4 ways to expand the life of a sweater

Sweater in a fisherman pattern in blue and brown hues on a gray background

Sweater stretch, unravel, peel and even stain but these pieces remain staples to a winter wardrobe, Instead of buying new sweaters every season; we listed four ways to maintain your sweaters for years to come.

By The Mindful Shopper

It’s sweater weather and it seems it will be for a long time.  Sweaters, however, need a lot of love and care to survive season after season and today let’s learn how to do just that. Think of this blog as a survival guide for your sweaters as we dive into the 4 ways to expand the life of your sweaters. The 4 ways we cover in this guide is: mending, cleaning, storing and de-peeling. 

Mending a sweater

You probably have attempted to sew a sweater when it gets a hole but sewing a sweater with a needle and thread could actually cause the sweater to either  pucker at the sewn site or stretch making the repair look ugly.

So here are some tips on mending sweaters:

Fixing Holes

We love how the Daily Sew came up with 8 ways to mend your sweater but darning techniques can really stretch out your sweater so here are some we recommend:

  • Patches: Sew and Iron on patches add a creative touch as well as hide holes
  • Crochet: Use a matching  or contrasting yarn to fix the hole. use a small hook (1mm) to follow around the hole and close it up.
  • Use buttons – Gather the hole with thread and then sew on a button

Remeber, being creative with mending holes add unique self expression and extends the life of your sweaters beyond just one season.

Fixing Snags

The fact most sweaters are woven means  snags occur on a regular basis. Snags occur when the threads of a sweater catches on something and stretches out. NEVER CUT A SNAG instead do this:

  • Use a crochet hook to pull the snag to the inside of the sweater 
  • Tie a lose knot into the snag
  • Gently tuck on the fabric to redistribute the thread

Cleaning a sweater

Sweaters differ in materials, so washing them also differs. The hardest sweater to take care of goes to acrylic ones. Most sweaters produced contain some amount of acrylic. Let’s break this down by materials.



  • Run a lint roller over loosely woven or knit items before you wash them to remove loose fibers that can lead to pilling.
  • Turn inside out before washing to prevent pilling
  • Either wash by hand or machine wash cold water gentle cycle.
  • Lay Flat to dry. Using a hanger can stretch out the sweater as it dries
  • Use a towel to roll out extra water to decrease dry time. Do Not squeeze, this can lead to stretching.

Wool and Wool Blends

Wool, a natural fiber, lasts longer then acrylic but needs just as much loving care. Here are some ways to clean wool which differs from acrylic sweaters.

  • Use wool laundry detergent or woolite
  • Wash in warm water
  • Rub out stains 
  • Soak in a bucket of lukewarm water for 10 miutes
  • Rinse in warm water and then in cool water
  • Squeeze between rinses
  • Lay flat on towel to dry

We love the visuals on HTV.


Cashmere, a natural fiber, prone to stretching then the other fibers listed. If using a washing machine, always use a mesh bag to place your garment.

  • Hand wash cashmere with warm water (85°F) and gentle detergent, then air dry flat on a mesh drying rack.
  • Machine wash cashmere on delicate or wool cycle with cold water and cashmere detergent, using a mesh washing bag for protection.
  • Treat cashmere stains with gentle detergent or baby shampoo, depending on the stain type, and always air dry the garment.

Storing a sweater

Hanging a sweater stretches out the sweater and causes fit issues. Skip the hanger and store sweaters after the season ends by the following:

  • Store sweaters in temperature-controlled basements, closets, or beneath beds in sealed containers.
  • Try to keep sweaters elevated off the ground to prevent exposure to water leaks, mice, or other pests.
  • Add moth balls to wool blends or cinnamon sticks to prevent pest from eating them
  • Fold sweaters before storing them to prevent wrinkles
  • Steam sweater if they wrinkle (wool blends only)


Pilling occurs when a sweater rubs against itself or another abrasive material,  usually visible on sleeves, and the armpit area.  There are several ways to treat pilling:

  • Use a strip of Velcro, hook-side down, to pull up the pills. Be careful not to damage delicate fabrics.
  • Use a laundry detergent that contains the enzyme cellulase, which can break down cotton pills. 
  • Use a disposable razor to shave away the pills. Place the fabric on a flat surface and pull it tight. Shave away from the fabric.
  • You can pick pilling with fingers if only a small amount and if the sweater has a loose weave.

In conclusion, taking care of your sweater increases its life and saves you money. We are launching our own sustainable cardigan and shrug line for fall 2024!

If interested, join our email list below to get notified when we launch.