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Spring Cleaning

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All done winter – it’s been a long time coming, but the weather is finally taking note of the calendar. While I still have a few favorite wool garments in spring colors like we talked about before, I can’t move my heavy, wintry garments out of the closet fast enough. It’s tempting to leave them where they are and not open that drawer again until next fall. Perhaps you’ve considered folding them up and stashing them in bins under the bed to make space in your closet and remind yourself that it’s actually spring. Either way you’re courting disaster for your treasured sweaters, hand-knit or otherwise.

Spills that you can’t even see now will darken over time and can permanently ruin a garment. Remember that splash of champagne landing on your cashmere sweater last New Year’s Eve? You probably dabbed it with cool water and promptly forgot all about it. Although it’s invisible now, if left untreated, it will age into a mysterious yellow stain. Once they’ve worked their way deep into the fibers, this sort of stain is nearly impossible to remove. The most common culprits of these mystery stains are oil, grease, sugar, juice, soda, beer, tea, coffee, white wine, and perspiration. You might not even have spilled anything, but lotions and even natural body oils are all susceptible. Not only are these residues a potential stain problem, but the microscopic moisture they leave makes the garment extremely attractive to fiber eating pests. Aaack! What’s a girl to do?

First of all, make sure your sweaters are clean and dry before you put them away. Even if you haven’t worn a sweater during the previous season, make sure you open it up and shake it out before you put it away because moths especially love undisturbed areas. Washing your fine woolens doesn’t have to be a big hassle. In fact, it’s quick and easy, using Sally Melville’s method. I’ve use a variety of wool washes in the past, and my current favorite is Eucalan. As the name suggests, Eucalan contains naturally derived lanolin which helps restore wool’s natural luster, and eucalyptus extract which is a natural moth repellent. You can get Eucalan at Crazy for Ewe in wonderfully fresh smelling scents like pink grapefruit and lavender, as well as unscented. I keep a bottle in the laundry room for sweaters and a bottle in the bathroom for pantyhose and other small delicates.

If you take a few moments and give your wonderful winter sweaters a little TLC this spring, they’ll stay fresh and beautiful, and it will be a pleasure to bring them out come fall.

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