’s eco-friendly strips for a deep clean that is also free of harsh chemicals.
- Take the sweater and turn it inside out.
- Immerse it in the water after the strips have dissolved and let it soak for a period of five to 10 minutes.
- Take it out and shake it gently, then rinse it in cold or lukewarm water; do not rub it or wring it out.
If you have wool garments of similar colors, you can soak more than one at the same time, saving water and soap. However, rinse them one at a time.
How to machine-wash wool sweaters
Machine washing is recommended if you have a lot of wool clothes to wash at the same time. The process will also be easier for you:
- Turn all the garments to be washed inside out.
- To prevent damage, place smaller garments such as socks in a laundry bag.
- Check the panel of your washing machine and select the program for wool; if it is not present, you can opt for a delicate wash.
- Set the water temperature to 90 F.
- Add our eco-friendly detergent strips and start the wash.
Modern washing machines have special washing cycles for wool, suitable for various types of clothing. For particularly delicate fibers, however, it is always better to choose manual washing, taking all the necessary precautions.
With these little tricks, you will not only be able to celebrate National Ugly Sweater Day in style again this year — but ensure all your sweaters stay with you for a long, long time.