Soft, caring, so lovely you’ll never want to part; no I’m not talking about the perfect boyfriend, I’m talking about a great cashmere sweater. Yes, this ultra-soft fabric offers the type of luxury that we can’t get enough of. So imagine how our hearts fall into pieces when we find out we’ve washed our cashmere all wrong. It’s like breaking up, but worse because there is no way to revenge a sweater. Anyhow, to avoid all that heartbreak there are a few rules for you to follow on how to wash cashmere and how to take care of cashmere. Let’s not waste a minute!
How To Take Care Of Cashmere
Protect from Moths
Cashmere is to moths what Ganni is to fashion girls, totally obsessed. If you have any animal-hair fabrics in your wardrobe you probably have encountered a dreaded hole or two in some of these fabrics and when it’s your favourite cashmere sweater it's easy to resort to a pity party that includes voicing “Why Me, Why me!” multiple times while you fall to the floor with your sweater in your hands. But let's avoid all that drama, there are plenty of ways to beat these tiny little creatures and simple mothballs aren’t your only solution.
First of all, taking care of cashmere means keeping it clean – if anything these not-so-welcome friends thrive off clothes that are (even a little) bit dirty and get a kick out of human scent. Besides taking care of your cashmere and keeping it clean, you’ll want to make sure the soft goodness is stored somewhere safe. By safe I don’t mean folded neatly in a drawer instead of thrown over a chair, if you really want to make sure you have no holes in your cashmere, some extra measures will need to be taken. This may seem like a little bit extreme, but it will be so worth it: pack it up in plastic. You can buy airtight zip-top bags, containers or boxes made especially to beat the moths and any other little creatures. If you have a garment bag lying around you can also use this to store your cashmere, hung or folded.
Don’t leave things hanging
Always fold your cashmere instead of hanging. Hanging a cashmere sweater could let it loose its shape, the sleeves can grow long and it will loosen up in a way that’s not baggy-chic but just baggy and not very flattering.
Don’t stress out about pilling
With cashmere, pilling will just happen, whether you’ve spent half of your rent money or a 100. Pilling is when little fuzz balls, loose strands or bobbles occur on the fabric and make it look less smooth and neat. Pilling is not really a look but there are plenty of ways to take off pilling with just a few strokes. Pilling will happen once you wear your cashmere item more often, you could just stop wearing it or wear it very rarely but then what’s the point of having a buttery soft sweater you love to the moon and back.
Remove the little bits of fabric that pop out with a delicate pair of scissors or a razor blade and be careful (don’t know how often I can say the word 'careful' but we’re treading dangerous waters here). If you’re into fancy little gadgets or just ease, then try to look for a sweater comb or electric fabric shaver and as a bonus, you can often use these for couches and carpets as well.
How to Wash Cashmere
Wash Cashmere By Hand
How to wash cashmere? All you need is water, soap and your hands to wash your cashmere. Let me put it in steps so you’re sure nothing can go wrong.
1. Fill a bath, sink or basin with lukewarm water (not boiling hot).
2. Add a bit of cleanser to the water, you’ll find plenty of soaps dedicated to this kind of a wash. If you’re not a lady of laundry, you can use a bit of your own hair soap or baby shampoo. Cashmere, mohair, like wool, is hair after all so this works fine as well.
3. Turn your garment inside out and carefully emerge it into the water and swirl it around for around 30 seconds to a minute. Then just leave it in the water for another half out to soak.
4. Take out the cashmere item and very, very carefully press out a bit of water ( so don’t wring the item) before placing in a towel or two to dry and soak up the excess water.
That's how to wash cashmere by hand, but you might want to consider washing it with your machine instead. Keep reading to find out how!
Air Dry Cashmere
Whatever you do, stay far away from your dryer. It is 100% off-limits unless you have a mini-me running around and you’re trying to resize a sweater. Instead of machine drying always air dry but don’t just throw it over a rack. Lay the garment on a towel and roll it up with the garment inside or hang something like a sweater on a clothing hanger and simply let it air dry. An important note is to keep the items away from any heat sources like the sun or radiators.
Wash cashmere on a gentle washing program
Washing by hand is really the safest option, but if you’re a little bit stubborn or just a lot lazy and are in the possession of a washing machine then there are ways to do it this way too, just tread lightly. First, make sure you have a mesh bag or a laundry bag and place the cashmere inside of it before you put it in the washing machine. Select a gentle cycle and use only cold water (never, ever hot!) to wash your cashmere.
Steam cashmere, don’t iron
Smooth out those wrinkles with a steamer, it’s a must safer bet than your iron as cashmere can handle moisture but not so much heat.
Hopefully, I've answered all your questions on how to take care of cashmere. Quality fabrics like cashmere just take a little more work to maintain that luxury feeling, but putting in that extra bit of effort makes sure you can enjoy that beige cashmere sweater for many years to come. We'd say that's totally worth it.