Here’s how to wash cashmere sweaters by hand and in a washing machine to keep your cashmere sweaters new.
When you purchase a cashmere item, you must treat it with love. Contrary to popular belief, cashmere is a very resilient and strong fiber. When made into cashmere clothing, it is a natural fiber that has experienced extremely high and low temperatures, making it very adaptable and durable.
You can hand wash these items at home if you use the advice in this article on cashmere washing!
How to Wash Cashmere by Hand?
The Laundress’ Gwen Whiting advises hand washing cashmere even though it can be machine washed (more on that later). With this, you have more control over the entire process and are more likely to get superior outcomes than with a machine.
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If you want your luxurious cashmere to have the best possible life, it might take some time, but it’s definitely worth it.
- Pretreat any stains. To remove stains caused by food, dirt, or even sweat under the arms or around the neckline, dab the stain with a small amount of a detergent or stain remover safe for cashmere and work it into the stain with your fingertips. Scrubbing is not recommended as it may harm delicate fibers.
- Put cool water in a sink or basin. (It might be necessary to use the bathtub for larger items like blankets.) Gently submerge the cashmere item in the running water after adding the recommended amount of detergent.
- Gently agitate with your hands. Maintaining a loose grip, move the cashmere up and down and back and forth until the soapy water has reached all of the fibers. Allow the cashmere to soak for up to 30 minutes for the best results.
- Thoroughly drain and rinse. If your faucet has a sprayer, use it to gently rinse small objects clean after you drain the sink. If not, fill the sink back up with cold water. If you’re using a basin, empty it and add fresh, cool water to replace the soapy water. Use clean hands to gently agitate the item while it is submerged in the clear water to finish the rinse. Until all of the soap suds are gone, repeat this process as necessary.
- Squeeze extra water out with a light touch. While the cashmere item is in the sink or basin, perform this with your hands. When cashmere is saturated, lifting it up can make it stretch and lose its shape, and wringing it can harm and flatten the delicate fibers. After that, carefully press or squeeze any moisture that is still present out of the item using a white towel.
In order to speed up the process, you might want to swap out the towel and turn your sweater inside out. And, of course, you should never hang a knit, as it will stretch out and reshape the fabric in unfortunate ways.
How to Wash Cashmere in a Washing Machine?
While we firmly believe that cashmere should always be washed by hand, we also recognize that this labor-intensive process isn’t always practical. Whiting assures you that your washing machine can assist you as long as you take a few extra safety measures.
- Step 1: Enter a mesh laundry bag with your cashmere item inside. Give every item you’re washing a separate bag if you’re doing several things at once. Only two to three sweaters or up to five smaller items, such as socks, hats, or scarves, should ever be washed in the same load of laundry.
- Step 2: Put your cashmere in a bag in the washing machine and use a little delicate detergent. Utilize the delicate cycle on the machine and the lowest temperature and agitation settings.
- Step 3: Never put knits, whether made of cashmere or not, in the dyer. Any significant amount of heat can and will warp the fabric, causing it to shrink, twist, and take on a shape that prevents you from pulling it over your head. Instead, spread a towel flat with your cashmere clothing to dry it.
Depending on how thick the fabric is, each item will need to dry for a different amount of time, but for larger clothing items like sweaters or sweatpants, you should leave them alone for a full 24 to 48 hours. Flip your knits over or switch out the towel every few hours to hasten the drying process.
How to Dry a Cashmere Sweater?
According to Whiting, sweaters should never be dried in the dryer or hand-wrung out after being washed, whether by hand or in a machine. Wet yarns are weaker because wringing manipulates the fibers. Your sweater could end up looking ugly.
Instead, ball up your sweater and then squeeze out any extra water. Martha advises manipulating the sweater to take on its original shape after it has stopped being drenched in water. She suggests using the measurements you previously noted.
Then, roll the towel with the sweater inside it after folding it in half over it, allowing it to absorb most of the moisture. To finish drying, transfer it to a brand-new towel.
How to Fix Flaws in Your Cashmere Sweaters?
You can easily get your sweater back to how it was with a little tender loving care, regardless of the stain—ketchup or pill stain. Learn how to care for your cashmere.
Don’t panic and aggressively dab at a stain on your sweater because that will only make it worse. Before the subsequent wash, Whiting suggests dabbing a stain remover lightly into the affected area.
You’ll see the results of your efforts if you scrub it with your fingers or a scrub brush. Either you’ll mess up the weave or make it extremely fuzzy. It will work if you gently massage it in.
Avoid using an iron on wool because the heat will crush the fibers. Grab a steamer in place of that. After washing, some wools—such as lighter merino or cashmere—are more likely to wrinkle, necessitating the use of steam.
In between washings, we also like using the steamer for a quick pick-me-up. Steaming gives the yarns a natural refresher and fluffs them up.
Friction is the reason why your favorite sweaters develop little balls known as pilling. Defuzzing as you go is advised to prevent pills from taking control.
We swear by two products: A sweater stone for a heavier gauge yarn, and a sweater combfor a thinner weave. They are two tools that only remove the pill, as opposed to a shaver which does not distinguish between the pill and the textile.
When to Take Your Cashmere to the Dry Cleaners?
In some cases, taking your cashmere knits to a professional would be preferable to trying to handle them on your own. If your knits also feature delicate embellishments like sequins, beading, or feathers, you should seek the advice of experts.
An expert will be much better equipped—both with knowledge and tools/techniques—to handle any cleaning needs if you suddenly find yourself dealing with a particularly stubborn or difficult stain or your sweater has been dyed using very delicate materials.
How Often Should You Wash Cashmere, Anyway?
However, what about routine maintenance? Stains and spills should always be cleaned up right away. Your cashmere sweaters could probably benefit from a gentle wash every four wears, though this depends somewhat on how you’re wearing them.
However, if you have a large collection of knits in your closet, you might only need to wash them once or twice a season. The intervals between cleaning sessions can be increased by donning undershirts or camis.
If nothing else, make sure to wash all of your cashmere clothing before storing it for the off-season to avoid odors or stains from developing over time. A cashmere spray bottle would be a good purchase to spritz between outfits.
Conclusion: Taking Care of Cashmere Between Washes
Cashmere can be hand-washed or machine-washed on a wool or delicate cycle with a mild detergent or cashmere shampoo, with a maximum temperature of 30 degrees. To maintain the softness of your cashmere sweaters, turn them inside out before machine washing.
Keep in mind that you shouldn’t wash your cashmere every time you wear it. Lint, fuzz, and dust can be removed between wears and washes with a long-handled boar-bristle cashmere brush. While protecting the knit, a sweater comb can also be used to remove errant pills.
Is It Better to Wash Or Dry Clean Cashmere?
Because it’s a delicate yarn, many cashmere items are labeled “Dry Clean Only.” The fur of goats, however, which is used to make cashmere, grows fluffier and more lustrous when it is washed, just like the hair of humans. By contrast, dry cleaning* will damage and break down the fibers over time.
Will Cashmere Shrink If Washed?
It is a costly, rare material made from the delicate fibers of cashmere or pashmina goats. With proper care, a women’s ideal cashmere sweater can last for years. However, because of the delicate nature of the material, cashmere can easily shrink when it is accidentally thrown into the wrong wash cycle.
Can 100% Cashmere Be Washed?
Yes, you can wash cashmere. Cashmere should be washed by hand or in a machine on the wool or delicate cycle with a mild detergent or cashmere shampoo at a temperature no higher than 30 degrees. To maintain the softness of your cashmere sweaters, turn them inside out before machine washing.
Does Water Ruin Cashmere?
Contrary to popular belief, cashmere loves water: washing it regularly will not damage it – quite the opposite, in fact. So long as you follow certain guidelines, you can wash it frequently. Cashmere fibers prefer it cold even though they don’t mind water.