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Sweater Shedding All Over? Here’s How You Can Stop It

As winter approaches, we all face the same problem with our beloved cozy sweaters: shedding. It's frustrating to see those annoying lint balls and fibers make our favorite sweater look old and worn out before it's time. But, worry not, because there are ways to prevent your sweaters from shedding and extend their lifespan. Here, we will share some practical tips that you must follow to keep your knitwear looking fresh and fabulous.

1. Wash with care

Tips to Keep Your Sweater from Shedding,
One of the biggest reasons sweaters shed is incorrect washing. It's important to handle your sweaters with care when laundering them to avoid shedding. For a gentle and effective cleaning, follow these steps:
Before washing, turn your sweater inside out. This lowers friction between the fabric and the washing machine's agitator, which is a common source of shedding. 
  • Keep your sweater in a laundry bag or pillowcase. This adds an extra layer of protection, keeping it from rubbing against other items when washing. 
  • Use a mild detergent designed for delicates or woolens. Harsh detergents can cause fibers to break down and shed. 
  • Opt for a cold water wash on a gentle cycle. High temperatures may damage fibers, making them prone to shedding.

2. Avoid rubbing

Tips to Keep Your Sweater from Shedding,
Abrasion is the most common cause of pilling, so the best thing you can do to prevent it is to avoid rubbing. If you're attempting to protect your sweater, avoid carrying a bag or purse in the same place, and avoid wearing anything on top of your sweater that will generate friction.

3. Freeze it

Take your sweater and neatly fold it before placing it inside a zip-top freezer bag. Let it freeze for approximately 3 to 4 hours, and then, once removed, give it a thorough shake. According to WikiHow, the freeze-and-shake technique is believed to allow any loose fibers to be released all at once rather than gradually as you wear it. Some people recommend storing shedding sweaters in the freezer as an ongoing solution, eliminating the need for this process each time you wear them.

4. Air-dry your sweaters

The way you dry your sweaters can also have a big impact on shedding. Dryers should be avoided since the heat and friction might cause the fibers to split and shed. Instead, choose air drying. Here's how it's done:

  • Gently squeeze out extra water from your sweater after washing. Wringing it out can cause harm to the fibers.
  • Place your sweater face down on a clean cloth. Return it to its original size, making sure it lies nicely.
  • Allow your sweater to naturally dry. Hanging it can strain the fabric and result in malformed places.

5. Use small scissors to remove pills

Picking off pills manually from your sweater might seem like a quick fix, but this approach can be counterproductive, causing more fiber damage. A safer method is to trim each pill one at a time using small scissors or a razor blade. To avoid unintended holes, avoid cutting too close to the fabric's surface.

Related: How to Manually Repair a Hole in a Sweater and Socks

6. Use a sweater shaver or comb

Tips to Keep Your Sweater from Shedding,
Sweater shavers and combs glide across the fabric's surface, removing unsightly pills. Shavers are usually powered by batteries, while combs require manual operation and are available in different sizes. The shaver's blades finely cut the pills and collect them in a designated compartment. For optimal performance, remember to empty the compartment regularly, especially if you're dealing with a substantial amount of fuzz.

7. Rub a pumice stone

Gently rub a pumice stone over any pilling areas of your sweater. The rough stone, which is commonly used for pedicures, will catch the balled fibers. However, don't rub too hard. Remove the pills when you feel the sweater peeling away from the stone. If the pills are snagged and won't come off easily, you may need to use scissors.

8. Spray it

You read that right. Hair spray can work wonders at keeping the fibers on your sweater where they belong. Unless you're dealing with a pricey sweater, you won't need a lot of hairspray to get the job done. Keep the bottle about a foot away and spray a light burst of hairspray rather than a powerful stream. The idea here is that the spray will secure the fibers, minimizing the likelihood of shedding.

9. Regular maintenance

Tips to Keep Your Sweater from Shedding,
To avoid shedding and maintain the condition of your knitwear, consider the following routine care:
  • Get a fabric shaver or lint roller. These tools will help you remove loose fibers and lint balls from the surface of your sweater.
  • Regularly brush your sweater with a soft bristle brush. This helps in the smoothing of the fibers and the reduction of pilling and shedding.
  • Fold your sweaters neatly instead of hanging them to store them correctly. Hanging can cause stretching and misshaping, which can result in shedding.
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