1. How can you gently remove pills from a sweater?
The truth is that all sweaters will pill just by wearing or cleaning them. You can remove pills easily by holding the sweater flat with one hand and slicing off pills one at a time with a simple razor, like a Bic. You can also buy a manual pill remover.
2. How often should you wash a sweater?
Did the sweater pick up germs or dirt? That warrants a washing. A good rule of thumb is to wash every six to eight wears, unless you spill, sweat or are around smoke.
3. Walk us through hand washing a sweater step by step.
To wash your cashmere sweater, first turn it inside-out. Immerse it in a solution of cold water and a gentle wool wash product like Woolite or The Laundress. Don’t scrub thoroughly, but instead gently squeeze the suds through the fabric. Never wring or stretch the fabric in any way. Finally, rinse the garment several times in clean lukewarm water until the water runs clear without any traces of detergent.
4. And how do you squeeze out water and let it dry?
Never wring anything. Gently squeeze water out of the sweater and then lay it flat on a towel. Press out the excess water. Roll it up like a sleeping bag to really suck up the excess water. Dry it by laying it flat on a clean towel and reshape it as it dries. Allow it to air dry naturally.
6. Any other tips?
Wet cashmere can sometimes take days to dry. To cut the time in half, use a large salad spinner to spin off excess water. Use one with a pull cord; they’re more effective. Then lay flat to dry.
For most of us, sweater season is in full swing. Your daily outfits are now based around all those cozy sweaters, cardigans, and wraps that have been hibernating in your closet since last season. But what you probably weren’t expecting was the smattering of unsightly little nubs that suddenly cover your favorite cashmere number: pills.
Is there anything worse than pills on your favorite sweater?
The pesky yarn clumps known as pills can form on garments of all materials and prices, from a super high-end cashmere sweater to a bargain-priced acrylic blend. Pilling tends to get worse with more wear, which is why it always seems to occur on your favorite cashmere turtleneck and not the ones at the back of the closet.
It's caused by wearing, not washing, and is not a sign of inferior quality. Anything made out of yarn or fibers will eventually pill. We won't get into the details of how it happens but the pilling basically occurs when groups of fibers break, tangle, and mat together.
Thankfully, pills aren’t necessarily a sign of damage to your sweaters. Removing them is a careful and sometimes tedious process, but also a relatively easy one with the help of a few simple tools.
Pumice stone: You may have one of these lying around your bathroom already. To use it on your sweater, simply brush the stone in a very gentle motion over the pills. Be sure to brush in only one direction to avoid damaging the garment. One other thing to consider is pumice also smells like sulfur, so your sweater might smell of it too. So you'll want to use a sweater stone before hand washing or dry cleaning, not after.
Electric Sweater Shaver: If you're looking for a solution that might require a little less elbow grease, there are plenty of sweater-specific shavers that are designed to rid sweaters with little more than a few batteries. It's important to be extremely careful when using an electric shaver as one wrong move can cause permanent damage. People swear by the Ever Care and the Gleener.
Sweater Comb: Normally, we don't recommend fabric combs as a method of removing pills on a finely-knit sweater. They're usually best suited for coats, scarves, or wool pants. However, our friends over at The Laundress sell a modern version that is perfect for gently picking up stray pills.