As an avid shopper at American Eagle Outfitters, you’ve likely amassed a collection of their super soft sweaters. American Eagle uses high quality fabrics like cotton, wool, cashmere, and blends in their sweater offerings. With the proper care, your American Eagle sweaters can maintain their shape, feel, and vibrancy for many seasons to come.
Washing sweaters can be tricky business. Some fabrics like 100% cotton can typically be tossed in the wash, while more delicate materials like wool and cashmere require special treatment to prevent shrinkage or damage.
American Eagle’s care tag is always the best resource for cleaning recommendations specific to the fibers in your sweater. But there are also some general best practices you can follow to safely wash American Eagle sweaters and extend their lifespan.
How to Wash American Eagle Sweaters
Read the Care Tag
The first step to washing any sweater is to check the care tag. Here you’ll find instructions like “Machine Wash Cold, Delicate Cycle” or “Dry Clean Only.” Follow these directions closely, as they are specifically designed for that garment.
Some American Eagle sweaters may say “Dry Clean Only.” While dry cleaning is gentler, it can also get expensive. For some dry clean only items, you can safely hand wash if you’re extremely delicate. But when in doubt, obey the tag.
For machine washable sweaters, adhere to any temperature or cycle instructions. Wash in cold water to prevent shrinkage, on the delicate or gentle cycle to minimize agitation, and with mild detergents. Never use bleach.
Pretreat Any Stains
Before washing, check your American Eagle sweater for any stains or heavily soiled areas. Pretreating these spots will help ensure they come out in the wash.
For food, makeup, oil, or grease stains, use a prewash spray and let it sit for 5-10 minutes. For mud or dirt stains, let the sweater soak in cold water first to loosen the soil before washing.
Be sure to test any stain removers on a small, inconspicuous area first to check for any discoloration or damage to the fabric. Avoid vigorously rubbing or scrubbing stains as this can pill knits or create holes.
Wash on Gentle/Delicate Cycle
The gentle or delicate cycle on your washing machine is going to be your new best friend. This lower agitation setting reduces friction and pulling on fabrics during the wash process.
While a normal cycle may be okay for some cotton American Eagle sweaters, it’s best to err on the side of caution and opt for the delicate cycle. This will help maintain the size, shape, and feel of all fibers.
Make sure to also wash sweaters separate from regular laundry. The delicate cycle wash coupled with their own private bath will keep them in great condition.
Use a Mild Detergent
This ties into washing on the delicate cycle, but sweater fabrics also require a gentle detergent. Look for options specifically formulated for delicates or woolens. These mild liquid detergents will get sweaters clean without stripping or fading the fibers.
Wool-based sweaters in particular do best with wool detergents, which contain special enzymes that digest and remove soils but leave the wool fibers intact.
Avoid regular laundry detergents or fabric softeners as they can be too harsh. And never use bleach on sweaters as this will damage or discolor the fabric.
Wash in Cold Water
Heat is kryptonite for sweaters. The high temperatures in warm or hot washes cause irreversible shrinkage in wool, cotton, and other fibers.
Stick to washing American Eagle sweaters in cold water every time. The fibers will relax and maintain their shape much better.
Cold water may require an extra rinse cycle to fully remove detergent residue. But it’s a small price to pay to prevent your sweater from coming out doll sized!
Zip Up Zippers & Buttons
To prevent snags, be sure to fully zip or button up American Eagle cardigans and sweaters before tossing them in the wash. If there are any decorative buttons or clasps, fasten these as well.
You can also place sweaters with zippers or buttons inside a wash bag for extra protection. Just keep the hardware fully closed.
For loose dangling ties or ribbons, tie these up in a bow. Unfastened ties can knot up or get caught in other laundry.
Use a Wash Bag
For extra peace of mind when machine washing delicate knits, place the sweater inside a mesh wash bag and zip it closed. This forms a barrier between the sweater fibers and the rest of the laundry.
The wash bag protects against pilling, pulls, snags, and catching on other garments in the load. Choose mesh bags rather than solid fabric so water can still flow through.
Be sure to zip or clasp up the sweater fully before putting it in the bag. This prevents the sweater from bunching up and stretching out.
Lay Flat to Dry
Once you’ve safely washed an American Eagle sweater, be gentle drying it as well. Lay the sweater flat on top of a towel or drying rack. Gently smooth and shape the sweater back into its original dimensions.
Let the sweater air dry completely before wearing or storing. Never put sweaters in the dryer, as this can shrink wool and cotton fibers or scorch delicate fabrics like cashmere.
If laying flat to dry isn’t possible, hang the sweater using a wide padded or wooden hanger. Do not use wire hangers! The small hook can stretch out the neckline.
- Swipe a lint roller over sweaters before washing to remove surface pills and fuzz. This cuts down on pilling in the wash.
- Turn sweaters inside out when washing to protect the outer fibers.
- Block freshly washed sweaters while drying to reshape and prevent stretched out areas.
- Hand wash extra delicate cashmere, lambswool, or fine gauge knits. Never scrub or wring — gently soak, rinse, and reshape while drying flat.
With the proper care techniques, your American Eagle sweaters can stay looking fabulous season after season. Always check the care tag first and foremost. From there, be sure to pretreat stains, wash using a gentle cycle, cold water and mild detergent, and lay flat to dry. With some smart laundry practices, you’ll keep your sweater collection in tip top shape!
How do you wash an American Eagle sweater?
Read the care tag and follow the instructions closely. Typically American Eagle sweaters should be washed in cold water using the delicate cycle and a mild detergent. Always lay flat to dry. Never use bleach, fabric softener or hot water.
Can you put American Eagle sweaters in the dryer?
No, heat from the dryer can damage fibers and cause shrinkage. Always lay American Eagle sweaters flat to dry.
What kind of detergent should you use on American Eagle sweaters?
Opt for a gentle, mild liquid detergent specially formulated for delicates and woolens. Avoid regular laundry detergent as this can be too harsh. Never use bleach on sweaters.
Should American Eagle sweaters be washed inside out?
Yes, turning sweaters inside out will protect the outer fibers from pilling. Use a mesh wash bag for extra protection.
How do you get stains out of an American Eagle sweater?
Pretreat any stained areas with a stain remover or prewash spray. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes before washing. Avoid vigorously scrubbing stains to prevent damage.
Can you put American Eagle sweaters in the washing machine?
Most American Eagle sweaters can be machine washed, but always use the delicate cycle, cold water and mild detergent. More delicate fabrics like cashmere may need hand washing.
What is the best way to dry American Eagle sweaters?
Lay flat on a towel or drying rack and gently reshape the sweater to its original dimensions. Allow to fully air dry. Never machine dry sweaters.
How can you prevent American Eagle sweaters from shrinking?
Wash in cold water only using the delicate cycle. Avoid hot water and high heat drying which causes fibers to tighten and shrink. Laying flat to air dry also prevents shrinkage.