How to wash your knitted cardigans

This article is my guide to washing knitted cardigans that are made of delicate wools and other animal fibres:

Please always follow any instructions on the garment or instructions that came with it. If you knitted the cardigan yourself, you’ll want to check the yarn label first for any instructions.

You shouldn’t use biological detergents on wool, angora, cashmere or any other animal fibres – they will damage the garments, which of course are made from biological products. And please don’t use detergents which have as ingredients “bleach” or “bleach activators”. And – of course – don’t use bleach!

Also, I recommend that you avoid washing your knitted cardigans too frequently if they are made of wool, angora or cashmere.

Angora cardigans: should only be hand-washed (not washed in the washing machine). Then leave them to dry on a flat surface.

Cashmere cardigans: cashmere should be kept out of extreme heat and sunlight. Some cashmere cardigans are dry-clean only – you’ll want to check the label for this.


Preferably use Woolite or a mild soap solution. You can check that any other detergent or powder is suitable for wool by reading the small print. Please don’t use biological detergents. Some detergents have a wool symbol on the package showing that they condition and protect wool garments.

Washing machine: use the wool cycle, and ensure that your washing machine is set to 40 degrees maximum. Then use a gentle spin at about 600rpm (no higher than this). You’ll need to check your washing machine’s wool program – it might require the spin speed to be controlled separately.

Hand wash: wash gently in warm or lukewarm (not hot) soapy water (for example with Woolite or with Lux flakes added). For mohair, use lukewarm (tepid) water.

When rinsing, don’t wring the garment – that would be likely to ruin it.

Rinse in cool water, and very gently squeeze much of the water out.

If you have a spin drier, you can use a gentle spin at about 600rpm (no higher), and a very short spin.

If you don’t have a spin drier, lay the cardigan in a towel, fold the towel around it, and gently press the towel to remove the water.


Don’t use high temperatures and don’t tumble dry – it could shrink or perhaps even burn a hole in the garment. Instead, after spinning, pull your cardigan gently into shape, and place it so that air can flow around the garment but make sure it is supported, so that it stays in shape. Draping it over a drying horse or laying it on a horizontal shelf made of rails (such as many airer-dryers are made of) is ideal.

If you look after your knitted cardigans carefully you’ll find that they can look wonderful for many years!

Please do bookmark this article using the Bookmark button below, won’t you. Also, you might like to see my blog post “How to wash knitted cardigans – the videos“.   If you subscribe to my RSS feed (click on the “RSS” 3rd line from the bottom in the left column) then you’ll know when new items are added to this blog ;-).  Katy  x

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