How to Wash Cashmere (Hand & Machine)

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Categories Doing Laundry
Save money on dry cleaning by washing your cashmere.

If you’re lucky enough to own a cashmere sweater, you’ll know the luxury of this material. Soft and almost silky to the touch, cashmere is a blissful fabric to wear. It comes from the fleecy under layer of a goat’s coat.

While it’s perfect for keeping cozy all winter long, cashmere can be quite tricky to keep clean.

The last thing you want to do is pull your cashmere sweater from the wash and find it twisted, tangled, or totally stretched out. So sit back, relax and let us teach you exactly how to wash cashmere clothes, so they can last a long time.

How to Wash Cashmere

Fill a basin with warm water, around 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Add a teaspoon of gentle detergent. Swirl the cashmere item around slowly. Do this for a few minutes depending on how soiled the garment is. Rinse gently to remove soap. Blot out excess moisture with a towel. Lay flat on a drying rack to dry.


How to Hand Wash Cashmere

What You Need

  • A shallow wash basin or sink.
  • Gentle laundry soap — low alkaline is best.
  • Clean white towel.
  • Mesh drying rack.

Instructions

1. Prepare Your Wash Basin

Fill the basin or sink with warm water, around 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Add a small amount of hand wash detergent — about one teaspoon per gallon. Swirl the water around to evenly distribute the detergent.

Something to Note

If the water is too hot, the dyes can bleed. If it’s too cold, stains won’t come out. So it’s a good idea to stick somewhere in the middle with cool to warm water.

2. Wash Garments — Start With Light Colors

Separate your colors and organize them from lightest to darkest. You want to start with the lights, in case there is any bleeding or fading.

Add the first item to the wash basin or sink. Gently swirl it around in a circular motion. Don’t pull, stretch or rub the fabric. This can change the shape of the item and ruin it.

Do this for two to five minutes, depending on how soiled the garment is. The longer you do it, the more dirt you’ll get out. However, it also increases the chance for the garment to fade or bleed.

So, if it’s not that dirty, a couple minutes will do just fine!

3. Rinse to Remove Soap

Empty the water and fill the basin or sink back up with clean water. Keep the cashmere item in the water. Repeat this step until all the soap suds are gone.

Don’t pour the water directly onto the garment, since it might stretch the fabric. Cool water will do great here.

4. Remove Excess Water

Roll the item into a loose ball. Gently press it against the side of the sink or basin to drain excess water. Do not wring the item, no matter what. This is worse than putting it into a delicate wash in your machine!

5. Blot With a Towel

Lay your clean white towel down on a flat surface. Make sure it’s big enough for the whole garment. Lay the item on top of the towel, flattening out any bumps and wrinkles.

Start at the top of the garment. Rolling the garment and the towel together, press down gently but firmly enough for the towel to absorb the excess water. When you unroll the towel, check if the cashmere item is still super wet. If it is, repeat this step with a dry towel.

6. Dry

Hang the cashmere item onto a mesh drying rack. Leave it there until it’s fully dry. Repeat this with the other cashmere items, going from lights to darks.

How to Machine Wash Cashmere

Yep, you can actually wash cashmere in a washing machine. Of course, it’s best to hand wash so that you’re definitely in control. But if you’re in a mad rush, we can help you when it comes to washing a cashmere item with your machine.

What You Need

  • A washing machine with a delicate or wool cycle.
  • Wool and cashmere detergent.
  • Mesh washing bag.
  • Mesh drying rack.

Instructions

1. Set Your Washing Machine

It’s so important that you put your washing machine on the right setting. If you have a delicate or wool cycle, choose one of those. Wool will be better, if you have both. Set the temperature to cold, so that the item doesn’t shrink, fade or change shape. Add your detergent to the dispenser or directly to the drum, depending on your machine.

2. Prepare Your Clothes

You shouldn’t just toss in cashmere items as if they can handle anything. They’re delicate fabrics and should be treated with extra care. That is why we recommend putting them inside a mesh washing bag. This keeps them protected during the cycle.

Once they’re in the washing machine, close the door and turn on your machine.

3. Dry

Never put cashmere into a dryer; it should always be air-dried. When your items are washed, take them out of the machine and lay them flat to air dry. This is where your mesh drying rack comes in handy.

How to Treat Stains on Cashmere

It’s never a good day when you get a nasty stain on your favorite sweater. Especially if it’s cashmere! But fear not, because you can zap these stains away with these helpful tips.

What You’ll Need

  • Gentle detergent or baby shampoo.
  • Clean white cloth.
  • Cold water.
  • Dish washing liquid.
  • Basin.
  • Mesh drying rack.

Instructions

  • For makeup or grease based stains: Blot the stain gently with a cold clean white cloth. Pretreat the stain by soaking the cashmere in a gentle detergent or baby shampoo. Afterwards, rinse the cashmere item in cold water and let it dry on your rack.
  • For chocolate stains: Dip your clean white cloth in a gentle detergent and lightly rub the stain. Don’t scrub too hard. Afterwards, rinse the item in cold water. Leave it to air dry on your drying rack.
  • For red wine, tea or coffee: Dip your clean white cloth in cold water and dishwashing liquid. This is great for getting out food stains — it’s made for dishes, after all! If you use soap or detergents, you might set the stain. Gently rub the stain with the cloth. Rinse your item in cold water and hang on a drying rack.

Tips to Make Cashmere Clothes Last

When you fork out the money to buy a cashmere item, you want it to last. Even wearing your cashmere cardigan out and about may be terrifying because you’re afraid of staining it. But with these tips, you can be sure your cashmere item will last a long time.

  • Don’t hang cashmere: When you put your cashmere items away, ditch the hangers. They will distort the shape and pull the fabric. Gently fold them up and keep them in a drawer instead.
  • Shave regularly: Shave your cashmere clothes regularly. Say what? Yes, shave. The fibers can pill often, which usually happens in places where a lot of friction occurs. To prevent this, use a sharp razor blade, lint tape or a Gleener to prevent fuzzing.
  • Store correctly: We’ve mentioned keeping your cashmere items in a drawer. But what about those summer months when you aren’t going to wear this cozy material? Put your garment in a breathable bag or storage box and keep it in a cool, dry area. For extra measures, wrap each item in acid-free tissue paper. This prevents wrinkles.
  • Wash occasionally: You don’t need to wear and wash cashmere. We recommend only washing cashmere after about three wears, or if you notice a stain. Air it out after each wear and use a freshening spray to keep it clean between washes.
  • Give your cashmere a break: One big tip for cashmere is to give it a break. If you wear it every single day, you’ll wear it out. It’s best to keep cashmere for special occasions, or give it a few days in between wears.
  • Don’t dry clean: Despite what a lot of labels say on cashmere clothing, do not dry clean. We repeat: do not dry clean cashmere! Dry cleaning has the ability to break down and damage the fibers on cashmere items. Plus, washing cashmere in water makes it fluffy over time — just like a goat’s fur!
  • Don’t pair it with rough clothing: Wondering what to pair your cashmere garment with? A silk scarf, pearl jewellery or a soft cardigan will do. Don’t pair it with rough clothing like metal jewellery, belts, or leather items like crocodile bags.
  • Skip the fabric softener: We know, we love fabric softener, too. But using it with cashmere can actually have the opposite effect. Your cashmere will soften from cool water over time, so don’t worry about it getting rough, if you’re following our cleaning tips.

FAQs

Before you go out and buy your cashmere items, let’s continue educating you on this amazing fabric. Then you can tell your friends and family that you’re now a cashmere expert. To do so, we’ll answer some super important frequently asked questions.

Can You Wash Cashmere That Says Dry Clean Only?

Yes. Like we said, ignore that care label for the most part. You can get your cashmere clean and fresh from our tips and tricks. That said, if you’re struggling or super nervous, then take your item to a dry cleaners.

For stains you can’t get out, or for woven cashmere, a dry cleaners will probably do a better job than you can. Also, for items with leather buttons, loose knit structures, embroidery or beading, you can opt for a trip to the dry cleaners.

How Often Should You Wash Cashmere?

Every three or four wears. If you take a few days break between wears, then this becomes round about every ten days or so. Don’t worry though, because cashmere gets better with every wash! So as long as you’re following our instructions, your cashmere will remain in great condition.

Can You Use Regular Detergent For Cashmere?

We’re glad you asked. The answer is no. Regular detergent is way too harsh for the sensitivity of cashmere. Instead, use a baby shampoo or a wool and cashmere detergent. Something gentle is always best for cashmere.

Will Cashmere Shrink During Washing?

If you use heat during washing cashmere, yes, it can shrink. Always make sure the water is cold or slightly warm. Stick to 85 degrees Fahrenheit, maximum.

Does Cashmere Stretch Out During Washing?

Cashmere can stretch during washing. Unfortunately, cashmere doesn’t tend to bounce back to its original shape if it does stretch. This is why we recommend a few things:

  • Always be gentle when washing.
  • If you’re putting it into the machine, use a mesh bag.
  • Don’t wring it out while it’s wet.
  • Never put it in the dryer.
  • Lie it flat to dry.
  • Don’t hang it up on a hanger. Fold it neatly into a drawer or keep it on a shelf.

If you do end up stretching your cashmere, try hand washing it in cold water, reshape it to the best of your ability and dry it flat.


Care for Your Cashmere

We know it sounds like a lot of work to keep your cashmere clothes in tip top condition. But it’s all worth it when you get to pull on your cozy fleece sweater and feel its warmth all day long.

Make sure to follow these tips to properly hand wash, machine wash and treat stains for your cashmere items. As long as you use cool water, a gentle detergent and the correct techniques, your cashmere can last a very long time.

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About the Author

Beth McCallum

Beth McCallum is a 20-something freelance writer & book blogger with a degree in creative writing, journalism and English literature. Beth firmly believes that a tidy house is a tidy mind. She is always looking for new ways to sustainably clean and tidy her house, that's kind on the environment but effective in the house, too!
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