First Up, What is Cashmere?
Cashmere is a luxury fiber that comes from the soft undercoat hairs of cashmere goats. These fibers are hand combed from the goat during the molting season, and then sorted, washed, dyed, and spun into cashmere yarn. Cashmere is soft, lightweight, and insulating which is why it’s used in high-end clothing and textiles. As a natural fiber, there is special care that needs to be taken to keep it looking and performing at its best. When cared for correctly, cashmere can last a lifetime and it becomes softer with age.
Here are the rules to live by to ensure your cashmere looks its best and has a long life:
When Wearing Cashmere
Cashmere is luxurious and expensive, so you want to make sure you are looking after it and that also means when wearing it. A few guidelines are below to help keep your cashmere in tip-top condition while wearing.
- Wait for any moisturizer and deodorant you’ve applied to dry before putting on your cashmere item to limit any unwanted build-up on the cashmere
- Do not spray perfume on your cashmere or on any place that touches the cashmere as it can cause stains
- Avoid wearing anything that could snag your cashmere item e.g. a necklace with a point, or a watch with a buckle – the last thing you want is to get any holes in it
- Make sure to leave a few days between wearing your cashmere item, so that it has a chance to air out and the fibers can go back to their natural state
Handwashing or Dry-cleaning?
Cashmere can be hand washed or dry-cleaned. We recommend hand washing the smaller items like socks, eye masks, sweaters, and wraps and dry-cleaning the larger items such as blankets. Hand washing, along with wear, will make your cashmere softer over time so is encouraged over dry cleaning.
You do not have to wash your cashmere every time you wear it, as cashmere is a breathable fiber allowing you to wear it multiple times before washing is necessary.
- Wash in a clean sink or large bowl using lukewarm water no hotter than 85°F
- Use a small amount of cashmere shampoo ensuring it is fully dissolved in the water
- Gently squeeze the suds through the cashmere taking care not to rub too much
- Rinse the garment in cool clean water squeezing gently without wringing
- Lay flat on a clean towel and carefully roll the towel up to absorb excess water
- Transfer to a clean dry towel and smooth the item back into shape
- Dry naturally away from direct heat such as radiators and sunlight
Dealing with Stains
Stains happen… The key is to deal with the stain as soon as possible, the longer you leave it the harder it will be to remove.
For Make-Up or Grease Based Stains
- First blot the stain, then cover it with baking soda which will help to lift the grease off.
- Leave the baking soda to absorb for an hour and then lift the garment and shake off the baking soda.
- Next, add a squirt of cashmere shampoo directly onto the stain and leave for 10 mins.
- Wash as per the above hand-washing instructions.
For Chocolate Stains
- This happens to me a lot surprisingly 😉
- Shake off or scrape off any excess chocolate with a spoon
- Dip a soft cloth in cashmere shampoo and lightly rub the chocolate stain, taking care to not scrub too hard as it can damage the cashmere fibers
- Wash as per the above hand-washing instructions.
For Red Wine, Tea, or Coffee Stains
- Rinse the cashmere item in water immediately
- Dip a soft cloth in the dish-washing liquid, not cashmere shampoo as it can set red wine stains
- Lightly rub the stain with the cloth, taking care to not scrub too hard as it can damage the cashmere fibers
- Wash as per the above handwashing instruction
Wrinkles from Drying
After your cashmere item has dried on the flat towel, there may be a few creases based on how the item was laid out. To remove these creases, a steamer is the recommended method as it fluffs up the cashmere. If you do not have a steamer an iron can be used on the cool or wool setting.
- Preheat steamer
- Hang your cashmere item on a clothes hanger or rail so you can easily steam
- Run the steamer nozzle up and down the creases until they disappear but do not hold the steamer in one place for too long
- Put iron on cool or wool setting
- Turn the item inside out and place a cloth between the iron and cashmere to prevent any scorching of the cashmere
- Never place the iron directly on cashmere and avoid holding the iron on the same spot of cashmere for more than 1 second
You may find small balls of fiber or 'pills' forming on the surface of your cashmere item where it has been rubbed. A small amount of pilling in these areas is normal and can be removed with a cashmere comb or by gently picking off the balls.
- Place your item on a flat surface and run the comb lightly over the cashmere in one direction.
- The pills will be picked up by the comb and turn into cashmere “fluff” that you can dispose of
- Never use a razor or scissors to remove pills
- We recommend de-pilling after washing
How you store your cashmere is as important as how you wash and dry it. If you store it incorrectly you could end up with misshapen cashmere or worse… holes caused by moths.
- You should always air out your cashmere in between wearing, to do this keep the item out of any sealed drawers or containers for a few days
- Always fold or roll cashmere for storage, never hang as it can alter the shape
- To fold cashmere always fold the arms in on top of the garment and then fold the top over the bottom, to avoid a crease down the center of your item
- Place your cashmere in a drawer or on a shelf – if storing on an open shelf, to avoid moths you should be using cedar or lavender-scented cashmere shampoo for washing or place a cardboard cedar sheet on top to deter moths
- Before storing cashmere for a while without wear, ensure it is washed first as any dirt, oils, and odors will encourage moths
- When storing cashmere for longer periods, always use a cotton bag, which allows for airflow do not store in plastic bags as in humid environments the plastic can sweat
Never, ever, ever…
- Never wash cashmere in a machine, it’s just too risky
- Never tumble-dry cashmere as heat damages cashmere fibers
- Never use a hot iron on cashmere as you can scorch the cashmere and damage the fibers
- Never store cashmere away for the long term without washing as dirt, oils, and odors will attract moths
- Never use a razor or scissors to remove pills as they can damage the cashmere fibers and cause bald spots or holes
- Never store in plastic as condensation can build-up
If you follow these instructions, you’ll ensure your cashmere items preserve their shape and luxurious touch for many years.