How to Store Your Knits: A Guide to Long-Lasting Elegance | Morris & Sons Australia

How to Store Your Knits

Stack of hand knit jumpers ready to store for summer


Caring for your handmade garments is one of the most important parts of the whole making experience. Cleaning and storing your handknits or hand crocheted items correctly will have a huge impact on their longevity and ensure that they are looking as good as new for years to come.

At the end of the cooler seasons (or in mid-summer if you live in any of the Southeastern states of Australia this year!) we like to collect all our warmer garments and accessories that we know we won’t wear for a while and give them a little TLC before storing them away for the year. Here is a step by step guide on how to store your knits. 

Take Stock of your Knits

We like to have a look at all our knits that we have worn over the last season and give them a thorough once over to see if they need any repairs or maintenance before they are washed and stored. Now is the perfect time to mend any small holes before they become larger with more wear, or adjust a few loose woven ends that have come to the right side.  It is also a good time to de-pill your garments so they will be looking fresh and beautiful when you are ready to wear them again next Winter.

Whenever possible we save a little ball of yarn with a label from each handmade garment in our yarn stash that we can then use for mending but if you don’t have any of the yarn left for a garment that needs mending, the Appleton’s Tapestry and Crewel Wool’s are available in a large colour range and perfect for darning small holes.


Pills are small balls of accumulated fluff that are inevitable on a knitted garment. They usually occur in areas of high friction, such as underarms or even shoulders that have had bags worn on top of them. They also occur more regularly in softer fibres and those that have a shorter staple length. For most garments you will notice more pilling at the beginning of its life that will settle down once the short lengths of fibre have been worked out and removed. You can safely de-pill your garments to keep them looking as good as new with a de-pilling comb or special electric de-pilling razor. We don’t recommend pulling at them as it tends to make them worse and encourage the fibre to keep shedding, nor do we advise running a normal razor or blade over your garment to de-pill it.

Washing your Knits

Washing your woollens before storage is incredibly important to help protect them from any pests. Moths especially love dirty fibres and are attracted to skin oils, dirt and even perfume. It is, however, less integral to wash them frequently during the months that you are wearing them. Wool is naturally antibacterial and antimicrobial and breathable which keeps it from needing to be washed between each wear. Instead, airing them out between wears it much gentler on them than frequent washings. We recommend always airing them flat to prevent too much strain on the fibres and any unwanted stretching or dropping.

Now you are ready to wash your knits for the year. We always choose to hand wash our garments, even the ones knit from yarns that are safe for the machine, because it is much gentler and will ensure you don’t damage a precious item that you spent so much time working on.

First fill a bathtub or basin with cold water and a few capfuls of a no rinse wool wash. Using a no rinse wool wash is not only easier than one that requires rinsing but also gentler on your garments because they are handled less.

Next, we add in like-coloured garments together, only if we know they are colour fast and their dyes haven’t run in previous washings. We make sure the knits are fully submerged and leave them to soak for around 20 minutes. While they are soaking, we gather old, clean towels, and lay 3-4 out on top of each other ready for our washed woollens.

If you are washing a colourwork jumper or something you expect might run or bleed, we recommend adding in a few tablespoons of white vinegar and only soaking them for 10-15 minutes. It is advisable to always spot test an inconspicuous area of a jumper the first time you wash it to see if the dye will run.

After their bath, we drain the water from the sink or tub and carefully start to squeeze out excess water from the garments. Be very careful with this step making sure you don’t wring out your knits to remove water. Any extra force or tugging on a wet garment can cause it to stretch undesirably.

Next, we place the first wet jumper onto our towel stack and start to roll the towels from one end, fully wrapping the jumper inside, and firmly press any extra water out as we roll.

We then lay that jumper out on either blocking mats or dry towels and continue with any other jumpers we have washed. We always dry our knits flat and never hang them because the weight of a wet garment can cause considerable stretching and distortion to a garment. We also make sure they dry in the shade to prevent any colour fading from the sun.

Finally, once we have removed any excess water from all the jumpers we decide if any need to be pinned into shape, the same as when they were blocked initially. If you aren’t familiar with blocking, please read our blog about it here. It is a process of washing and pinning finished items that has a big effect on the finished project and will make your pieces look much more professional. Blocking can even out small inconsistencies in tension, and is integral for cables, colourwork, and lace knitting.

Storing your Knits

After your jumpers are completely dry it is time to store them away. We fold ours up carefully and like when drying, always store them flat to keep them in shape and looking their best. You can choose to store them in a variety of containers. A cedar chest or dresser is our first choice for storing knitwear because cedar is a natural moth and bug deterrent. Another great option to store your garments is plastic locking tubs with blocks of cedar and sachets of lavender thrown in. You can also store your knitwear in any kind of dresser with the addition of cedar blocks and lavender sachets. Lavender is generally not strong enough on its own to deter moths, but it will help make sure your knits smell nice when you are ready to wear them again next season. If you choose to store your items in a clear plastic tub, please make sure it is kept away from direct sunlight that can fade your garments.

Fabric and plastic storage bags are also good options for storing your knits for summer if they close securely and there aren’t any holes in them. When packing away your folded knits make sure to leave enough room in the bags for your woollens to breathe which will help keep them from wrinkling.

If you are prone to moths and other pests in your house, you might want to add in a couple of chemical mothballs with your stored garments but be mindful of how strong they can smell and only use what is necessary.

You have now properly and safely stored away your prized knitwear for the warmer months ahead. When the temperature starts to drop, and you are ready to wear woolly jumpers again, simply unearth your garments from their storage spot and let them air out a bit to remove any stale odour they might have. You should also check for any signs of pest damage and take swift action if any feasting has occurred on your beloved knits. This will involve a deep cleaning of all the knits that were stored together as well as a through freezing to kill any eggs or larvae and then finally darning.

By following the steps above on how to store your knitwear for summer you will be able to keep your masterpieces safe and looking fresh for the years of wear to come.

 If you have any questions or storage tips you would like to share please let us know in the comments!

Otherwise if you come across any project using our yarn during your storage please tag us on social media at #morrisandsons. We love to see your creations!


  • Posted on by Morris & Sons
    Hi Leni,

    We are so glad you liked the article!
    We have a good Birch Electric Lint Shaver – here is a link.
    Please let us know if you have any other questions.

  • Posted on by Leni
    Great little article even if it reinforced that I am doing most steps correctly!

    No Cedar chest!
    However where can I buy a good electric de-pilling razor?

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