How to wash winter clothes

Find out how to keep your winter clothes looking good with our top tips.

Updated 22 March 2023


AuthorBy Cleanipedia Team

Reading Time5 minutes

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When cold weather arrives, it feels good to warm up by pulling on extra layers; however, more layers also means more laundry. Learning helpful tips for washing your winter clothes can help keep your sweaters looking great, reduce how much time you spend doing laundry, and even save you money.

Easy ways to wash winter clothes

One of the easiest changes you can make is to start washing your clothes in cold water. Cold water washing cuts energy use and can trim your electric bill, while also helping to reduce your carbon footprint.

We’ve got you covered with helpful laundry tips for washing down jackets, delicate sweaters, snow boots, and all your family’s cold-weather clothing:

  • Treat slush, mud, and salt stains quickly. Though you may be tempted to wait until the season’s over, set-in stains are tougher to get out. Spray these pesky winter stains with an enzyme-based stain spray and wash as soon as you can.

  • How do you wash a down jacket? It’s a good idea to wash down coats a couple of times every season. Start by giving them a cold-water soak with a little detergent for a half hour. Then, wash on gentle and gently squeeze out excess water before drying on low. Toss in a few clean tennis balls to help them re-fluff.

  • Wear a base layer. A winter base layer (like a T-shirt or camisole) helps keep you warm, and helps keep your sweaters clean so you don’t need to wash them as often.

  • Re-wear sweaters, jeans, and pyjamas. In cooler months, we tend to sweat less, so you can feel good about wearing outer layers multiple times before washing - as long as they don’t have stains or odours. To freshen them up, tumble dry on low for a few minutes with a dryer sheet.

  • Help sweaters stay shapely. Trace your sweater’s shape on a large piece of paper. After washing, gently roll it in a towel to remove extra water, then re-shape to fit the outline. Dry flat.

  • Organise hats, scarves, and gloves in a mesh bag. Wash these items once a month to keep them fresh. A mesh bag helps keep gloves in pairs and scarves from tying your other laundry in knots.

  • Hand wash knitted sweaters or cashmere scarves with a few drops of gentle washing-up liquid. Fill a bucket or sink with cold water, add the soap, and swish the garments around. Empty the bucket, refill with cold water, and swish again until they are rinsed clean. Repeat if needed to get all the soap out.

  • Washing ‘performance clothing’ such as long underwear and fleece jackets. Wash normally with your preferred detergent, but don’t use fabric softener when drying as it can damage the fabric’s wicking properties.

  • Deodorise stinky snow boots. Soak those smelly boot inserts in a bucket filled with cold water, 120ml of white vinegar, and a capful of laundry detergent - then hang them up to dry. Use a wet soapy rag to tidy the outside of the boots, then sprinkle in some odour-neutralising baking soda before tucking those inserts back inside.

  • You can still ‘line dry’ during winter. Get creative by using the rod on your shower curtain or towel bars for drying clothes - or invest in a convenient drying rack that folds up when not in use. Air-dried clothes also add some natural humidity to the air.

  • Keep those air-dried clothes from going crunchy. Toss in 120ml of white vinegar while your laundry is rinsing to help remove extra detergent and soften clothes. Then, before hanging to dry, give them a little shake. If that stiffness sticks around, try five minutes in the dryer with a wet cloth.

  • Choose a concentrated detergent. In addition to energy and cost-saving changes like washing in cold water, you can also choose a concentrated laundry detergent.

We hope these tips help you settle into a stress-free winter laundry routine so you can enjoy the best of what winter has to offer.

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