How to Wash Knitted Clothes: Expert Tips for Long lasting Wear in 2023

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how to wash knitted clothes

Recommended Steps to Wash Knitted Clothes

Washing knitted clothes requires a gentle touch to avoid damaging the delicate fibers. Follow these steps to ensure your knits stay in great condition:

  1. Sort your knitted garments by color and fabric type. This will prevent any potential color bleeding or damage.
  2. Check the care label on each item for specific washing instructions. Some knits may require hand-washing, while others can be safely machine-washed.
  3. If machine-washing is recommended, turn your knitted items inside out to protect them from snagging or pilling during the wash cycle.
  4. Use a mild detergent specifically designed for delicate fabrics. Avoid using bleach or harsh chemicals, as they can weaken the fibers of your knits.
  5. Select a gentle or delicate cycle on your washing machine and use cold water. Hot water can cause shrinkage and damage to the fibers of your knitted clothes.
  6. Avoid overcrowding the washing machine to allow enough room for the garments to move freely without getting tangled or stretched.
  7. After the wash cycle is complete, gently remove your knitted items from the washer and reshape them if necessary. Do not wring or twist them, as this can distort their shape.

Precautions to Take Before Washing Knitted Clothes

Prior to washing your knitted clothes, it’s important to take some precautions to preserve their quality:

  • Read and follow the care instructions on each garment’s label carefully. Different types of knit fabrics may have specific requirements for washing.
  • If you’re unsure about how a particular knit should be washed, it’s best to err on the side of caution and hand-wash it to avoid any potential damage.
  • Before washing, check for any loose threads or snags. Repair them before washing to prevent further damage during the wash cycle.
  • If your knitted garment has delicate embellishments, such as beads or sequins, consider placing it in a mesh laundry bag or pillowcase to protect these details.

Step-by-Step Guide on Washing Knitted Garments

Washing knitted garments requires special care to ensure they retain their shape and quality. Follow these steps to properly wash your knitted clothes:

Gather the necessary supplies:

  • Mild detergent specifically designed for delicate fabrics
  • A basin or sink filled with lukewarm water
  • A clean towel
  • A drying rack or flat surface

Pre-treat stains:

If your knitted garment has any stains, gently dab them with a mild stain remover before washing. Avoid rubbing or scrubbing vigorously, as this can damage the fabric.

Fill the basin with water:

Add a small amount of the mild detergent to the lukewarm water and mix until it creates a soapy solution.

Submerge and soak:

Place your knitted garment in the soapy water and gently press it down to ensure it is fully submerged. Let it soak for about 10-15 minutes to allow the detergent to penetrate and loosen any dirt or oils.

Gently agitate:

After soaking, use your hands to gently agitate the garment in the water. Avoid twisting or wringing it, as this can cause stretching or distortion.

Rinse thoroughly:

Drain the soapy water from the basin and refill it with clean lukewarm water. Submerge your knitted garment again and gently squeeze out any excess soap. Repeat this rinsing process until no more suds are present.

Remove excess water:

Lay a clean towel flat on a surface and place your knitted garment on top. Roll the towel up with the garment inside and gently press to remove excess water. Avoid wringing or twisting the towel, as this can damage the fabric.

Dry flat:

Finally, reshape your knitted garment to its original shape and lay it flat on a drying rack or clean surface away from direct sunlight or heat sources. Allow it to air dry completely before storing or wearing.

Precautions to Take Before Washing Knitted Clothes

Before washing your knitted clothes, it’s important to take certain precautions to avoid damaging them:

Read the care label:

Always check the care label attached to your knitted garment for specific washing instructions. Some knits may require hand-washing only or have temperature restrictions.

Mend any loose threads:

Inspect your knitted clothes for any loose threads or snags before washing. If you find any, use a needle and thread to carefully mend them to prevent further damage during washing.

Turn garments inside out:

To protect delicate knit stitches, turn your garments inside out before washing. This helps minimize friction and prevents excessive stretching or snagging of the outer surface.

Avoid using harsh chemicals:

Avoid using bleach, fabric softeners, or harsh detergents when washing knitted clothes. These can weaken the fibers and cause color fading or damage.

Separate colors:

If you are washing multiple colored knits together, separate them by color to prevent bleeding or color transfer. It’s best to wash dark colors separately from light colors.

Use a mesh laundry bag for delicate items:

If you have delicate or intricate knitted items, consider placing them in a mesh laundry bag before washing. This provides an extra layer of protection and prevents them from getting caught on other garments or the washing machine drum.

Specific Detergents and Laundry Products for Washing Knitted Items

When it comes to washing knitted items, using the right detergent is crucial to ensure that your garments are cleaned effectively without causing any damage. Look for detergents specifically designed for delicate fabrics or wool. These detergents are usually formulated with gentle ingredients that won’t strip away the natural oils in the fibers, helping to maintain the softness and integrity of your knitted clothes.

In addition to specialized detergents, you can also consider using laundry products that provide extra care for knitted items. Fabric conditioners or softeners can help reduce friction during the washing process, preventing excessive stretching or pilling. Some fabric conditioners even have anti-static properties, which can be beneficial for certain types of knits.

Recommended Detergent Brands:

  • Woolite Delicates
  • Eucalan Delicate Wash
  • The Laundress Wool & Cashmere Shampoo


  1. Always read the instructions on the detergent packaging before use.
  2. If you’re unsure about a particular detergent, test it on a small inconspicuous area of your knitted garment first.
  3. Avoid using bleach or harsh chemicals when washing knitted items as they can weaken the fibers and cause discoloration.

Proper Hand-Washing Technique for Knitted Clothes

Hand-washing is often recommended for delicate or intricate knitwear to minimize the risk of damage. Follow these steps to ensure a thorough yet gentle hand-washing process:

Step 1: Prepare Your Washing Area

Fill a clean basin or sink with lukewarm water. Avoid using hot water as it can cause shrinkage or distortion of the knitted fabric.

Step 2: Add Detergent

Add a small amount of the recommended detergent for knitted items to the water and mix gently until it dissolves.

Step 3: Submerge and Soak

Gently submerge your knitted garment into the soapy water, making sure it is fully immersed. Allow it to soak for about 10-15 minutes to loosen any dirt or residue.

Step 4: Gently Agitate

Using your hands, gently agitate the garment in the water to help release any trapped dirt. Be careful not to rub or wring the fabric excessively, as this can cause stretching or damage.

Step 5: Rinse

Drain the soapy water and refill the basin with clean lukewarm water. Rinse your knitted item by gently squeezing and swishing it in the fresh water until all traces of detergent are removed.

Step 6: Remove Excess Water

To remove excess water from your knitted garment, avoid wringing or twisting it. Instead, gently press down on the fabric while still in the basin to squeeze out as much water as possible.


  • Avoid using excessive force when handling wet knits to prevent stretching or misshaping.
  • If necessary, you can repeat the rinsing process with clean water until no soap residue remains.
  • Never hang a wet knitwear item as it may stretch under its own weight. Instead, lay it flat on a clean towel or drying rack to air dry.

Safe Machine-Washing of Knitted Garments: Settings to Use

When it comes to machine-washing knitted garments, it’s important to use the right settings to ensure their safety and longevity. First and foremost, always check the care label on your garment for specific instructions. If the label allows for machine-washing, follow these guidelines:

Choose a Gentle Cycle

Selecting a gentle or delicate cycle on your washing machine is crucial for protecting knitted fabrics. This setting typically uses slower agitation and lower spin speeds, minimizing the risk of stretching or damaging the garment.

Use Cold Water

Cold water is generally recommended for washing knitted clothes as it helps prevent shrinkage and color fading. Hot water can cause fibers to loosen and result in misshapen garments.

Mild Detergent

Opt for a mild detergent specifically designed for delicate fabrics. Harsh detergents can weaken the fibers of knitted garments over time. Avoid using bleach or fabric softeners as they can also damage the fabric.

Special Considerations for Washing Delicate or Intricate Knitwear

Delicate or intricate knitwear requires extra care during washing to preserve its beauty and structure. Here are some special considerations:

Place Items in Mesh Laundry Bags

To protect delicate knitwear from snagging or tangling with other items in the wash, place them inside mesh laundry bags before adding them to the machine.

Avoid Agitation

If your knitted garment has delicate embellishments like beading or sequins, it’s best to avoid machine-washing altogether. Instead, gently hand wash these items using mild detergent and cold water.

Spot Clean When Possible

If only a small area of your delicate knitwear is soiled, spot cleaning can be a suitable alternative to full washing. Use a gentle detergent and a soft cloth or sponge to carefully clean the affected area.

Air Drying vs. Machine Drying: What’s Best for Knitted Clothes?

The drying process is crucial for maintaining the shape and texture of knitted clothes. While air drying is generally recommended, there are certain considerations to keep in mind:

Air Drying

Air drying is the safest method for drying knitted garments as it minimizes the risk of shrinkage, stretching, or damage from heat. Lay the garment flat on a clean towel or mesh rack, reshaping it if necessary, and allow it to dry naturally away from direct sunlight.

Machine Drying

If you must use a dryer, select the lowest heat setting possible and set the timer for a shorter duration. However, machine drying can still pose risks such as shrinking or misshaping the garment. Always refer to the care label for specific instructions and consider air drying as the primary option.

Tips to Prevent Shrinkage or Stretching While Washing Knitted Garments

To prevent shrinkage or stretching while washing knitted garments, follow these helpful tips:

Read Care Labels Carefully

Care labels provide valuable information on how to properly care for your knitted garments. Pay close attention to any specific instructions regarding temperature, detergent type, and recommended washing methods.

Pre-Treat Stains

If your knitted garment has stains, treat them before washing using appropriate stain removers or gentle spot cleaning techniques. This helps prevent the need for vigorous washing, which can lead to shrinkage or stretching.

Don’t Overload the Machine

Avoid overcrowding the washing machine with too many knitted items at once. Overloading can cause excessive friction and agitation, leading to stretching or misshaping of the garments.

Use a Shorter Spin Cycle

When using a washing machine, opt for a shorter spin cycle or reduce the spin speed. High-speed spinning can strain the fibers of knitted clothes and contribute to stretching or distortion.

Frequency of Washing Knitted Clothes for Quality and Longevity Maintenance

The frequency of washing knitted clothes depends on various factors such as wear, odor, and soiling. However, it’s generally recommended to wash them less frequently compared to other clothing items:

Spot Clean When Possible

If your knitted garment has only been lightly worn or has minor stains in specific areas, spot cleaning can help maintain its freshness without subjecting it to a full wash cycle.

Air Out Between Wears

If your knitted clothes aren’t visibly soiled or emitting unpleasant odors, consider airing them out between wears. Hang them in a well-ventilated area away from direct sunlight to allow any moisture or odors to dissipate naturally.

Follow Care Label Instructions

The care label will provide guidance on how often you should wash your specific knitted garment. Some may require more frequent washing due to their fabric composition or intended use, while others may be suitable for longer periods between washes.

In conclusion, washing knitted clothes requires gentle handling and specific care techniques to maintain their quality and shape. By following the recommended steps, such as handwashing with mild detergent, avoiding harsh agitation or wringing, and laying them flat to dry, you can ensure that your knitted garments stay clean and well-maintained for longer-lasting wear.

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