Fellow fashionistas, let’s address the elephant in the room — AKA, that mountain of hard-to-wash knitwear that’s been lingering in the hamper for months. Snuggly knits are a staple of Instababe-approved, cold-weather style, but now that the temps are heating up, it’s time to clean and store those standbys for the season. Mary Johnson, the principal scientist at Downy, teamed up with the fabric experts at We Are Knitters to bring us these life-changing laundry hacks for cleaning and preserving woolens this spring. Study up, then check out our all-in-one spring cleaning checklist (there’s a printable version too!) to kick off your #SpringCleaning2017 right.

Machine washable

1. Consider the cold water + delicates cycle + gentle detergent trifecta. If your fave knit jumper is machine-wash-friendly, use cold water to avoid shrinkage and select the delicate cycle. Opt for the gentlest detergent possible like Grab Green Natural 3-in-1 Laundry Detergent Pods ($8) to clean, soften, and remove stains from your beloved knits.

2. Use mesh laundry bags to prevent wear and tear. Toss your fave sweater in a mesh laundry bag, and it’ll be totally protected from the wear of rubbing against other fabrics in the wash. The variety of sizes in this Bagail Mesh Laundry Bags ($10, set of five) fit items from swimwear to sweaters galore (and more!).

3. Use high quality, gentle detergent. For extra special items, like merino wool and Italian cashmere, give ’em some bonus lovin’ with a specialty shampoo. The Laundress New York Wool & Cashmere Shampoo ($19) safely cleans your woolens with a nontoxic formula that’s worthy of couture.

4. Fabric conditioner will protect and preserve your knits. By using a product like Ultra Downy Infusions Amber Blossom Liquid Fabric Conditioner ($4), your clothes could look newer for up to 50 percent longer. Its super-softening formula will also lend your items a seriously scrumptious scent to boot.

5. Towel dry — do not wring! Seriously, just don’t. Lay your garment flat to dry on top of a plush AF white towel, like The Company Store Luxury Cotton Cashmere Towel ($17-$64). Gently roll the item in the towel to wick away excess moisture while preserving the shape and structure of its design.

Hand wash only

6. Soak for 15 minutes in cool water with hand-wash-friendly detergent. An uber delicate, rinse-free detergent will be your go-to for “hand wash only” gems. You can’t go wrong with a fragrance-free detergent like Soak Full Size Scentless ($16), but their Soak Minisoak Assorted 48PK ($48) will let you sample each and every one of the delish scents, from Celebration to Fig.

7. Soak pieces in fresh water with a fabric conditioner. Fill the sink with fresh, cool water and your preferred fabric conditioner to keep delicates looking new and feeling extra cozy. Try Downy Ultra Free & Gentle Liquid Fabric Conditioner ($10), especially if your skin is picky.

8. Do not wring out your delicates! As with your machine washables, lay your hand-washed pieces flat on a dry, white towel, gently rolling it over the absorbent fabric. To keep its original shape while it finishes drying, check out a multi-level drying rack, like OXO Good Grips Folding Sweater Drying Rack ($16), and keep your laundry room tidy while you’re at it.

9. Avoid pilling with a sweater stone. To deter signs of wear on your beloved oversized sweaters and soft AF cashmere investments, consider an item like the Sweater Stone Pill and Lint Removing Sweater Stone ($8). The lightweight pumice gently grooms away any lint or signs of pilling to keep your most prized pieces looking fresh off the rack.

Have you kicked off your spring cleaning yet? Tell us on Pinterest!

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