When you purchase an item as intricate and pricey as a cashmere sweater, you must treat it with great care. However, maintaining a cashmere sweater does not necessarily require a large expense.
Yes, cashmere can be washed by hand or by machine. Here is a comprehensive guide to washing your cashmere sweater and other cashmere clothing. Follow the instructions below to keep your cashmere sweater in near-perfect condition.
What is cashmere?
Cashmere is a fiber obtained from the undercoat of cashmere and pashmina goats. Due to their softness and warmth, cashmere fibers are utilized to create high-quality yarn, textiles, and clothing. Cashmere and wool are natural fibers, but cashmere is thinner, softer, and more resilient.
Cashmere is typically worn during the winter months due to its cozy warmth. There is something about cashmere that elevates the style and lavishness of your ensemble.
In addition to being luxurious and fashionable, cashmere fabric is extremely versatile. It can be paired with anything, from jeans to skirts. They are perfect office attire. They have a timeless quality and design.
Why choose a cashmere sweater?
A cashmere sweater may cost twice or three times as much as a quality wool sweater, yet people continue to purchase it. Why? There are several explanations for this.
- First, cashmere is soft and gentle against the skin.
- Cashmere has exceptional insulating qualities and is warmer than wool.
- Cashmere will keep you comfortable indoors, warm outdoors, and stylishly sophisticated.
- Cashmere sweaters are easy to travel with because they are slim and lightweight.
- Because cashmere is composed of ultrafine fibers, it is resistant to wrinkles. They do not require ironing.
- Cashmere can stretch, allowing you to move freely without feeling constricted.
- When properly maintained, cashmere can last for years. If you desire an item that can be reworked or passed down through generations, you should purchase cashmere. They are worth the price because they are extremely durable.
How to wash a cashmere sweater by hand
As mentioned, cashmere sweaters can be hand-washed. In fact, hand-washing is the best way to clean a dirty cashmere sweater, not dry cleaning. Here is the right way to hand wash your sweater at home.
- Sink or bathtub
- Cold water
- Baby shampoo or gentle cashmere wash/low alkaline detergent
- Towel large enough to fit the sweater
- Pour a few drops of baby shampoo, cashmere wash, or low-alkaline detergent into the water. Don’t put too much, just about a teaspoon per gallon of water.
- Gently agitate the water a little bit to mix the shampoo with the water until some bubbles appear.
- Get your dirty cashmere sweater and submerge it in the water. Work the solution into the sweater gently to allow the cashmere to absorb the mixture.
- Gently twirl the sweater around for two to five minutes, depending on how soil the sweater is. You can soak it up for up to thirty minutes if it’s too dirty. The twirling method is the best method to clean your sweater because you can rub the fabric together. Rubbing will cause pilling and agitate the material.
- After twirling, take out the sweater from the water and rinse. Transfer it into clean water. Refrain from rinsing it under running water to avoid stretching the fabric. Exchange water until all the soap suds are done.
- Transfer the sweater to a clean empty bin or basin to drain all the water. Gently press the sweater against the side of the bin to remove all the excess water from the cloth. Do not wring your clothes! Now you are ready to dry.
Expert Tips: If you are washing a few pieces of cashmere clothing at once, start with the lighter color and work your way up to the darker shades.
How to machine wash your cashmere sweater
While dry cleaning is not the best option, machine washing should be avoided if possible, but sometimes you are too tired to hand-wash it and want to use the machine. If you are in a hurry, here is the proper way to machine wash your cashmere sweater.
- Lingerie hanger
- Spot remover
- Laundry soap
- Depil your cashmere sweater. Press the depiller hard against the surface and run it in a circular motion until the pills are removed.
- Spray the collar, the cuff, and the sleeves with the spot remover. Allow it to absorb for a few minutes before washing it.
- Put the cashmere sweater into the machine. Put only a few drops of laundry soap.
- Set the loader to delicate wash and put it to no spin. The spinning can cause shrinkage. If you use a top loader, put the sweater in a mesh bag.
- After washing, squeeze all the water from the cloth. Do not wring. After removing excess water, lay the sweater flat to dry on a mesh sweater rack or an airing cupboard.
How to dry your cashmere sweater?
After washing, the drying follows. Unlike other types of clothing, you can’t just hang it under the sun to dry. Here is the proper way to dry your cashmere sweater.
- Place the towel on a plain surface. Lay your sweater flat on the towel. Smooth out all the wrinkles and the edges. Make sure there is a little space between the body of the sweater and the sleeve.
- Starting from the top, roll the towel over the sweater while pressing gently. This is the most excellent way to remove all the excess water from the sweater and make drying much faster.
- Once it’s all rolled up, gently press for a couple of minutes. Unroll the towel gently; if there is still moisture left, you can repeat the process using another clean, dry towel. But usually, all the water will be removed on the first try.
- Lay the sweater flat on a mesh sweater rack or an airing cupboard to allow the air to pass through the knit and get it to dry super fast. If you don’t have a rack, lay it on a clean flat surface overnight. Do not ever hang it to dry!
How often do you need to wash a cashmere sweater?
The answer depends on how much you sweat while wearing the item. It also helps if you are also wearing an undershirt. A cashmere sweater cannot be washed after every wear. Since the fabric is so fragile, washing it too often can damage it.
Cashmere pieces should be washed every three to four times they are worn. Cashmere of good quality actually gets better with each wash. The wonderful fluff that makes a cashmere sweater so soft and cozy doesn’t form on the surface until it has been worn for a while.
Removing wrinkles from a cashmere sweater
Even though cashmere does not wrinkle as much as other fabrics, it can still wrinkle and look unsightly. A steamer or iron can be used to remove wrinkles from your cashmere sweater.
- Hang the sweater on the bar of the hanger. It will stretch out the cloth if you hang it the same way you hang your jacket.
- Take your fabric steamer and gently steam one side before turning it around for the other. Repeat the procedure until the wrinkles have disappeared.
If you don’t have a fabric steamer, you can remove the wrinkles with an iron. Here is how to do it.
- Set your iron to the lowest setting for wool. Unlike other fabrics, avoid putting the iron in direct contact with cashmere. Avoid it at all costs!
- Place a damp cotton cloth between the iron and the cashmere sweater. Steam will be released when you place the hot iron on the wet cloth.
How to remove stains on a cashmere sweater
There may be numerous solutions for various stains, but only a few are safe for cashmere garments. Stains can be difficult to remove from cashmere, and improper cleaning can damage the fabric. Since cashmere is composed of short strands of natural wool fibers, it is highly vulnerable to damage. Here are the safest ways to remove stains from cashmere.
- Cold water: When you stain your cashmere, place it in a container of cold water. If you cannot remove it, dampen a cloth and blot the stained area. Be gentle when blotting to avoid stretching the fabric. Do not use soap or hot water. Hot water and cashmere should not go together because they can pull the fabric.
- Use the back of the knife, spoon, fork, or credit card: When your cashmere is stained with wet and oily substances, you can scoop up the spill with these objects. Then, proceed to the process of blotting or rinsing.
- Wool-safe soaps: When the stain is so severe that water alone cannot remove it, you can soak it in wool-safe soap-infused water for a few minutes.
- Water with vinegar: This mixture can be used to remove yellow stains commonly found in the underarms of sweaters that have been stored for an extended period.
Cashmere sweaters can last a lifetime, but they must be washed and cared for gently. Don’t just throw your cashmere sweater into the machine with your other clothes and risk ruining it.
You can hand-washed or dry-clean your cashmere sweater but the best way to wash it is by hand-washing it. If you follow the steps above, we are confident that your cashmere sweater will last for years and that you can pass it down to your children.
Jessica Oliver is a fashion enthusiast with more than ten years of experience in the industry. She previously managed her own clothing store in New York before becoming a mother of three. With a passion for sustainability and a desire to share clothing care and recycling tips.