How to Wash and Care for 100% Cashmere Items
Congratulations, you've invested in a luxurious cashmere piece for yourself. Maybe you're even the lucky owner of a brand new, 100% Cashmere item from Bed Threads. Either way, you've taken a big step and committed to adding some 100% cashmere into your life, which means that you've committed to caring for it, too.
Cashmere is a very special fibre, extra soft and warm to the touch, but it's also delicate. It needs TLC in order to stay fresh in your wardrobe or on your bed for years and years to come. Here's exactly how to handle your cashmere items with care.
Like anything made from wool, cashmere should always either be washed carefully by hand or on a gentle, wool-specific cycle in your washing machine. Use a specialty wool detergent, one made from natural ingredients and designed for cleansing the most delicate of items. And always, always wash cashmere in cool water. Anything above 30°c (86°F) is a big no-no, as warm or hot water will cause your cashmere to shrink.
If you are washing in a machine, place your items inside out in a delicates bag. If washing by hand, fill your tub with tepid water and a capful of detergent. Wash each item one at a time by placing in water and gently swirling around. If there are specific stains or dirt that need attention, now is the time to give them extra love. When you've finished the wash, leave the item to soak for about 15 minutes.
When you take your cashmere garment out of the wash, it will probably be quite wet. Do not fear, but also do not wring. We repeat: do not wring. Wringing cashmere will change the look and feel of the garment and stretch it out of shape, making it look and feel less luxurious than it would otherwise. Place the item flat on a towel to dry. If you feel it's holding too much water, you can gently roll the towel up like a sleeping bag, squeezing softly as you go.
One of the benefits of cashmere is its relatively loose weave (compared with some wool knits), which allows the natural fibres to spring back into shape. While cashmere is incredibly cosy and comfortable, it isn't the kind of thing you should be throwing into the wash every time you wear it.
If your cashmere doesn't require a deep clean, you can spot clean using liquid detergent and cloth. If it just needs airing, lay it flat on top of your clothes rack overnight. If you're planning on giving your cashmere a proper break—a sweater vacation, if you will—fold, don't hang, and store in one of your Bed Threads linen sacks for safekeeping. This will protect your cashmere from moths and mould, keeping it fresh for its next appearance on the main stage.
The upside of cashmere is that it's just about the softest thing you'll ever wear. The downside? Pilling. Because of the delicate nature of the natural fibres, pilling—the gathering of bobbles of textiles over time—is a common occurrence. You'll generally find pilling anywhere that the cashmere rubs together. Think under the arms on a jumper or between the legs on a pair of pants.
The recommended way to handle pilling is by shaving your cashmere regularly. Don't use a regular razor, as these can be too harsh against the delicate cashmere fibres. Instead, invest in a cashmere comb designed specifically to help remove pilling. Lay your item flat, brush gently in the pilled area in one direction, and you should see the pilling come away easily on the comb.
There are a couple of absolute don'ts when it comes to cashmere, so take note:
- Do not wash in hot water. Ever. Ever ever. Just don't do it.
- If washing in a machine, do not use spin cycle. The spin cycle pulls cashmere out of shape. While we're on the subject, for the same reason do not wring cashmere dry.
- Do not use fabric softener. Cashmere is naturally soft—that's it's so special. You don't need fabric softener to keep it that way. In fact, using fabric softener (which is synthetic) could damage the natural fibres.
- Do not hang your cashmere up. Hangers and hooks will stretch the cashmere and cause it to lose its shape.
- Do not store cashmere dirty. Moths love dirty cashmere almost as much as they love flames and lightbulbs. Putting away a dirty cashmere jumper or pair of pants is like inviting your household moths to a big feast held in their honour. If you're between washes and your cashmere item has only a few small stains, spot clean them before folding and putting back into the drawer or cupboard.
- Do not use a razor to shave pilling on your cashmere. Only use a cashmere comb.
- Do not over-wash. Cashmere can survive without being washed regularly, thanks to airing and spot-cleaning. Wash only when your garment really needs to be cleaned, and you will help preserve its softness and shape for longer.
This might seem like a lot, we know, but once you get the hang of caring for cashmere it'll become second nature to you.
Remember, cashmere is an investment, and you need to do a little bit of work to maintain that investment. Look after it, and it will look after you, keeping you deliciously cosy for the rest of the foreseeable future. Not a bad deal, right?