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Sweater Safety: Storage Tips For Knitwear
By Kate Kliner
Sweater

With the arrival of warm weather, many of us are eager to pack away bulky sweaters, hats, gloves and other wintry knitwear. Goodbye for now, cashmere and merino wool sweaters. It's time for breathable tank tops and T-shirts.

But take care when putting away these garments in favor of warm-weather duds. Knitwear can be expensive and you'll want it to be in prime condition when (gasp) autumn weather has you reaching for these staples once again. Luckily, knitwear will be in top form if you follow some simple steps:

Give Them a Fresh Start:

First, make sure your knitwear is clean. Body oil, dirt and food can attract moths and other bugs like silverfish or carpet beetles. Don't forget to consider accumulation of residue from hairspray and hair styling gel inside knit hats.

If you are not using a professional dry cleaner, you can wash items by hand but take care to use a mild detergent or soap. Special detergents for washing knitwear are available in most supermarkets. Or, you could use a gentle baby shampoo. Each type of fiber has unique washing instructions so make sure you read the label carefully if you decide to hand wash items. Be very cautious as incorrect washing can cause your item to lose its shape or shrink.

Bug-Free is the Way to Be:

Moth balls are very effective at protecting your knitwear from a pesky infestation. But they contain a 100 percent active ingredient of either naphthalene or paradichlorobenzene. Each can cause different health effects. Moth balls turn from solids to toxic vapor, and that familiar "moth ball smell" actually means you're inhaling insecticide. Plus, moth balls can be bad news for small children or pets if they accidentally are ingested.

Therefore, moth balls are not recommended unless you have a full-on infestation (condolences if you do). While moth balls are certainly effective, there are some more natural ways to keep bugs away from your knitwear. Lavender and rosemary both deter moths and are much less toxic options. You also can use blocks of cedar. You may want to check on your knitwear once or twice throughout the summer for any holes or signs of unwanted bugs. If you do notice some holes, try putting your sweaters in a plastic bag in the freezer for two days, take them out for a day, and then freeze them again for two days to kill bugs.

Space-Saving Storage Solutions:

When finding ways to store your knitwear, you'll want to keep your items fresh and ensure they take up as little space as possible. After all, it's time to get out your summery clothes and you'll need the closet space. The way in which you'll store your stash is a matter of personal preference but there are a few things you'll want to keep in mind. Consider sealable garment bags or boxes that can be stashed under your bed, therefore saving some prime real estate. Vacuum-sealed bags are quite compact but they can also seal in moisture. Storage solutions made from breathable materials like canvas or cotton muslin are great, and wooden bins are also an option. Or, you can opt for airtight plastic bins or plastic zip-lock bags.

Happy summer!

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Wrinkles
Preventing Wrinkles in Summer Storage

When storing cashmere sweaters and other fine knitwear items during the summer months, consider ways to minimize wrinkles. First, fold the items as little as possible to reduce creases. Second, wrap each item individually in white tissue paper (acid-free tissue paper if available).

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