The three wise men may have come and gone but at American Dry Cleaning Company, we’ve still got more Winter-related wisdom to impart.
How to best look after your Winter woollen clothes is often a common topic of debate, even amongst the experts. How often should you wash wool? Should you dry clean or hand wash? What’s the best way to store woollen clothes over the periods they’re not being used?
Whichever magazines you read, you’re likely to find a different answer each claiming to be the definitive source of wisdom. You’ll no longer be in any doubt at all – until the next magazine you read!
So at American Dry Cleaning Company, we’ve set out to be as objective as possible and to offer you twelve pieces of useful advice for the twelve days of Christmas, in order to keep your jumpers and scarves in the best condition that they can be.
One – Wash your woollies every five wears
You may be surprised as five wears of a woollen jumper may seem like a lot, but here’s why. The woolly jumper is almost always an outerwear layer of clothing so it’s not really in contact with your body, holding sweat and bodily bacteria. What’s more, a woolly jumper is not really subjected to outdoor dirt like an outer winter coat is or inner clothing layers are.
Cotton, silk and cashmere should obviously be washed much more frequently since these pieces are more delicate and come into closer contact with your skin. However, wool and other durable man-made blends like acrylic and polyester can withstand up to five wears.
Two – Always dry clean your woollen clothes
Dry cleaning is essential for wool or wool blends, hence most labels will say “dry clean only”. We’re not just saying that as a dry cleaning company either. Washing wool at home in your washing machine will damage the fabric and probably ruin your jumper as well as shortening the life of the clothing by not using the correct processes that woollen objects need.
At American Dry Cleaning Company, we specialise in the specific treatments that woolly garments require in order to keep them fresh and like new.
Three – The proper way to dry woollen clothes
If you choose to wash your woollen scarves or gloves at home via hand, never wring them out when you take them out of the sink as you’ll really damage the fabrics by twisting them. Gently squeeze all the water you can out of the garments and then lay them flat on a towel.
The trick is to then roll the towel up like a sleeping bag, really squeezing out the excess water. Then, leave them all to dry properly on a drying rack.
Four – Keeping your jumpers looking new off the shelf
Obviously, the best way to keep your jumpers looking completely new is to get them dry cleaned at American Dry Clean Company. We’ll always return them in pristine condition.
However, the unavoidable truth is that after a few wears, you may start seeing woollen bobbles accumulating on your jumpers .
These little bobbles are called pills and what you see happening on the fabric is called pilling. Wool pilling is is quite common and a natural process of many products made out of wool. Wherever there is friction applied to the garment, short or broken fibres start to intertwine with each other and form little knots.
You can remove pills easily by holding the sweater flat with one hand and slicing them off one at a time with a simple razor or comb.
Five – Fixing a snag in the wool
Again, American Dry Cleaning Company is the best choice in London for repairing and restoring minor rips, tears and snags in your garments and accessories. You’d be amazed at the range of things we can fix!
But, as it’s the season of goodwill, here’s another piece of advice about how you can fix a snag in your jumper within a minute.
Find a crochet hook and turn the garment inside out. Insert the crochet hook into the same stitch as the snag and gently pull it through. To keep the stitch in place, tie it in a knot a few times. Then, turn the jumper back right side out. Hey presto! The snag is now on the inside of the jumper and no one can see it.
Six – Avoid stretching your jumper by hanging it correctly
Wool is quite heavy and as a result, when you hang your jumpers in the wardrobe, they can stretch under their own weight. This means that the next time you put the garment on, it looks too much too long and suddenly your favourite jumper makes you look as you did on your first day of school.
Here’s a trick though; fold the jumper in half. Then, place the hanger hook in the armpit and fold the waist and sleeves over the hanger. This way, the jumper won’t stretch at all and you’ll save space in your wardrobe too!
Seven – A safe way of shrinking a stretched-out jumper
If you have just taken your favourite jumper out of the wardrobe and it looks more like a dress than anything else, don’t despair. There is a safe way of shrinking the garment back down to its original size.
Wet it by spraying cool water over the jumper and then put it in the tumble-dryer on a very high heat until it’s bone dry. You can gauge how much you want to shrink the jumper by determining how wet it is to start with: if it’s completely soaking it will shrink more while only dampening it with a fine spray will shrink it less.
Eight – Keep the sleeves in shape
Quite often, the cuffs of your woollen jumpers will get stretched while the rest of the garment stays the same. To tighten the cuffs, dip the stretched area in hot water and blot it dry. Then, place the wet cuffs on a white towel and dry them with a hair dryer set on the hottest setting. This will slightly felt the fibres and tighten the cuffs to match the rest of the jumper.
Nine – The best way of storing your Winter woollies
When storing your woollen garments for longer periods of time, usually over the Summer months, always use cotton or linen bags, not plastic ones. Cotton and linen allow air to flow through naturally while plastic can cause garments to sweat and smell, particularly in warm weather.
To prevent moths from getting near your woollen jumpers, store them in bags with proper closures such as zips or strong and secure fasteners.
Moths prefer wool and cashmere to cotton and synthetics but if you’re going to store them together, it’s important that all the clothes have been dry cleaned properly or they will attract moths.
Ten – Keep moths at bay
Moths can cause significant damage not just to your clothing, but also to your carpets and curtains. That’s why it’s necessary to take steps to keep them at bay very seriously.
Usually, the first sign that you have a moth problem is when you pull out your Winter jumpers and discover they’re laced with tiny holes. Clothes moths are real pests and will happily munch their way through your finest clothes with no sense of guilt. They like to lie low in dark corners, snacking on your designer labels.
It’s actually not the adult moths but the larvae that cause the damage, as they lay their eggs in dark, quiet spots where there is plenty of food. So where is the dream banquet for them? In the back of your wardrobe.
Moths love woollen garments so in theory cottons and synthetics should be safe, but that won’t stop them gnawing through them in their hunt for something woolly. They particularly love clothing that comes with a side of sweat, dirt or dust, so it’s wise to have your Winter clothes professionally dry cleaned before storing them in the Spring, and when unpacking them again at the beginning of the Winter.
Eleven – Don’t go bonkers, look for conkers!
It may sound far fetched and slightly crazy, but placing conkers inside your wardrobes actually helps keep moths away. The horse chestnut seeds contain a chemical called triterpenoid saponin that pests like moths just hate. It will ward them off and should keep your Winter clothes in much better condition.
If you’re not too keen on spiders either, this trick also works when placing conkers behind the sofa in Autumn when they start invading the house!
Twelve – Give American Dry Cleaning a visit and let the professionals take care of it
Our last piece of advice is our soundest piece yet. Bring your warm Winter clothes, your curtains, your linen, your snazzy Summer wear and anything else around your else that you think needs a clean to us and we guarantee we’ll get it looking better than new.
We’re London’s premier dry cleaning company and we simply offer the best service available for the widest range of products.
We pride ourselves not just on being green, but continuing to develop our environmentally friendly processes so that we’re greener every time you visit us and we promise to mix sustainability with the best quality available.
We’ll never compromise on our reputation, and if we see any additional repairs that need doing, we’ll fix them for free before returning your items to you as close to new as it’s possible to get them.
We’ll obviously take care of any of the above problems we’ve detailed and your clothes and other items are in the best hands. Now that sounds like the best piece of advice we’ve given yet!