How To Wash Cardigan Sweater Vests

Learning how to wash cardigan sweater vests yourself will save you money. Instead of paying to dry clean them, you can refresh or wash your cardigan sweater vests with a few simple techniques guaranteed to maintain the beauty of these stylish garments. The trick is to treat cardigans differently from ordinary sweaters and to consider the material the sweater vest is made of. Here’s everything you need to know about how to wash cardigan sweater vests at home without damaging them in any way.

What you’ll need to wash cardigan sweater vests at home:

  • Sink or bucket
  • Mild liquid detergent
  • Fabric softener
  • Empty spray bottle
  • 2 large dry towels
  • Access to clothes dryer (optional)
  1. Preparation. The biggest concern when washing cardigan sweater vests is to prevent the button hole lapel from shrinking or warping. To keep the holes aligned with the buttons, always button your cardigan sweater vest before washing or refreshing it.
  2. To wash or not to wash? You don’t have to wash your cardigan sweater vest if it looks clean but only needs a fresher scent. Fill a clean spray bottle with 2 tablespoons of fabric softener and 1 cup of water, then shake the bottle well. Lay your sweater vest on a dry towel, then spray it from a distance of 3 feet with the fabric softener solution. Turn the cardigan sweater vest over and spray the other side to refresh it as well. 
  3. Cotton cardigan sweater vests are safe to wash. Look at the label on your cardigan sweater vest to determine if it is made of wool, polyester or cotton. Though still apt to shrink, cotton sweater vests are safe to wash in your washing machine if you use cold water only. Do not wash any other garment with the sweater vest as the sweater is likely to bleed clothes dye in the water. Select the gentle cycle and do not allow the machine to wring out the cardigan sweater vest for fear of causing damage to the buttons. Simply squeeze the water out yourself, then hang your cotton cardigan sweater vest to dry on the back of a chair covered in a dry towel. Be sure not to scrunch the cardigan or you will leave creases behind once the sweater vest dries. 
  4. Polyester is tricky. The easiest cardigan sweater vests to wash are made of polyester or a polyester blend. Resistant to shrinking, such cardigan sweater vests can be washed in warm water on the gentle cycle of your washing machine. Use mild detergent and stop the machine before the spin cycle to avoid breaking any of the cardigan buttons. You can wash several cardigan sweater vests together but avoid mixing whites with colors. Wring the cardigan sweater vest gently, then place it in a thick pillow case and tie a knot at the end of the case to prevent the cardigan from slipping out. Place the pillow case in your clothes dryer and allow the cardigan to dry completely, with the pillowcase protecting the buttons from too much twisting and banging. 
  5. Wool, another toughie. Wool cardigan sweater vests are typically more expensive and require gentle handling when being washed. Wash wool cardigans by hand in cold water only. Use mild liquid detergent and allow the sweater to soak in the water for 10 minutes. Do not scrub wool cardigan sweaters and avoid wringing the water out. Soak in clean cold water to remove the detergent, then squeeze the water out and lay the cardigan flat on a dry towel to air dry. For thick wool cardigan sweaters spread a second towel above to maintain the shape of the wool cardigan throughout the drying process. Do not be alarmed by the unpleasant smell of wet wool; it will fade once the cardigan sweater vest dries.
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