We’ve all had to deal with an infuriatingly itchy sweater at some point in our lives. And we can all pretty much agree that it is the absolute worst. Isn’t having to layer for winter bad enough? It’s enough to make you want to pack a bag filled with all-linen everything and buy a one-way ticket somewhere the temperature doesn’t go under 70ºF. Alas, that’s not always an option—but luckily, there is a fix for your annoying scratchy knits. And it’s pretty easy.
To make your itchy sweaters less, well, itchy, all you need to do is give them some TLC. Basically, you need to treat your knits the way you do your hair. And these five steps will get you there.
Turn the perpetrator inside out and soak it in cold water and a few tablespoons of white vinegar for 15 minutes, making sure that all the fibers are thoroughly saturated. Drain.
While the sweater is still wet, gently massage a generous amount of hair conditioner into the fibers. Avoid stretching the fibers, and don’t use a cheap hair conditioner, since those usually contain waxes that will cause a weird buildup.
Let the conditioner sit on the sweater fibers for 30 minutes, then rinse thoroughly with cold water. Gently press excess water out of the knit, being careful not to stretch the garment out of shape.
Dry it flat on a towel. Once it’s fully dry, fold it neatly and place it in a large ziplock bag.
Now place the sweater in the freezer and let it sit overnight. In the morning: No more itchy sweater!
Here’s why these five steps work: The vinegar and the conditioner soften the fibers, while freezing keeps the shorter fibers from sticking out, sort of like how a cold blast from the hair dryer smooths your hair.
There are other factors to keep in mind when it comes to figuring out why your sweater is itchy in the first place.
Check the fiber content of the offensive garment. It’s possible you’re allergic to its natural fibers; wool, alpaca, cashmere, and angora are common irritants for some people. And if you’re allergic, no amount of soaking and freezing will help. Donate the sweater to Goodwill and look for knits made from acrylic instead.
Similarly, some fibers are just coarse and itchy no matter what. If you don’t feel like wearing a button-down or turtleneck under your sweater all the time, donate it. Remember: Life’s too short to deal with annoying sweaters.
Shop some of our favorite cozy sweaters for the season, below.
98.00, Urban Outfitters
99.95.00, Land's End
79.5.00, Lou & Grey
29.99.00, American Eagle
Originally Appeared on Glamour