How to wash cashmere – the definitive guide.
Although the label may say “Dry-clean only” on most shop bought cashmere garments, We here at Purl English would whole heartedly recommend washing your cashmere by hand using a mild washing detergent such as a baby shampoo. This may seem like a bit of a fiddle, but the process is surprisingly quick and effective.
The chemicals used for Dry Cleaning can strip the cashmere of it’s natural oils and could eventually shorten the lifestyle of the item. High quality cashmere will improve with hand-washing, developing a soft, languid handle that becomes increasingly lustrous, almost oily.
If you have a delicate wash cycle or wool wash cycle on your washing machine this can be a quick and effective way to clean cashmere but do beware as all too often disaster can strike with a wash that is too hot or a spin cycle that is too vigorous. Even the most seasoned of us can make fatal errors, we speak from experience!
You don’t need to wash a cashmere jumper after every wear, aim to wash every seven to 10 wears, and at the end of each winter season.
To remove a stain, put a small amount of baby shampoo on a cotton bud or pad and rub it into the stain. Let it sit for at least 30 minutes before rinsing out the stain with water or washing your cashmere.
Here’s how to wash cashmere by hand.
To Hand Wash your cashmere you will need;
Specialist wool-wash or baby shampoo.
Large bowl or basin to soak your item
A large white bath towel
Wash your cashmere the right way
Fill a clean basin with lukewarm water, never ever use hot water as your item will shrink. Add baby shampoo to the water, place your item in the water and let it soak for 10 minutes or so gently giving it a couple of gentle swirls to to loosen any dirt.
Next, you’ll need to rinse out the shampoo. Empty the basin and re-fill it with water, re-submerge the jumper. Gently squeeze and compress the cashmere lightly into a ball to remove the excess water.
A highly effective way to dry cashmere, is to use the towel-rolling method. Lay a white bath towel flat on a surface, place your cashmere on top of the towel, and then roll both together, squeezing as you go to extract more water. Never ever wring cashmere, as you will twist the stitches and it will be very hard to return the garment to it’s original shape.
Cashmere must be laid flat to dry correctly. Lay a dry white towel on a table, dry the garment on top after spending a little time reshaping it. Do not hang it up to dry or the fabric will stretch.
A cool iron can be used to press cashmere and to give it a “just bought” finish.
Always wash a cashmere sweater before storing it away. Moths love dirty cashmere.
To make your own natural moth repellant, place dried rosemary, thyme, cloves, lavender or bay leaves into a small cloth bag and hang them in your wardrobe and place them in your drawers. The oil form of these herbs, sprayed on contaminated areas and clothes, can also repel moth.
It’s always a good idea to give your stored cashmere the occasional shake, Moth hate to be disturbed !