Before I put away my sweaters and take out the tanks, I need to wash them. This is good for the health of any sweater. So much time goes into knitting a sweater; I want to make sure that I care for them so they can last as long as possible. Washing sweaters before putting them away will help deter any little critters from getting into them over the summer months.
I like to wash each sweater individually by hand, using a product like Eucalan or Soak, which are no-rinse products. I have a special bucket that I like to use. It is an oversized plastic tub that I got at a discount store and I use only for washing my hand knits. That way I am sure no chemicals accidentally get into my knits.
I begin by filling the tub with lukewarm water and some of the washing agent (read the label for specific amounts). I then gently submerge the garment in the tub and let it sit for 20 minutes or so. I check on it every few minutes and give it a gentle massage.
I then remove the garment from the tub and very gently squeeze it to release as much water as possible. Next I will roll the garment in some clean dry towels, to remove even more water from it.
Then I lay the garment flat to dry and pin it (if necessary) to the measurements I want it to be, to ensure that it dries to that shape and size. Don't leave the garment to dry in the sunlight, otherwise the front of your garment will be a different color than the back (I speak from experience on this one - please don’t make the same mistakes I have).
The last step is to wait for the garment to dry fully. You want to make sure it's completely dry before you tuck it way. There are several factors that will determine how long it takes to dry – how big the sweater is, the humidity on the day you wash it, your altitude, etc. You can also put a fan on it make it dry a little more quickly.
I store all of my out-of-season clothes in a cedar chest, which is a natural moth repellent. But I also throw in a few lavender pouches (another natural moth repellent with an added bonus of smelling nice). I know quite a few people who use rubber bins to store their sweaters and some who even go as far as taping down the lid. The important thing is for you to find something that works for you.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!