How to Wash and Care for Cashmere Sweaters, Scarves and More

There really is nothing more comfortable than a luxurious cashmere sweater when the air is chilly. Because cashmere wool is not only incredibly soft, but also insulating, light and breathable. So cashmere keeps you warm without makes you sweat. Another nice benefit of cashmere is its longevity. Its natural fibers can outlast many of the other sweaters in your drawer with a little TLC.

Cashmere is often considered easy care as it is sensitive to water temperature and movement, but don’t let that put you off having it in your closet. Once you are familiar with the do’s and don’ts, Washing cashmere at home is a simple task that can save you a lot 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 check the garment’s care label first. Some cashmere garments, like jackets, have texture, lining, or other reasons why it’s best to take them to a dry cleaner. Remember that if you don’t follow the care instructions and something goes wrong e.g. B. if the color is fading or the garment is shrinking. Many care labels on cashmere garments recommend hand washing or dry cleaning. In these cases, you can safely choose one of the two methods.

If you have basic cashmere items like solid sweaters, scarves, or unstructured pants that you want to wash at home, follow these simple tips to hand or machine wash them.

How often should you wash cashmere?

Unlike your other winter clothing, cashmere should only be washed once or twice during the season, especially if you only wear the sweater on special occasions. Excessive washing can cause damage such as shrinkage and pilling.

How to hand wash cashmere

  1. Pre-treat any stains. Apply a small dab or two of a cashmere-safe laundry detergent or stain remover, like The Laundress New York Wool and Cashmere Shampoo, a 2022 Good Housekeeping Best Cleaning & Organizing Award winner, to food or dirt stains—even sweat stains underarms or around the neckline – and work into the stain with your fingertips. Avoid scrubbing as this can damage the delicate fibers.
  2. Fill a sink or sink with cold water. (You may need to use the bathtub for larger items such as blankets.) With the water running, mix in the recommended amount of detergent and gently submerge the cashmere item.
  3. Stir gently with your hands. With loose fingers, move the cashmere back and forth, up and down, until the soapy water has penetrated the fibers. For best results, let the cashmere soak for up to 30 minutes.
  4. Drain and rinse thoroughly. Empty the sink and if you have a sprayer on your faucet, use it to gently rinse small items clean. Otherwise, fill the sink with cold water. If using a sink, 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 off. Repeat this step as needed until all the suds are gone.
  5. Gently press and squeeze out excess water. Do this with your hands while the cashmere item is in the sink or basin. Lifting cashmere when it is saturated can cause it to stretch and lose its shape, and wringing cashmere out can damage and flatten the delicate fibers. Then roll the item in a white towel and gently squeeze or squeeze out any remaining moisture.
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How to wash cashmere in the washing machine

Some cashmere fabrics can be machine washed on a gentle cycle, or you may only want to take that shortcut with well-worn garments. In any case, first check the item’s care label and follow the recommendations or these steps.

  1. Choose the most sensitive cycle. Choose the gentlest cycle on your machine, cold water and the lowest possible spin speed.
  2. Turn the item inside out. Place it in a delicate fabric mesh bag to protect it from unnecessary abrasion that can lead to pilling.

How to dry cashmere

Lay the garment flat for both hand washing and machine drying. Lay 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 cashmere

    Despite careful handling, cashmere can get wrinkles or creases. Use a clothes steamer instead of an iron to remove. Direct heat and pressure from an iron flattens cashmere’s natural bulk, resulting in a less fluffy look and soft feel. And all cashmere – even the highest quality – tends to pill. When the fibers break from friction, they form unsightly tangles. To remove them, gently and lightly run a cloth razor over the cashmere’s dry, wrinkle-free surface to remove any pills. Hold the fabric taut with one hand while you shave hair with the other to avoid nicking or cutting the fabric.

    Pile of different sweaters

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    How to store cashmere

    Always avoid hanging wet cashmere or leaving it in direct sunlight or near heat, which can cause stretching, yellowing and shrinkage. The drawer is where you can store all your cashmere once it has dried as it can lose its shape when hung up.

    Preview How to hand wash clothes in your sink

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