Spring Refresh

In all my years working in the fashion industry, I’ve always been on the hunt to find the best ways to look after my knitwear; from protecting it from moths, refreshing it after a night out, or just improving the handle and keeping it in shape from season to season. For this reason, I have been carefully researching a selection of products to sell directly on my website from the Clothes Doctor, a natural cleaning brand that helps people “extend the life of their clothes by cleaning, protecting, repairing and altering, the way our parents and grandparents did”.

I have chosen a very specific edit of products that aren’t easily found on the high street and personally tested them on my knitwear over the last few months to ensure their efficacy. I picked out as anti-moth fragrance bag, two clothes refresher sprays (which can be bought separately or as a duo) and a wool and cashmere comb, because I know these are the tools you absolutely need in order to preserve and lengthen the life of your knitwear.

In addition to these tools, I wanted to share some tips with you for caring for your knitwear more generally, as this is a frequent question. My honest advice is this; wash your knitwear as infrequently as possible! Clothes made from 100% wool, cashmere or alpaca fibres are naturally anti-bacterial, so they neutralize the sweat particles and lock them inside the fibres until they are washed. At a time when we all understand the need to reduce our water consumption this is welcome advice!

Kite Rix Photograph by Olive Edis courtesy of Norfolk Museums Service

Did you know that the original Norfolk fishermen scarcely – if ever, washed their treasured Ganseys. Some of the jumpers in the archives appear to have never been washed at all in spite of being worn for a lifetime! Rumour has it that the fishermen preferred to keep the natural lanolin in their knits as it increased the waterproof qualities of the wool. Handy when you’re out in a storm.

I would usually wash my jumpers once or twice a year and try to do this during the warmer months so that the jumpers can drip dry outside (laid flat on a clothes airer out of direct sunlight). The rest of the time, you can freshen them up by hanging them outside your wardrobe after use and spritzing with a naturally perfumed clothes refresher – even better if the refresher incorporates moth repellent fragrances like the Clothes Doctor’s Cedarwood and Vanilla knitwear mist.

For a slightly deeper clean, I recommend spot washing areas that tend to get dirty like the cuffs and neck, by dipping these areas into tepid water with a little eco wool and silk washing liquid (there are many available at the supermarket, so I would choose whichever you like the smell of) . Alternatively, you could have a go at making your own – there are some great recipes in Jen Chillingsworth’s “Clean Green” book. I’m a big fan of steaming my knitwear, just using the steam button on my iron and holding the iron just above the knit which has been laid flat on the ironing board. This is particularly good for steaming out elbow creases or the fold where you’ve turned the collar back.

Inevitably knitwear creates bobbles or “pilling” which is a result of the friction caused when you brush a surface. This tends to occur on the sleeves and body where they rub against each other, even more so if you wear a bag with a shoulder trap. The looser or more open the knit, the more space there is for pilling or bobbling to occur. I’ve tried A LOT of different gadgets to remove the pilling and am very happy with the Clothes Doctor Beechwood Comb.

In a month or so time, when you might be considering packing your heaviest knits away until the autumn, I’ve found the absolute best Natural Fragrance bags by the Clothes Doctor which are packed full of Yorkshire lavender, patchouli, lemongrass and eucalyptus. The perfume is so strong in these little bags that it makes your whole room smell amazing – also really good for protecting your carpets and rugs.