How to Avoid Stretching out Acrylic Sweaters

Acrylic sweaters can last for years if proper care is taken. They are more durable than thinner alternatives but still require care in order to prevent stretching. Heat can quickly alter the man made fibers of acrylic yarn. Stretching can be avoided by taking precautions when washing acrylic sweaters.

A woman is doing her laundry. (Image: ViktorCap/iStock/Getty Images)

Step 1

Check the label on the sweater. Look for washing instructions and check the fabric content. Sweaters that are 100 percent acrylic should be machine washed on a different setting than you wash your jeans on.

Step 2

Wash the sweater on the delicate or permanent press setting in warm water, if not otherwise indicated. Place a minimum of six other items in the washing machine with the sweater to prevent altering the size of the sweater.

Step 3

Use a gentle laundry detergent and fabric softener when washing. Strong soaps can be too abrasive for acrylics.

Step 4

Lay the sweater flat to dry or tumble dry on low heat. If using a dryer, leave the sweater in for 30 minutes or less and allow to air dry for the remainder. Hangers and high heat dryers are the primary cause of stretching acrylic sweaters.

Step 5

Use a steamer instead of an iron to remove any wrinkles. Use the steamer on a low setting and go over the garment a maximum of two to three times, without holding the steamer in one spot for an extended period.

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