Countertops might be the most important element of kitchen design. Hear us out: Not only do you interact with them every day, but they’re one of the first things a person notices when they walk into the space, making them a key focal point. “The countertop is also one of the few continuous materials in the kitchen, so it goes a long way toward tying the room together,” says Carrie Schulz, head of design at Block Renovation, a service that streamlines the planning, designing and building process for homeowners.At the Good Housekeeping Institute, we’ve been testing countertops for a long, long time. In fact, way back in 1908, based on experiences in the Experiment Station (a precursor to the Good Housekeeping Institute), our early experts persuaded a builder to install its kitchen counters at a comfortable height of 36 inches, establishing a standard still used today.For this report, our experts pulled together a list of the six best countertops available now, based on our latest tests, as well as insights from designers, installers and other pros in the field. There are many other options to choose from — glass, concrete and stainless steel, to name a few — but the process is daunting enough without these niche materials causing more second guessing.More From Good Housekeeping Besides being integral to kitchen design, countertops aren’t the kinds of things you swap out frequently. Choose wisely, and they’ll serve you well for as long as you live in in your home. QuartzLight, bright quartz countertops can make a kitchen feel more expansive.John KeebleA favorite of our experts, this engineered stone is named after its principal ingredient, quartz, which is held together by polymer resins. The result is an exceptionally durable, low-maintenance material that’s available in a wide range of colors and patterns, including those that resemble natural stone. Invented in Italy in 1977, quartz has emerged as a top countertop choice only in the last decade or so. “We’ve had it installed in the Good Housekeeping Institute Labs for 15 years now, with no signs of wearing,” says Rachel Rothman, executive technical director at the GH Institute. New quartz countertops from Cosentino and Caesarstone won 2022 Good Housekeeping Home Renovation awards, the former for interior use and the latter for outdoor applications. One caveat: Although quartz is extremely hard-wearing, its edges and corners can chip, so be careful with heavy pots and pans; choosing a rounded edge can also help reduce the chance of chipping. ProsLow-maintenanceWide range of colors and patternsNo sealing requiredConsSquare edges are prone to chippingHighest-grade lines are priceyCost: $60 to $230 per square foot, installed. (Note that the wide price range is due to the different available grades, from low to mid to high quality.)Use and care: One of the best things about quartz is that it doesn’t need to be sealed. But you still need to wipe spills promptly and do an occasional deep-clean with a nonabrasive cleaner; Carolyn Forté, executive director of the Home Care & Cleaning Lab, likes Soft Scrub Gel with Bleach Cleaner.GraniteGranite countertops remain popular in traditional-style homes. JamesBreyThough its prevalence has waned some since the granite heyday of the 1990s and 2010s, this natural stone remains popular, especially in traditional-style homes. It comes in an array of colors, from blue pearl to Vyara gold, and its pattern can be flecked, speckled or veined. As with any natural stone, uniqueness is a big part of the allure, since no two slabs are the same. “In our tests, granite has fended off knife cuts, scratches and heat, making for a highly durable work surface,” says Alec Scherma, test engineer at the Good Housekeeping Institute. Sealed granite is also stain-resistant. But as with quartz, edges and corners can chip, so it’s worth considering a rounded edge if your kitchen gets a lot of use.ProsExtremely durableNatural beautyComes in a rich array of colorsConsNot as popular as in the pastNeeds sealing to be stain-resistantCost: $50 to $130 per square foot, installed.Use and care: Wipe counters with a nonabrasive sponge or cloth dipped in warm water and mild dishwashing liquid. Once a year, apply a spray-on sealant, following the manufacturer’s instructions. After allowing the sealant ample time to dry, buff the counter with a dry cloth.MarbleDistinctive veining is a hallmark of marble countertops.PBNJ ProductionsThis classic building material is synonymous with luxury, and it remains in fashion today, thanks in part to the enduring popularity of all-white kitchens. You can also find marble slabs in other colors, including captivating greens, reds and blues. Marble’s biggest differentiator is its incredible veining, which can bring mesmerizing pattern play to the kitchen. On the other hand, marble is a soft, porous material, meaning it stains and scratches easily. Some people are OK with this and think of the blemishes as a patina. But if you want your pure-white marble countertops to stay that way, you’ll need to be extremely fastidious. ProsConveys enduring luxuryDeep veining and pattern playMakes for an excellent baking stationConsProne to staining and scratchingVery expensiveCost: $70 to $130 per square foot, installed.Use and care: Because marble stains easily, treating it at least once a year with a food-grade penetrating sealer will provide some measure of protection. (When a drop of water soaks in, it’s time to reseal.) Marble also chips and scratches easily, so be sure to use trivets under heavy pots and pans.LaminateLaminate is a less-expensive way to give the kitchen a face-lift.AlphotographicDeveloped by Formica, decorative laminate was first used as a tabletop surface in restaurants, cafes and nightclubs of the 1930s. Then, it took off in kitchens in the 1950s with the rise of graphic patterns. It’s still in vogue today, especially with homeowners who are going for a retro, mid-century modern look. The biggest upside to laminate is its low cost. Laminate is also excellent at resisting stains, impact and heat. Keep in mind it clearly looks like a synthetic material (most versions have a colored top layer over a dark base, which shows at the edges). It also has seams, which can be unsightly and are also a source of potential water penetration, especially if installation isn’t just right.ProsExcellent valueRetro appealResists stains, impact and heatConsLooks synthetic, even natural patternsSeams can lead to water penetration Cost: $40 to $80 per square foot, installed.Use and care: Though laminate will generally fend off stains, it scratches easily, so always use a cutting board while working in the kitchen. Self-cleaning waxes made for cars can heighten the shine on dull laminate countertops.WoodButcher-block countertops offer a naturalistic look.Andreas von EinsiedelAnother timeless material, wood has been used as a work surface in kitchens for centuries. It became a go-to countertop material in the 1970s with the emergence of butcher block, a chopping-friendly surface made of bonded-together strips of maple or another hardwood. Nowadays, you might also see wood countertops made of less-familiar species, like teak and mahogany.ProsNatural warmth and beautyExcellent surface for chopping and meal prepCan last indefinitely if properly maintainedConsMonthly treatments requiredDings easilyCost: $30 to $170 per square foot, installed.Use and care: Treated butcher block can last for decades. To prevent cracking, apply a monthly coating of food-grade mineral oil, like GH Seal Star Furniture Clinic Wood Cutting Board Oil. Let it penetrate overnight, then buff with a cloth.PorcelainPorcelain can bring a unique beauty to kitchen countertops. CrossvilleThis material is a relative newcomer to the countertop category, but we’re including it in this roundup because it’s fast becoming a favorite of designers and homeowners alike. Made from fine, dense clay and fired at a high temperature, porcelain is nonporous and exceptionally hard, making it durable and easy to maintain. It comes in large-format tiles and panels, allowing for countertops with a clean, contemporary look and minimal seams or grout lines. Crossville porcelain tile panels by Laminam were named a winner in Good Housekeeping’s 2022 Home Renovation Awards on the strength of those attributes. ProsExtremely hard-wearingLow-maintenanceTrendy “newcomer” appealConsProne to chipping and crackingOn the pricey sideCost: $70 to $130 per square foot, installed.Use and care: The glaze on porcelain countertops means they don’t need to be sealed. For daily maintenance and cleaning, use hot water and a mild dish soap applied with a soft cloth. Despite its strength, some porcelain is prone to cracking and chipping, especially ultracompact panels, so be careful not to drop heavy items on it.How we choose the best countertopsOur experts deploy a range of Lab tests to measure countertop performance. To assess stain resistance, they slather stubborn ingredients, such as wine, mustard and chocolate, onto countertop samples, let them dry and then remove them with paper towels and all-purpose cleaner. A tester removes dried-on wine, ketchup, chocolate and mustard from a porcelain countertop sample to measure its stain resistance.Philip FriedmanOur experts use an abrasion machine to determine each material’s ability to fend off scratches; top products can withstand hundreds of passes with a fine-grit sandpaper wheel without any signs of distress. An impact machine is used to determine a countertop’s ability to withstand dents and dings, like those from a falling cast-iron pan. Over the decades, we’ve also installed various countertops in our labs and the homes of our experts, which enables us to assess performance, longevity and maintenance in real-world conditions.Although quartz is extremely durable, it can chip at the edges, as one of our testers learned from a prolonged at-home evaluation.Dan DiClerico/Good Housekeeping Institute In addition to comprehensive testing, our experts keep tabs on the countertop market by attending trade shows and industry events, including Surfaces and the Kitchen and Bath Industry Show. We also check in regularly with the design community, as well as contractors, fabricators and installers, to stay ahead of design trends and issues related to the supply chain and labor market. What to consider when choosing countertops for your homeIt’s natural to focus on looks when choosing a new kitchen countertop, but there are other factors to consider too. Schulz talks about the three-legged stool of aesthetics, functionality and cost when zeroing in on the perfect countertop material. “You want to make sure the countertop will fit into your budget before you fall in love with it,” she says. “How the material wears and how hard you’ll have to work to keep it looking new are also key to the decision process.”Here are more expert insights into those three key factors:✔️ Aesthetics: Our experts say it’s best to ignore trends and choose the pattern and color that you love the most. But if you think you might be selling your home soon, it pays to stay close to current design trends. Light, neutral hues with minimal pattern play continue to curry favor, which has helped drive interest to quartz. “A lot of homeowners still want to keep it simple and clean,” Schulz says. For those looking to make more of a statement with their countertops, materials with dramatic veining, including marble and other natural stones, are a popular choice.If you go the dramatic route, it’s important to work closely with your installer on the placement and positioning of adjoining slabs so that veining lines up. “If you end up with a pattern mismatch, it will drive you crazy every day,” Schulz says.Don’t forget about the backsplash, since it’s another strong visual element in the kitchen. Whereas subway tile and other contrasting surfaces still have their place, many homeowners are now choosing to use the same material from the countertop up the backsplash, creating a sense of continuity and cohesion. ✔️ Care and maintenance: Think about the porosity of the countertop and the finish. A nonporous material with a polished finish is unlikely to absorb anything, making it stain-resistant. Honed finishes, in which the surface has been ground down to give the countertop a softer, matte feel, require a bit more care, but you might be willing to put up with that for the softer feel and reduction in glare. A porous material like marble with a honed finish will require near-obsessive upkeep (regular sealings throughout the year, lightning-fast cleanup of spills, treatment of etch marks with a special poultice, etc.) to keep the surface looking new. Bottom line: Do you want to fuss over your countertops or keep maintenance mainly to a daily wipe down?✔️ Cost: Most homeowners spend about $3,000 on the installation of new countertops, according to Angi, the home services marketplace. But the price tag can go as high as $8,000 (and even higher for imported materials, like calacatta marble from Italy or a Van Gogh granite from Brazil) and as low as $400 for entry-level laminate. Of course, the actual cost depends on the size of the countertop, so it’s good to look at square-footage prices. You should expect to spend around $40 per square foot for affordable materials, like entry-level laminate and butcher block, and $150 or more per square foot for a rare natural stone or top-quality quartz. That doesn’t include edge treatments, which add another $5 per linear foot for a standard square edge, all the way up to $60 per linear foot for an S-shaped ogee, which adds decorative flair and also reduces the risk of chipping. Where are the best places to shop for kitchen countertops?If you’re working with an architect or a designer on a full kitchen remodel, they can help guide you through the shopping process. But if you’re managing the project on your own, you’ll need to do your own research. Keep in mind that the lead time on countertop deliveries can be several months, especially amid ongoing supply chain challenges. Here are three places to get a jump on the process:✔️ Home centers: Big-box retailers like The Home Depot and More
Painting a room is one of the most DIY-friendly home-improvement projects, but it’s not like you do it every day. It’s easy to forget the basics, from surface prep to mixing the paint. Then there’s the matter of cleaning your brushes after calling it quits for the day. Most of us have had the experience of returning to a paint project, only to find brushes that are a hard, clumpy mess. Given the rising price of quality brushes (upwards of $15 for a single pack), that’s a waste of money, not to mention the time lost running back to the home center or hardware store. At the Good Housekeeping Institute, our experts have been testing paints for decades, so they know the best ways to get brushes clean and ready for the next task at hand, whether it’s in a few hours or a few weeks. For this how-to article, we also checked in with pros in the field — the ones who really are tackling paint projects every day. Here’s a simple step-by-step guide for getting the longest life out of your brushes. More From Good Housekeeping 1. Choose your cleaning agent based on paint typeFor water-based paints, like latex and acrylic, which most projects these days call for, plain water will do the trick. “We also like to use a little drop of dish soap to help with ease of cleaning brushes,” says Shannon Duvall of HD Painting and Stain, based in Belleville, Illinois, and member ambassador of the Painting Contractors Association. Here’s how to get cleaning: Fill a small bucket or tray with soapy water. For best results, use warm water.Press the brushes into the bottom of the container in a rapid back-and-forth motion. That will work the water into the heel of the brush, all the way to the ferrule, where the bristles connect to the handle. Replace the water two or three times, continuing to press and work the brushes back and forth, until most of the paint is removed. Squeeze the bristles by hand. Then, rinse the brushes thoroughly at the sink, again using warm water. For oil-based paints — whose hard, durable finish is suited to furniture, stair banisters and other high-touch surfaces — you’ll need to use a chemical cleaner, like mineral spirits, paint thinner or turpentine. Fill a small cup or jar about halfway with chemical cleaner. Submerge the bristles for 30 seconds.Remove the brush, and wipe the bristles against a hard, clean surface.Repeat the process until the paint is gone. Then rinse at the sink in warm water.Caution: When using chemical cleaners, make sure you’re in a well-ventilated area, since solvent fumes are toxic.2. Do a deeper cleanNo matter how aggressively you clean your brushes in water or solvent, some paint is liable to remain. If you waited too long to clean the brushes and the paint has started to harden, this will certainly be the case. Use a wire brush — the same kind used for surface prep — to remove any dried-on paint. Deploy long, gentle strokes, like brushing your hair, so as not tug too many bristles loose from the ferrule. 3. Dry and store the brushes Once your brushes are clean and ready for the next project, it’s important to dry them out as much as possible. Start by giving them a few vigorous shakes. Then squeeze them in a bunch of paper towels or a clean cloth towel.Store the brushes properly to prevent damage to the bristles. If you’re planning to use them again the next day, wrap them in aluminum foil or plastic wrap to keep them fresh. For longer-term storage, many pros keep their brushes in resealable plastic bags. Or you can invest in plastic paintbrush protectors.How to clean paint rollers Paint rollers, the ideal tool for large expanses of wall or ceiling, are even more important to clean thoroughly after every use, since their fibers (a.k.a. “nap”) hold so much paint. The same choice of cleaning agent applies: warm, soapy water for water-based latex and acrylic paints, and a chemical solvent for oil-based paints.Squeeze excess paint back into the can. You can put gloves on and use your hands for this, but our experts recommend a five-in-one paint tool, whose curved scraper is the perfect shape for the job. A putty knife or other straight edge will also do the trick. Roll off any remaining paint. Going back over a freshly painted section of wall is one strategy, or reach for some old newspaper — anything that will let you make a few passes to get off the last remnants of paint. Do a deep-clean. At this point, it’s best to take the cover off its roller frame and put on plastic gloves.• For water-based paints, fill a bucket with warm, soapy water and wash the cover by hand with repeated squeezing motions; replace the water as needed until it runs clean with every squeeze.• For oil-based paints, add enough solvent to a long, flat container to submerge the cover (a paint tray is ideal). Let the cover sit for about five minutes, agitating it by hand every so often to loosen the paint. If necessary, repeat the process with a fresh supply of solvent. Dry the covers. Stand them on end to prevent the fibers from getting crushed. If you used chemical solvents, make sure to dry the covers in a well-ventilated area. Store dry covers in resealable plastic bags or another airtight container. Having written thousands of product reviews and how-to articles on all aspects of home ownership, from routine maintenance to major renovations, Dan (he/him) brings more than 20 years of industry experience to his role as the director of the Home Improvement & Outdoor Lab at the Good Housekeeping Institute. A one-time roofer and a serial remodeler, Dan can often be found keeping house at his restored Brooklyn brownstone, where he lives with his wife and kids.
This content is imported from OpenWeb. You may be able to find the same content in another format, or you may be able to find more information, at their web site. More
Cleaning has always been a part of home life. But if there’s anything we’ve learned in the last few years of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s that knowing how to clean your home essentials and spaces properly is crucial to helping protect the health and safety of ourselves and those we love.Good Housekeeping’s Discover Cleaning 2022: The Clean, Healthy & Happy Home summit, in partnership with the American Cleaning Institute (ACI), focused on this increased need while highlighting the latest advancements in the world of clean. Industry experts, including Good Housekeeping’s very own Carolyn Forté, Executive Director of the Home Appliances & Cleaning Products Lab, gathered for the two-hour virtual event on October 26 to focus on providing helpful, affordable solutions for consumers to clean kitchens and bathrooms, maintain good air quality, eliminate dust and conquer the laundry room. For those who couldn’t attend, we have all the highlights right here. Stream the entire summit for yourself on our event site or watch the individual panels below. WATCH THE ENTIRE SUMMIT HEREOpening RemarksCarolyn ForteExecutive Director, GH Home Appliances & Cleaning Products Lab+Brian SansoniSenior Vice President, Communications, Outreach & Membership, American Cleaning Institutejames kegleyGood Housekeeping’s Carolyn Forté and ACI’s Brian Sansoni happily welcomed streamers to the third annual virtual Discover Cleaning summit. Brian introduced the wide variety of experts that would be featured spanning across industries including cleaning, medical, indoor air quality, apparel, appliance and home design.WATCH NOWKickoff ChatLaurie JenningsDirector, Good Housekeeping Institute+Melissa HockstadPresident & CEO, American Cleaning Institute+Laurie Jennings and Melissa Hockstad began the summit by elaborating on the longstanding partnership between Good Housekeeping and ACI, and how cleaning has been a core part of the magazine brand’s 137-year history. Melissa made the note that no matter where you come from or what you do, everyday hygiene and cleaning practices are essential to our public health and our quality of life. She even touched on last year’s theme, Cleaning is Caring, a theme that will continue well beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.WATCH NOWGerm Warfare: A Kitchen & Bathroom CounterattackLisa YakasSenior Products Manager, Home Product Certification/Consumer Products at NSF International+Adam GibsonPresident, Adam Gibson Design, CMKBD, CPP, CLIPP, CAPSAdam GibsonHeidi KapustR&D Manager Retail Core Cleaning, The Clorox Company+Monique ValerisSenior Home Editor, Good Housekeeping+Monique Valeris led a lively discussion with Lisa Yakas, Adam Gibson and Heidi Kapust about germ exposure, specifically in the kitchen and bathroom, the hot spots for bacteria that can often be overlooked and home design trends that can make cleaning easier. Lisa discussed studies that show most consumers forget to clean the germiest areas, which are often places that are moist or dark and contain cracks or crevices. Heidi emphasized the importance of consumers understanding what their cleaning products actually do and using the right one for the surface they are cleaning. Adam shared insight on different home trends that actually make cleaning more manageable, like the use of copper, which is a natural antimicrobial. The conversation also highlighted the importance of understanding the difference between cleaning, sanitizing and disinfecting, the high-contact areas that need to be cleaned more frequently, how new products are using less packaging to cut down on waste and the one cleaning tool that actually might be breeding more bacteria than killing it.WATCH NOWLaundry Lowdown: Discovering the New & ImprovedKen RudolphSenior Director, Product Management, GE Appliances+Jennifer AhoniScientific Communications Director, Principal Scientist, P&G+Bethany BonneyRaw Materials Specialist, L.L. Bean+Carolyn ForteExecutive Director, GH Home Appliances & Cleaning Products Lab+Carolyn moderated this panel, which tackled all things laundry — detergents, appliances, fabrics, clothing and more. Jennifer tackled the common mistakes many make when washing clothes. She highlighted that some use products incorrectly, like confusing fabric softener for detergent and over-stuffing the machine with clothes. Ken emphasized Heidi’s point from the previous panel about reading labels and touched on how smart machines have helped consumers wash clothes more efficiently by taking out the guesswork. Bethany discussed ways to lower your carbon footprint when doing laundry and the need to understand the fabrics of your clothes. The panel also addressed what consumers specifically look for and prioritize in their machines nowadays, how big brands use the power of social media to educate consumers and common questions about laundry safety.WATCH NOW ACI’s Safety Tips The American Cleaning Institute shared a video message discussing the evolution of liquid laundry packets and safety tips parents and caregivers need to keep in mind to prevent accidental exposures from happening at home. WATCH NOWA Sensitive Subject: Dealing with Dust and Other AllergensDr. John RyanChief Strategy Officer, Allergy Standards LTD+Lenny SciarrinoPresident/CEO, Granite Gold/Guardsman, Inc.+Glory Dolphin HammesCEO, IQair North America, Air Quality Expert+Jeffrey PhillipInterior Designer & Professional Organizer+Those with sensitive noses were happy to get some answers on dealing with dust and allergens. Led by Jeffrey Phillip, this panel discussed the common problem and consequences of air pollutants within the home. Glory Dolphin Hammes shared that the air quality in most homes is actually five to 100 times worse than outdoor air because of some heating sources. She also revealed how using candles to make the home smell better can contribute to poor air quality and how some cleaning methods create more dust and allergens. Lenny Sciarrino shared the importance of using proper fabrics to dust and clean, like cotton rags instead of a feather duster. Dr. John Ryan went on to talk about the extra issues that come with pet dander. The panel also talked about “damp dusting,” whether you should vacuum before or after you dust and the need to focus on preventing buildup. WATCH NOW Fireside Chat: Cleaning House for Today and TomorrowJane FranciscoEditor in Chief, Good Housekeeping, and Editorial Director, Hearst Lifestyle Group+Jan HeckPresident and CEO, Miele USA and Board of Directors, NKBAJosh LeClairJane Francisco had a one-on-one chat with Jan Heck. The two discussed what it is like being at the forefront of innovation in the cleaning industry. Jan talked about the need for better laundry care and creating sustainable practices and products. The two also chatted about the differences in cleaning patterns and behaviors among places like North America and Europe and how global data allows Miele USA to provide products that check the boxes for consumers across the world. WATCH NOW Closing RemarksCarolyn ForteExecutive Director, GH Home Appliances & Cleaning Products Lab+Brian SansoniSenior Vice President, Communications, Outreach & Membership, American Cleaning Institutejames kegleyCarolyn and Brian returned to wrap up the summit. They recapped the panels and elaborated on new information they learned over the course of the event and again emphasized that when it comes to keeping ourselves, loved ones and homes healthy and happy, cleaning is a crucial way to show that we care. WATCH NOWAnnie O’Sullivan (she/her) covers holiday, gift guide, travel, and lifestyle content at Good Housekeeping. She has a degree in magazine journalism from Syracuse University and previously reported for Runner’s World, NBC New York/NY 4 and Woman’s Day. Annie also has experience writing entertainment news and celebrity-focused content. More
Whether you’re a beginner DIYer or an expert crafter in search of your next project, the GH Stitch Club has you covered with crochet, macramé and knitting projects you can make at home. Follow this easy guide on how to knit a scarf for beginners using one simple stitch. It’s the perfect colorful accessory to keep you warm all season long. In the video above, Mariana Tuma, Good Housekeeping’s design director and textile crafts extraordinaire, demonstrates how to knit a garter stitch scarf from beginning to end. Follow our simple guide for instructions and watch the video for step-by-step visuals.How to Knit a Garter Stitch ScarfWhat You Need:Order our kit for all the necessary materialsFour balls of Patons Norse yarnPair of 8.00 mm knitting needles ScissorsTip: On the yarn’s label, you’ll see a guide noting what size knitting needle or crochet hook to use. Step 1: Create a slip knot. Create a slip knot to place on your needle by making a loop with your yarn and pulling it through the tail. Insert one of your needles and tighten it slightly. Tip: Make sure your working yarn is on the left side and your tail end is on the right side.Step 2: Use the backward loop method.Loop the yarn around your thumb, then insert the needle from left to right to move the loop to your needle. Do this until you have 40 stitches on your needle. Tip: Make the stitches loose, as you have to slip the other needle underneath each loop. Step 3: Start knitting. Create the first knit stitch on your right needle: Insert the needle from left to right into the first stitch. Wrap yarn over from left to right. Pull the yarn through to create a loop on your right-hand needle. Slide off a stitch from the left-hand needle. Repeat these steps until you reach the end of the row.Next row: Turn your work around, so that the needle with the stitches is in your left hand and the loose needle is in your right hand. Repeat the previous instructions to knit this row. Continue knitting each row until you’re ready to incorporate the next ball of yarn. Tip: Knitting each row is called a garter stitch. Step 4: Switch colors.Cut the working end of the yarn from the ball, leaving a tail. Insert your needle and loop your new color yarn over the top, making sure you’re pulling from the ball and not the tail end. Knit the stitch per usual.Continue the original knitting pattern until you’ve finished the new yarn. Step 5: Cast off.Knit the first two stitches in your row. Using your left-hand needle, pull the first stitch over the second stitch on your right-hand needle and remove the left-hand needle. You should now have just one stitch on your right-hand needle.Knit the next stitch on your left-hand needle. Then repeat, pulling the first stitch on the right-hand needle over the second and removing the left-hand needle. You should have just one stitch on your right-hand needle.Repeat these steps until only one stitch remains on the right-hand needle.Cut the yarn away from the ball to leave a 6″ tail and pull through the last stitch to secure. Don’t forget: Using a darning needle, weave the tail end of the yarn in and out of the stitches. Mariah Thomas (she/her) is an assistant editor for Good Housekeeping, where she covers home and lifestyle content. Mariah has more than four years of editorial experience, having written for TLC, Apartment Therapy, Women’s Health and Avocado Magazine. She received her master’s degree in journalism at the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism and published her first book, Heart and Soul: Poems of Thoughts and Emotions, in 2019. She’s also the founder of RTF Community, a platform for creatives of color to connect, learn and showcase their work. This content is imported from OpenWeb. You may be able to find the same content in another format, or you may be able to find more information, at their web site. More
Shortly after her mother passed away, Paula, 33, began to feel a strong urge to hold on to artifacts that were reminiscent of her, such as her hairbrush and a basket of shells collected on a family vacation to St. Simon Island. But what began as a means of coping with grief quickly morphed into something more. After her beloved grandparents also passed, Paula inherited additional pieces to which she felt connected, like her grandmother’s paint brushes, canning jars and miniature display plates. In addition to the emotional attachment she felt toward her late loved ones’ former belongings, Paula felt a sense of responsibility as their keeper — and a lot of guilt at the thought of getting rid of anything. Over the decades that followed, her children and husband frequently pleaded with her to declutter, but she “struggled to do it because what they saw as insignificant or unimportant was extremely important to me,” she says. Even if you’ve never inherited a loved ones’ things, it’s common to feel a sense of agony over cleaning out your closet or simply dealing with the ever-growing clutter on your desk. Many of us have deep, sometimes subconscious, connections to our stuff, which can require more than decluttering. The stronger the hold our stuff has on us, the greater the risk of developing a problematic attachment to objects. Here’s how to tell when you’ve gone too far.More From Good Housekeeping Object attachment isn’t necessarily pathologicalAn inclination to hold on to items is completely normal, and most of us have some sort of a relationship with our stuff, says psychologist and object attachment expert Keong Yap, DPsych of Australian Catholic University. This is particularly true following a major life event such as the loss of a loved one or a big move. It becomes a problem when those feelings lean toward extremes, Yap explains. Most people have cherished objects they’d find difficult to discard that carry positive associations for us, and negative emotions arise when they go missing. But people who want to hold on to possessions don’t necessarily have hoarding disorder. According to a recent study by Yap and colleagues, those with HD associate both positive and negative emotions with their adored items. Feeling simultaneously happy, anxious and sad about one’s belongings can be indicative of an insecure relationship with them.A study published in Pyschotraumatol explains that, since humans are a social species, a history of interpersonal trauma or loneliness can push us to overcompensate, sometimes by buying and forming relationships with possessions instead. This stems from being unable to trust people and instead putting faith in objects, Yap explains. Tom Hanks’ character’s relationship with Wilson the volleyball in Castaway is one example of this. All alone on an island with no other humans, Hanks had to form a relationship with Wilson to cope. Object attachment can often be traced back to childhoodAccording to Yap, object attachment often appears to develop later in life, but many, like Paula, trace its roots back to childhood. As we age, we tend to have more money than when we were younger, so attachment tendencies we’ve always had become more obvious with our newfound ability to buy stuff to comfort ourselves. Tendencies we had as children to self-soothe with a security blanket or favorite stuffed toy in the absence of secure parents or caretakers can crop up again as a coping mechanism as we grow older, explains cognitive behavioral psychologist Elspeth Bell, Ph.D. As adults, object attachment can serve the same purpose as retail therapy, as a way to soothe ourselves through adverse circumstances.Related StoryWhat triggers emotional attachment varies from person to person, says Bell. For Paula, whose father was in the Navy, moving around a lot as a kid left her without a strong sense of home. Frequent moves also meant she couldn’t bring many physical items with her from location to location. Bereavement can also be a huge trigger because rarely do people suddenly inherit an entire house full of items except in conjunction with grief, according to Bell and Yap. That combination of factors can set off a tendency toward hoarding. This was certainly the case for Paula, who credits losing her mother with setting off her desire to hold onto things. Even though she noticed the connection as it was happening, she failed to do anything about it out of fear that the happy memories her stuff evoked would disappear if she let go of the items themselves.Nico De Pasquale Photography//Getty ImagesSociety reinforces our need to gather goodsToday’s consumerist society constantly encourages us to buy, buy, buy, with endless advertisements for products we “can’t live without.” This environment combined with even the slightest inclination to hold on to items can create or exacerbate a tendency toward outsize object attachment.At the same time, we can’t get away from messaging about decluttering, whether it’s Marie Kondo encouraging you to get rid of whatever doesn’t spark joy, television series cheering people on for cleaning up or a new IKEA catalog (or Good Housekeeping article) suggesting specific furniture to organize your home. None of this is motivating for those with an outsize attachment to objects, who likely already know they need to throw out a few boxes (or more), says Yap. Instead, messaging focused on decluttering can invoke shame and makes those with problematic bonds to their stuff even less inclined to address the issue. However, recent design trends show signs of a shift. Maximalism has become more prevalent in interior design, according to design expert Annika Hansteen-Izora. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, many of us have spent more time at home, which led to a spike in home improvement projects over the past two years. That reflects “a wider trend of some people whose lives slowed down,” according to Hansteen-Izora. “People are thinking about what they hold important in life and finding ways to make that importance reflect in various areas, whether that be the design of their home, picking up new hobbies or switching careers.” Many of Bell’s clients say that bears out in their own experiences as well, as they feel a greater sense of security when surrounded by their things. Stuff can also serve as an identity marker that people are reluctant to give up. Hansteen-Izora and Bell both note that objects can instill a sense of self. For example, if you express yourself through fashion, it may be difficult to let go of clothes, even if you don’t wear them anymore.How to recognize when you’re getting too attached If your attachment to stuff is getting in the way of your life, you may want to seek help. Paula struggled when loved ones encouraged her to get rid of her things, and she still does. But she recently completed a big clean-out of her house with the help of her children. “I’d like to say it’s easier today than it used to be, but it’s really not,” she says. “It’s been a lifelong struggle. I’m just more able to handle it now.” She credits her supportive family and says their conversations over the years helped her realize that her loved ones didn’t have the same attachment to the things she was clinging to. Their encouragement made it easier to let things go, a little bit at a time. If you find yourself having strained conversations with loved ones over accumulating items or the state of your home is getting in the way of meaningful relationships, that’s a sign your attachment to stuff might be a problem, according to Bell and Yap. For example, if you can’t use a room in your house anymore because it’s too overrun with things or you’re embarrassed to invite friends over due to lack of space or the state of your home, you may be heading into problematic territory. Where to seek helpThe International OCD Foundation has a webpage dedicated to the topic of hoarding disorder and is running an online conference in March 2023, for affected individuals and family members. Additionally, the Institute for Challenging Disorganization operates a database of professional organizers, including numerous experts who are familiar with the mental health element of object attachment and can adjust their approach accordingly.And finally, remember that just because you can’t throw out your grandpa’s favorite sweater or your childhood keepsakes doesn’t mean you have a problem. “Emotional attachment to objects is completely normal,” Yap explains. Having things and relationships or sentimental feelings towards them is human nature, as long as you’re still able to treasure people over things. Sydney is a writer and international education professional from Seattle. She has lived in Sydney and Montreal, is currently based in Luxembourg, speaks French, a bit of German, and is always on the lookout for the next adventure! This content is imported from OpenWeb. You may be able to find the same content in another format, or you may be able to find more information, at their web site. More
Dust is inevitable. That’s because dust is buildup created by airborne particles of fine, dry matter — pollen, skin flakes, fabric particles, dirt and sand. Just about anything in your home, and outside of it for that matter, can add to the amount of dust in your home. Because of this, it can seem like you can never completely get rid of dust — and that’s a problem not only for aesthetic reasons, but also because household invaders like dust mites can cause issues for allergy sufferers, according to the Asthma and Allergy foundation of America. But there are a few things that can help to really cut down on the amount of dust in your home. For starters, keep your windows closed to help prevent pollen and other outdoor pollutants from infiltrating your rooms. To prevent dust, you should also consider placing doormats in front of every entrance and vacuuming often if you have wall-to-wall carpeting, which tends to trap dust. Mattresses can be another hot-spot for dust mites, so make sure yours is in a mattress protector, plus it helps to buy bedding and pillows that can be regularly washed in hot water. For the best results, you’ll also likely want to amend your current cleaning routine, too, says cleaning expert Carolyn Forté, executive director of the Home Care & Cleaning Lab at the Good Housekeeping Institute. According to her, you should be dusting your furniture once per week and doing a deeper dust — think light fixtures and blinds — once per month. Every three to six months, you’ll also want to clean under and behind furniture, vacuum mattresses and wash pillows and comforters. But this is just the starting point. Because dust is so prevalent, you’ll find it in just about every nook and cranny of your home — some harder to reach than others. Here you’ll find targeted strategies for getting rid of dust in all areas of your house, plus the best tools for making it happen.For basic dustingFirst, put down the feather duster. No matter what you may have been told, they are far from helpful. “This tool simply spreads dust from one surface to another,” Carolyn says. Instead, you can more successfully capture dust with a soft cloth lightly dampened with water or a furniture dusting spray, a microfiber duster or an electrostatic duster, which use static electricity to pick up more dust particles.Dusting EssentialsFor dusting electronicsComputers, speakers, printers and TVs are notorious dust magnets. Always unplug the equipment before cleaning. A gentle swipe with a microfiber cloth usually does the job, while a soft, long-handled microfiber duster will collect dust from crevices. Be sure to vacuum dust from around cords and vents because, along with pet hair, it can clog machines or outlets.For getting rid of dust on hardwood floorsVacuum your hardwood floors at least weekly and wet clean them every one to two months (more or less frequently, depending on traffic). For surface-treated floors, spray a small 3-foot by 3-foot area with a hardwood floor cleaner like Bona Hardwood Floor Cleaner Spray and pick up any dissolved dirt with a microfiber mop. Repeat, working in small areas, until the entire floor is clean.For dusting ceilings, walls and baseboardsFor ceiling-to-floor cleaning, a top-performing vacuum with multiple attachments is the most efficient tool. Look for a machine that comes with a hose, extension wands and either a small round dusting brush or a bare floor brush, advises Carolyn. It’s also helpful to look for a vacuum with a replaceable or washable HEPA filter, since these are capable of capturing smaller particles of dust. Alternatively, a dry Swiffer Sweeper works just as well, plus is a convenient option, because the cloth is disposable. When dusting walls, work from the top down to capture the most dust without making a mess. For baseboards, start by vacuuming with the vacuum’s round brush to remove dust. Then, tackle dingy spots using a wet cloth. Lightly spray it with water or an all-purpose cleaning solution, like Lysol All-Purpose Cleaner and run it over baseboards to whisk debris away in a flash. More Dusting EssentialsFor getting rid of dust in carpetsWhen it comes to carpets, an ounce of prevention goes a long way. Try implementing a no-shoes-in-the-house rule, stashing extra slippers or flip-flops next to the door to help make it easier to adopt this new habit. You can also regularly use a rechargeable stick vacuum in your entryway to collect dirt before it makes its way into your carpet. It also helps to place doormats outside your door, so everyone can wipe their feet before they go inside. Of course, you’ll also want to clean your carpets with a vacuum equipped with a HEPA filter regularly. Our pros love the Miele Complete C3 Canister Vacuum, since it has a HEPA filter as well as five power settings to work on all carpet heights and densities.For dusting ceiling fansTurn off the power source, then remove loose dust with an extendable duster or the extension hose on your vacuum cleaner. Alternatively, you can grab a step stool and dust both sides of the blade with a dry microfiber cloth. To capture any remaining fine particles, wet a clean microfiber cloth with a grease-cutting all-purpose cleaner and wipe down both sides of the blades once more.For dusting behind appliancesOver time, crumbs, grease and other debris accumulate behind your stove and refrigerator, providing a food source for insects and other pests. If possible, move the appliance out from the wall and unplug. Then, use your vacuum’s crevice tool attachment to remove loose dirt and dust. If any dust remains, you can use a long-handled, slightly damp sponge mop to lift dust from the back of the appliance. To finish, wipe down the floor and the wall with a microfiber cloth and hot sudsy water.For dusting vents and filtersRemove heavy dust from ceiling, floor or appliance vents with a soft-brush vacuum attachment or electrostatic mop, like the Swiffer Sweeper). (You can also use a long-handled microfiber duster.) Then, dampen a microfiber cloth and wipe the surface. And don’t forget about your air conditioner filters — whether it’s a window unit or a central air system, routine AC cleaning and maintenance is key to the performance and longevity of the unit. Always follow your unit’s manufacturer cleaning recommendations, but you can usually wash removable foam window air-conditioning filters in hot soapy water, rinse well and air-dry before reinstalling. For dusting curio cabinetsTo get at dust trapped in tiny nooks and intricate carvings, use a clean natural-bristle paint or makeup brush, then wipe with a microfiber cloth. For dusting fabric furniture and soft toys Use a garment steamer on fabric furniture and bean bags, teddy bears or fabric dolls to release odors and kill dust mites near the surface, says Carolyn. Then, vacuum each one with your machine’s upholstery or fabric attachment. Some plush toys can also take a spin in the washing machine, but be sure to check the tag before doing so, otherwise you risk damaging the item.For removing dust floating in the airWhile regular cleaning will help keep the dust in your home to a minimum, the harsh reality is that you can never capture it all. But air purifiers really work to help capture some of what you may have missed — at least as far as household allergens like dust mites and pet dander are concerned. Run a top-rated air purifier equipped with a HEPA filter, like the Levoit Core 400S Smart True HEPA Air Purifier, all the time when you’re home. Related StoriesLauren is a senior editor at Hearst. She was previously the senior editor at WomansDay.com and the home editor at GoodHousekeeping.com and HouseBeautiful.com. Her book club, ramen, and jean jackets are a few of her favorite things.Brigitt is a writer, editor and craft stylist with nearly 15 years of experience. She specializes in creating SEO and e-commerce content across a variety of lifestyle topics, including home, health, parenting, beauty, style, food, entertaining, travel and weddings. She also has significant experience creating native and branded content.This content is imported from OpenWeb. You may be able to find the same content in another format, or you may be able to find more information, at their web site. More
If you’re well-seasoned or new to the world of crafts and DIYs, the GH Stitch Club is the perfect place to learn how to crochet, knit, macramé and more. There are helpful how-to videos as well as the latest tips and tricks to keep your family engaged and creative. As the months get colder, you may be looking to pick up a new hobby or project, making our simple guide on how to crochet for beginners great to keep on hand whenever you have free time to spare.In this tutorial, we’re showing you the basics and everything you need to crochet your very own bobble cowl — a crochet cowl pattern typically made with lightweight yarn for any novice. This crochet project is ideal for a novice, as it can be made in a couple of hours. It’s perfect for winter and even holiday presents (check out our holiday gift ideas for cheap, thoughtful and personalized options).So follow our simple steps for instructions on how to make a bobble cowl. You can also watch our video above for step-by-step visuals.How to Crochet a Bobble CowlWhat You’ll NeedTips to Remember Before Starting:When you’re grabbing your yarn and looking for the end to start, it’s always going to be on the left side of the logo. Check the back of the label for the knitting needle or crochet hook you choose to use. Step 1: Begin with a slip knot.For every crochet project, you want to start with a slip knot. Cross the yarn over itself and then pull the tail through to make the loop. Slip your crochet hook through the slip knot.Step 2: Crochet your foundation chain.Next is your foundation chain. Wrap your yarn from behind and over the hook. Pull that yarn through. Repeat the process until you have 32 loops in your foundation chain (you don’t count the first loop in your hook). Tip: Make sure your tension isn’t too tight, as your finished scarf will turn out small.Step 3: Slip stitch.Use a slip stitch to join the ends together, creating a ring. Do this by inserting your hook into the first chain. Yarn over and pull your yarn through the first chain on the scarf before pulling it through the first chain on your hook. Step 4: Create your bobbles. Begin by chaining two loops, then yarn over. Insert your hook into the first space (chain) before pulling through. Yarn over, insert hook, yarn over and pull through three times in the same space to create your bobble. You should have seven loops on your hoop. Yarn over your hook and pull through all seven loops on your hook to finish the loop. Then chain one stitch to secure. Create a second bobble by skipping the next chain and working into the third chain on the loop. Repeat the bobble process until you have 16 bobbles in the first row. Join in the round by slip stitching in the first two chains before making the first bobble. Insert the hook, yarn over, pull through, then pull through the first loop that is on your hook. Chain in two and create your bobble in the space next to your chain. Tip: Slip stitch to join the second row together. Step 5: Incorporate new yarn.When you’re at the end of your yarn, take the yarn from your new ball and yarn over with the original yarn and the new one. Pull those both through to secure the bobble. Continue the pattern to create another bobble into the next space until the new ball is used up. Step 6: End your scarf.At seven rounds, you should be back to your starting point (where you made your slip knot at the tail). End your scarf by making another slip stitch. Insert the hook into the top of the last bobble in the previous round. Yarn over, pull through and pull through the loop on your hook. Yarn over, pull through and cut the tail. Tip: Weave in loose ends with your crochet hook. Mariah Thomas (she/her) is an assistant editor for Good Housekeeping, where she covers home and lifestyle content. Mariah has more than four years of editorial experience, having written for TLC, Apartment Therapy, Women’s Health and Avocado Magazine. She received her master’s degree in journalism at the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism and published her first book, Heart and Soul: Poems of Thoughts and Emotions, in 2019. She’s also the founder of RTF Community, a platform for creatives of color to connect, learn and showcase their work. This content is imported from OpenWeb. You may be able to find the same content in another format, or you may be able to find more information, at their web site. More
Windows are a vital feature of any home — but they’re also one of the most forgotten. After all, we spend most of the time looking right through them. The fact is, windows have an enormous impact on a home’s style and performance. Top-quality units enhance curb appeal and make the interior of your home more attractive, too. Good windows can also drastically improve your home’s energy efficiency and ventilation, and they’re much easier to clean and maintain than lower-quality options.While the benefits of new windows are clear-cut, shopping for new windows is anything but. It’s a high-stakes decision too, with the average cost of replacing a single window coming in around $650, according to home services marketplace Angi. For a typical home, the total all-in cost is between $3,000 and $10,000. Choosing a top window brand is a good place to start the window-buying process. The home renovation experts at the Good Housekeeping Institute have been evaluating window brands for decades, so we’ve compiled the list of market leaders based on key criteria, including availability, selection, price range and service. Though prices can vary significantly even within the same brand, depending on the size and features, we provided the following ballpark pricing guidelines for a standard double-hung window: $ = $150 to $200$$ = $200 to $400 $$$ = $400 to $600 $$$$$ = $600 and up Here, in alphabetical order, are the best window brands to consider for your next project.AndersenCourtesy of Andersen WindowsFounded in 1903, Andersen is one of the biggest names in window manufacturing. The company is headquartered in Bayport, Minnesota (the Midwest is a hotbed of window making) with more than 30 manufacturing, distribution and retail locations nationwide. The company is known for quality and innovation — it developed the first wood-clad windows in 1966 and the first composite windows in 1999. EXPLORE ANDERSON WINDOWSAvailability: Andersen has an extremely wide distribution network, including local showrooms and at the Home Depot. Meanwhile, Renewal by Andersen is the brand’s full-service window replacement subsidiary, operating in more than 100 markets nationwide, making it one of the largest replacement window companies in the country.Selection: Choose from wood, composite, vinyl, aluminum and fiberglass in virtually every size and configuration — single and double hung, casement, awning, passthrough and more — and either replacements or new-construction. Price Range: $$ to $$$$$ Because Anderson has such a wide selection, its pricing also runs the spectrum, from inexpensive vinyl windows costing around $250 per unit to high-end custom wood windows that are closer to $1,000.Service: This is another area where Andersen shines. Through its vast distribution network, it offers extensive design services, including lots of helpful online visualization tools to help you see what different window options will look like in your home. It’s also easy to locate a certified contractor in your area to handle the installation through the Andersen website. Jeld-WenA bank of double-hung windows with 4-over-4 divided lites brings fresh air and natural light to a traditional kitchen.Jeld-WenWhen it comes to sheer size, Jeld-Wen takes the prize, with more than a billion dollars in annual revenue. The Charlotte, North Carolina-based company was founded in 1960 and now boasts 117 manufacturing facilities across 19 countries. It’s more mass-market than other window brands on this list, with vast lines of inexpensive replacement windows, though it also makes custom units. EXPLORE JELD-WEN WINDOWSAvailability: The brand is one of the easiest to find, thanks to its expansive dealer network and partnerships with major retailers like the Home Depot and Pella 150 Series Vinyl Replacement Double-Hung WindowComposite WindowAndersen 100 Series Single-Hung Composite Window✔️ Special Features: Once you settle on the window type and material, consider these additional features:Energy efficiency: The best windows reduce energy costs in a few ways. Double-glazed windows have a sealed cavity between two panes of glass that’s often filled with air or argon gas, which reduces the transfer of heat through the window. Low-emissivity (low-E) coatings improve the efficiency by reflecting heat while still letting in light. In warm regions, the coating is applied to the outside of the glass to keep out the heat from the sun; in cold regions, the low-E coating is on the inside of the window to keep the heat in. Buying windows that carry the Energy Star label will ensure maximum efficiency.Impact resistance: If you live in hurricane country or anywhere that experiences extreme weather, you should consider windows with impact-resistant glass. Also known as “hurricane windows,” the units are even required by building in many high-risk areas. The windows sandwich a strong polymer layer between two panes of glass, providing reinforcement and holding the glass together even if it shatters from fast-flying objects.Grilles: On single and double-hung windows, grilles divide the top and/or bottom glass into multiple sections (or “lites”) for a more traditional look; windows are often referred to how many individual lites are on each pane, for example “2 over 2” or “4 over 4.” True-divide lites use individual glass panes, driving up cost and decreasing energy efficiency Simulated divided lites mimic the look of individual panes without sacrificing efficiency. Why trust Good Housekeeping?Before becoming a home renovation expert, Dan DiClerico worked for a remodeling company that specialized in windows, roofs and other exterior projects. He has since written dozens of articles on windows, including buying guides, how-tos on the replacement process and tips for making your existing units more energy efficient. Dan is a regular at housing trade shows, where he keeps up with the latest innovations, from impact-resistant glass to integrated screen systems. As the director of the Home Improvement & Outdoor Lab at the Good Housekeeping Institute, Dan oversees testing of windows, along with other exterior products, like roofing, siding and doors. Related StoriesHaving written thousands of product reviews and how-to articles on all aspects of home ownership, from routine maintenance to major renovations, Dan (he/him) brings more than 20 years of industry experience to his role as the director of the Home Improvement & Outdoor Lab at the Good Housekeeping Institute. A one-time roofer and a serial remodeler, Dan can often be found keeping house at his restored Brooklyn brownstone, where he lives with his wife and kids.
This content is imported from OpenWeb. You may be able to find the same content in another format, or you may be able to find more information, at their web site. More
There’s really nothing comfier than a luxurious cashmere sweater when there’s a chill in the air. That’s because cashmere wool isn’t just incredibly soft, it’s also insulating, lightweight and breathable. In other words, cashmere keeps you warm without making you sweat. Another beautiful benefit of cashmere is its durability. Its natural fibers can outlast many of the other sweaters in your drawer with a little TLC.Cashmere is often thought of as hard to care for since it’s sensitive to water temperature and agitation, but don’t let that deter you from having it in your wardrobe. Once you’re familiar with the dos and don’ts, washing cashmere at home is a simple task that can save you loads of time and money. But according to Carolyn Forte, executive director of Good Housekeeping’s Home Care and Cleaning Lab, it’s always best to start by checking the garment’s care label. Some cashmere garments, like jackets, have structure, linings or other reasons why it’s best to take them to a dry cleaner. Keep in mind that if you choose not to follow the care instructions and something goes wrong, like if the color fades or the garment shrinks, you won’t have any recourse. Many care labels on cashmere garments recommend washing by hand or dry cleaning. In those cases, you’re safe choosing either method. If you have basic cashmere items like plain sweaters, scarves or unstructured pants that you’d like to wash at home, follow these simple tips to launder them by hand or by machine. How often should you wash cashmere?Unlike your other winter gear, cashmere should be washed just once or twice during the season, especially if you’re only wearing the sweater on special occasions. Excessive washing can lead to damage, such as shrinkage and pilling. How to handwash cashmerePretreat any stains. Apply a small dab or two of a cashmere-safe detergent or stain remover, like The Laundress New York Wool and Cashmere Shampoo, a 2022 Good Housekeeping Best Cleaning & Organizing Award winner, to spots of food or dirt – even sweat stains under the armpits or around the neckline — and work it into the stain with your fingertips. Avoid scrubbing, which can damage the delicate fibers.Fill a basin or sink with cool water. (For larger items, like blankets, you may need to use the bathtub.) As the water is running, mix in the recommended amount of detergent, then gently immerse the cashmere item.Gently agitate with your hands. Keeping your fingers loose, move the cashmere back and forth, up and down until the soapy water has penetrated the fibers. For the best results, let the cashmere soak for up to 30 minutes. Drain and rinse thoroughly. Drain the sink and if you have a sprayer on your faucet, use it to carefully rinse small items clean. Otherwise, refill the sink with cool water. If you’re using a basin, empty it and replace the soapy water with fresh, cool water. Immerse the item in the clear water and gently agitate it with clean hands to rinse. Repeat this step as necessary until all the soap suds are gone. Gently press and squeeze out excess water. Do this with your hands while the cashmere item is in the sink or basin. Lifting cashmere up when it’s saturated can cause it to stretch and lose its shape and wringing cashmere can damage and flatten the delicate fibers. Then, roll the item in a white towel and carefully press or squeeze out any remaining moisture. What You’ll Need to Care for CashmereSAMMART 2 Gallon Collapsible Washing BasinCredit: SammartThe Laundress New York Wool & Cashmere ShampooCredit: The Laundress New YorkConair Fabric Shaver Now 20% OffCredit: ConairConair Turbo Extreme Steam Fabric SteamerNow 14% OffCredit: ConairHow to wash cashmere in the washing machineSome cashmere can be washed in the washing machine on a delicate cycle, or you may just wish to take this shortcut with well-worn items. In either case, check the item’s care label first and follow its recommendations or these steps. Select the most delicate cycle. Choose your machine’s gentlest cycle, cold water and the lowest spin speed possible. Turn the item inside out. Place it in a mesh delicate fabrics bag to protect it from unnecessary abrasion which can cause pilling. How to dry cashmereFor both handwashing and in the machine, lay the garment flat to dry. Place it on a dry, absorbent white towel and position it in its original shape to air dry. Once the top is dry, flip it over and allow the opposite side to dry completely. How to remove wrinkles and pills from cashmereDespite careful handling, cashmere can get wrinkled or creased. To remove them, use a garment steamer instead of an iron. Direct heat and pressure from an iron flattens cashmere’s natural loft resulting in a less fluffy look and soft feel. And all cashmere – even the highest quality – is prone to pilling. When the fibers break from friction they form unsightly bobbles. To remove them, carefully and lightly run a fabric shaver over the dry, unwrinkled surface of the cashmere to remove any pills. Hold the fabric taut with one hand while you shave pills with the other to prevent any nicks or cuts to the fabric.Evrymmnt//Getty ImagesHow to store cashmereAlways avoid hanging wet cashmere or leaving it in direct sunlight or near heat, which can cause stretching, yellowing, and shrinkage. The drawer is where to keep all of your cashmere once it’s dry as hanging it can make it can lose its shape. This content is imported from OpenWeb. You may be able to find the same content in another format, or you may be able to find more information, at their web site. More