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How to Wash Cashmere

June 17, 2024

Cashmere is a delicate material that requires a bit of extra care in the laundry room. The last thing you want to do is throw it in the washer with your other clothes as it can become damaged or lose its shape.

What’s the best way to wash a cashmere sweater? How often should you do it? Keep reading for all the answers and more!

How Often to Wash Cashmere Sweaters

Cashmere garments don’t need to be washed after each wear – that will do more harm than good to the fibers.

how to wash cashmereFor casual items that you wear often, it’s best to wash them after three to four wears.

The garments that you only wear every now and then, however, can be washed once or twice per season.

Not only will that keep the cashmere fresh but it’ll also allow the fibers to relax between wears, reducing the need for frequent washing.

Opting for brushed cashmere garments (e.g. cashmere sweaters made from natural fibers instead of washed and dyed ones) will also minimize pilling and the frequency of washings.

Preparing Your Cashmere for Washing

Sorting cashmere items by color will prevent color bleeding and preserve the garment’s original hue. Any stains should also be pre-treated before washing.

Choosing the Right Detergent

While regular detergents may seem convenient, they’re not the best choice for cashmere as they contain harsh enzymes that can damage the delicate fibers. You also want to avoid fabric softener as they can lead to pilling.

Instead, opt for an all-natural product like ACTIVE Detergent. It’s formulated to preserve natural oils while providing a thorough cleaning.

ACTIVE Laundry Detergent Sheets are also great if you’re looking for an eco-friendly option. They will automatically dissolve in water and release a highly concentrated detergent that’s ideal for maintaining the integrity of cashmere garments.

How to Spot Clean Your Cashmere Sweater

how to spot clean cashmereHere’s how to spot-clean your cashmere garments using detergent or baby shampoo:

  1. Dissolve a small amount of ACTIVE Detergent in warm water and apply the mixture to the affected area
  2. Gently rub using a cotton swab
  3. Let it sit for at least 30 minutes then rinse with clean water to eliminate any detergent residue

How to Wash Cashmere By Hand

Hand washing cashmere involves soaking and agitating the garment in cool water with detergent before rinsing it thoroughly.

Soaking and Agitation

Start by filling a clean sink or basin with cool or lukewarm water. Avoid using hot water as it can damage the cashmere fibers.

Add a small amount of ACTIVE Detergent to create a soapy mixture.

Gently place your cashmere garment into the solution, giving it a few swirls to ensure the detergent penetrates the fibers.

Rinsing Out the Soap and Residue

Run cool water through the cashmere until the water is clear and free of soap residue – that means all the detergent has been rinsed out.

You may need to repeat the rinsing process with fresh water to ensure no soap suds remain. If you used baby shampoo or another type of gentle soap, refill the sink or tub with fresh water to rinse out the soap residues after soaking.

After rinsing, gently squeeze out any excess water from the cashmere fabric with your hands before laying them flat to dry.

Machine Washing Cashmere Clothes

Setting Up the Washing Machine

Ideally, you want to choose a gentle or delicate setting as they are meant to mimic the gentle actions of hand washing. And if you can, skip the spin cycle – that will prevent unnecessary stress on the fibers.

machine washing cashmere clothesWhen it comes to the temperature of the wash water, cold is best for cashmere fabrics; it will preserve the fabric’s softness and prevent shrinkage or felting.

It’s also important to choose the shortest cycle available to minimize the cashmere’s time in the machine, which will help prevent damage.

How to Dry Cashmere Properly

Never put cashmere or wool knits in the dryer, and avoid drying your garments near heat sources like radiators to prevent shrinkage and damage.

Instead, follow these steps:

  1. Gently press the excess water out of the cashmere without wringing to protect the garment’s shape and structure
  2. If necessary, roll the wet cashmere garment in a white towel to remove any remaining moisture
  3. Reshape it and lay the garment flat to air dry on a suitable flat surface like a mesh drying rack or a dry towel.

Keeping Your Cashmere Items In Tip-Top Condition

There are several things you can do to preserve the integrity of your cashmere pieces. For example, you can use a cashmere comb to remove pills. Avoid using razors or scissors as they can cause damage.

Before storing, make sure your cashmere is clean before placing it in a breathable cotton bag.

Avoid using cardboard or plastic as they can trap moisture and cause mildew or yellowing. Cedar chips or lavender sachets can also be used to protect cashmere from moths and insects.

To remove wrinkles from cashmere, use a steamer instead of an iron.

Washing Cashmere Items

Caring for your cashmere items doesn’t have to be a daunting task.

By washing and caring for them properly in-between washes, you’ll be able to extend their life so that you can enjoy their softness and warmth for years to come.

Key Takeaways

  • Avoid washing cashmere after each wear to preserve their texture and longevity
  • Pre-wash care is crucial – remember to sort by color and spot-treat any stains before washing
  • Use cashmere-specific or mild detergents to keep the fibers’ natural oils intact
  • You can hand wash cashmere or use the washing machine as long as you use a gentle cycle with cold water
  • Always air dry flat to maintain the shape and quality of the garment

Washing Cashmere – FAQs

Can you machine wash cashmere sweaters?

Yes, you can wash cashmere in the washing machine using a wool wash or a delicate cycle. For the best results, use a gentle detergent like the one by ACTIVE.

What kind of detergent should I use for cashmere?

active detergentWe recommend using ACTIVE Detergent for cashmere sweaters. It’s gentle, and all-natural and will clean the fabric without removing its natural oils. You can also use it to spot-treat stains. Simply dissolve some of the powder in warm water and apply the solution to the spot before rinsing with cool water.

Baby shampoo will also work in a pinch.

Can you put cashmere sweaters in the dryer?

Never put your cashmere sweater in the dryer – you don’t want to expose the delicate fibers to heat as it can cause the item to shrink or warp. Similarly, you don’t want to leave your item close to a heat source (e.g. heater, sunlight).

Lay your sweater flat in a well-ventilated area so that it can air dry instead.

How do you clean 100% cashmere?

It’s best to hand wash 100% cashmere pieces with cool water and detergent, or have it professionally dry cleaned.

Is it better to wash or dry clean cashmere?

It’s better to wash cashmere than to dry clean it, as the chemicals in dry cleaning fluids can harm the delicate structure of the cashmere.

Will cashmere shrink if machine-washed?

Yes, cashmere can shrink when washed, especially when exposed to heat. Given that, it’s best to wash it in cold water.

How often should I wash my cashmere items?

Frequently worn cashmere items should be washed every three to four years. Less frequently worn items can be washed once or twice a season.

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Sophia Grant

Sophia Grant brings her extensive knowledge of laundry and clothing care to the masses with her intensive cleaning guides. Her thorough understanding of fabrics, detergents, and washing techniques helps readers master the art of maintaining their wardrobe. Sophia's advice ensures that anyone can achieve professional-level results at home, keeping their garments looking pristine and lasting longer.

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