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Many people feel hesitant about washing a new sweater for the first time. That is understandable when you consider that the wash machine can turn a beautiful sweater that fits you perfectly into something small enough to fit your dog. However, you can wash your sweaters with confidence when you pay attention to labels and understand exactly how to launder each different type. Just don't put anything in your wash machine that specifically states dry clean only.

Washing Instructions Depend on the Primary Materials


 Below are some of the most common materials used to make sweaters and how you should wash them.

  • Acrylic: When exposed to heat, this material can stretch and lose its shape. Wash it in warm water and then lay it flat to dry or place in the dryer on a low setting. The label should indicate which of these to choose.
  • Cashmere: Made from a combination of synthetic and goat hairs, these sweaters should be washed with cold water on the delicate cycle. Squeeze out the water when removing from the wash machine and place on a flat surface to dry away from any source of direct heat.
  • Cotton: You can wash cotton sweaters in warm water. Since they are very prone to shrinking, never place them in the dryer afterwards.
  • Silk: Silk sweaters should be washed on the delicate cycle in warm water and then air dried. You will likely need to iron a silk sweater after drying.
  • Wool: Because this material has many variations, it's extra important to pay attention to the care label. If it can go in the wash machine, use cold water and a gentle cycle. Avoid using the clothes dryer afterwards.

Before placing any sweater in the wash machine, turn it inside out and place inside of a mesh bag. This helps it get as clean as possible without weighing it down with water so you can dry it easier.