All sweaters made with animal fiber will pill at some point, it is in their nature, and is especially true for brand new sweater. Garments made from natural fibers and yarns are made up of non-continuous, shorter fibers, as opposed to synthetic fibers such as polyester or acrylic which can be made infinitely long and therefore pill less. Pilling is not synonymous with poor quality. Pilling will decrease over time.
A pill remover or sweater comb does an incredible job at removing naturally occurring pilling on your sweater and will restore it to like-new condition.
Washing and Caring for Your Knitwear
Knitwear rarely needs to be washed after each wear, especially knits that are used as layers with (e.g) a t-shirt underneath. Knitwear made with animal fibers naturally repel or wick away moisture and dirt. You can spot clean or air out your knits, or take your sweater to the dry cleaner.
Follow the Care Label Exactly and Carefully. While we mainly recommend Dry Cleaning as the best method to care for your knits, some (if mentioned on the label) can be washed on a delicate cycle. If the label does not mention a cycle, the garment is to be hand washed only.
Hand wash any sweater gently by placing the sweater in wool detergent mixed water. Absolutely no agitation or rubbing of the garment should occur!
There is a general misconception of dry cleaning being a luxury or expensive service. Knitwear made with animal fibers rarely need to be washed on a daily basis or even after each use. Knitwear made with animal fibers naturally repel or wick away moisture and dirt. Most dry cleaners charge $6-10 per sweater for dry cleaning and de-pill your sweater in the process. Ask your local dry cleaner about their cost for knitwear. Tip: They may have a deal for cleaning more than one sweater.
Examples of Care Labels and Differentiating Between Them
Hand Wash Cold (NO machine) vs. Cold Cycle or Machine Wash Cold (can be machine washed).
If there is no mention of a "cycle" on the care label, the garment should not be placed in a washing machine.
If the label mentions cycle or machine wash, please use a delicate or gentle cycle with no to low spin to avoid agitation (rubbing) and felting* (thickening of the fabric). *Applies to animal fibers.
Steaming or Ironing Your Knit
Many knits can be steamed or gently ironed to be pulled back into shape. Use the wool setting on your iron to prevent any burning or felting of your garment. Hold the iron just above the sweater, release the steam, then gently press with your iron to get the sweater back into shape. Do not agitate your sweater by rubbing or moving your iron too roughly back and forth over your garment as this can cause fiber breakage and potential felting (thickening) of the garment. Steaming and ironing to reshape your garment takes a little bit of time—Please be patient and gentle with your knitwear.
Storing Your Knits
Have you noticed your knitwear getting nubs on the shoulder from hanging on a hanger?
Thicker, chunkier knits need to be folded away. Hanging your chunky, heavy sweaters will cause them to "grow", morphing the length and shape of your knitwear. We recommend folding your sweater and placing them flat on a shelf or in a zipped garment bag with a cedar block. Folding away your knits keep them healthy; the cedar block keeps the natural-fiber-loving moths away.
Delicate or thinner knits can be hung on a ticker wooden hanger to avoid the "nubs" from occurring. If any hanger points show up, place your garment flat on an ironing board or towel and steam iron the spot to reshape the shoulder.
*Disclaimer: These are recommendations only on how to care for and extend the longevity of your knitwear. If you are nervous or unsure of how to care for your garment, dry cleaning is the best option. Please note, that we do not reimburse for or replace sweaters that have been improperly cared for, improperly stored, improperly washed, or garments that have shrunken, stretched, or felted. We are not personally washing or caring for your item, and cannot oversee the care of each garment once it has left our hands. We will, of course, take care of any garment showing up with defects upon their delivery to the customer within a reasonable timeframe of delivery.