Tips for taking care of your winter woollies

An icy winter chill is in the air, but as comfy as all those warm woolies are, they can also be oh-so-bulky and tricky to care for. And more layering also means more laundry … Sigh …

We’ve got a few helpful tips for washing, organising and storing winter clothes that can help keep your clothes looking great, reduce how much time you spend doing laundry, and even save you money!

Easy ways to wash winter clothes

  • Wear a base layer. A winter base layer (like a T-shirt, vest or camisole) helps keep you warm and helps keep your jerseys clean so you don’t need to wash them as often.
  • Keep your jerseys in shape. After washing, gently roll your jersey in a towel to remove extra water, then re-shape it and dry it on a flat surface.
  • Winter woollens can be machine washed at 30 or below on a delicate cycle, alternatively, handwash knitted jerseys or cashmere scarves with a few drops of gentle washing-up liquid. Fill a bucket or sink with cold water, add the soap, and swish the garments around. Empty the bucket, refill with cold water, and swish again until they are rinsed clean. Repeat if needed to get all the soap out. Air dry flat or on a rack.
  • Start washing your clothes in cold water. Cold water is generally gentler on clothes, cuts energy use and can trim your electricity bill, while also helping to reduce your carbon footprint.
  • Treat stains quickly, set-in stains are tougher to remove. Spray stains with an enzyme-based stain spray and wash them as soon as you can.
  • It’s a good idea to wash down coats a couple of times every season. Start by giving them a cold-water soak with a little detergent for a half hour. Then, wash on gentle and gently squeeze out excess water before drying on low. Toss in a few clean tennis balls to help them re-fluff.
  • Winter coats can generally be machine washed if they are down or nylon (wool coats should be dry cleaned). Make sure the zips and pockets are closed and wash separately on a cold wash with liquid detergent.
  • Organise socks, scarves, and gloves in a mesh bag, this helps keep gloves in pairs and scarves from tying other laundry in knots.
  • Keep those air-dried clothes from going crunchy. Toss in 120ml of white vinegar while your laundry is rinsing to help remove the extra detergent and soften clothes.
  • Choose a concentrated detergent to get more value with each load.

Organising your winter wardrobe

Make way for the mohair and welcome back the wool.

  • Store away off-season clothes like lightweight tops and dresses, summer-print items, shorts or sandals.
  • Section up your wardrobe into clothes type, for example, jumpers, jeans, trousers, blouses, jackets, etc.
  • Fold knitwear, don’t hang it, as it may stretch and lose its shape. If space is an issue, fold in half over a hanger.
  • Leather boots can be kept clean with a brush and leather cleaner, applying beeswax or leather conditioner to keep supple. A leather protector can also be applied to prevent staining. Store long boots upright and stuff with newspaper to keep their shape. You can lay them flat if you don’t have space.
  • Use the right hangers. Thicker hangers will be sturdier and able to hold the weight of your heavier winter clothes without misshaping them.

Find a home for your bulky winter essentials

Here, we take a look at some alternative storage places outside the closet.

  • Invest in a coat rack. If you have room in your hall or bedroom, this is a great space saver for those bulky coats.
  • Hooks are a simple solution to space-saving and can be put on the backs of doors and walls. Avoid hanging extremely heavy coats, and always use the hanging loop.
  • Use baskets for hats, gloves, and scarves. Fold them up, sort them into sets, and put them in a basket for easy access.

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