Caring for Cashmere

You do not need to take your cashmere (or wool) sweaters to the dry cleaner. I use an eco-friendly line of products from The Laundress to care for my sweaters, which not only smell luxurious, but help guard against moths and other critters who like to nibble on natural fabrics. Handwashing is the best method for preserving your natural knits and doing it yourself means you can keep harmful dry cleaning chemicals and harsh temperatures that may shrink the fabric away. Here’s how I wash:

  • In a large mixing bowl, or plastic bin, add a capful of wool & cashmere detergent and fill with cool water.

  • Submerge your garment and allow to fully soak. Agitate the fabric with your fingers and swirl around the bowl. Allow to rest in the water for up to 30 minutes.

  • You may notice that the water is quite cloudy, or that some dye has released and colored the water. Do not fret, since this is normal that some dye releases from the yarn, especially if the item is new. Drain the bowl and run cool water through your garment until you no longer see soap bubbles.

  • Press, do not wring, water out of the item and lay flat on a towel. Roll the towel up tightly to sop up excess water, then roll back out to allow to dry flat.

  • For finishing, I place my sweater on a padded hanger and steam to reform and smooth out the fabric. Then I spritz some wool & cashmere spray for extra freshness and protection against moths.

I will only wash a sweater when it’s absolutely necessary, since over-washing will degrade the fabric and your garment will wear out sooner than necessary. For in-between washings, I follow these tips:

  • After wearing, I will hang up my sweater on a padded hanger, spray it with wool and cashmere spray and steam it back into shape.

  • When I notice pilling, I use a sweater comb to make the fabric look like new again.

  • When I am wearing the sweater, I will brush off lint and light pilling with a sweater brush instead of using a lint roller. I find a stiff bristle brush to be much more effective.

  • I fold my sweaters Konmari-style and keep them in fabric drawers with lavender sachets tucked in between for freshness and to ward off pests.

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