A soft, cosy cashmere jumper is probably the closest your clothes can get to giving you a hug. Knowing how to care for cashmere garments properly, from washing to drying to storage will help them to care for you for longer.
And since cashmere can come with a hefty price tag, mastering how to wash cashmere sweaters without shrinking or damaging them means you can get the most out of an investment piece.
How to hand wash cashmere
So how do you wash cashmere? High heat and agitation can make your lovely cashmere garments shrink to a child’s size, lose their shape or even start felting. The surest way to avoid damage is to wash them by hand so that you have full control over every step of the wash.
Before starting, always check the care label! Always be sure to take note of any special considerations.
Fill a sink or a large tub with cool water. One crucial rule for how to wash cashmere jumpers and other items is to avoid hot temperatures, as heat can cause the material to shrink.
Add a few drops of your chosen washing product and swirl it in. A gentle laundry detergent, a specialist Delicates detergent or some baby shampoo are all good options.
Submerge your cashmere in the bowl of water. Let it soak there for 5 minutes to loosen any dirt. Gently squeeze the fabric once so that the soapy water saturates the material.
Take your garments out and squeeze gently to get the excess soapy water out of the fabric. Take care not to wring the fabric as this could warp and stretch the shape.
Replace the soapy water with fresh, cool water. Then return your cashmere to the bowl and gently swirl again to rinse out the detergent
Repeat steps 3-4 again to make sure there’s no soapy residue left on your garments. Then, remove them from the bowl, gently squeezing out the excess water again.
Lay the damp cashmere out on a towel and check the shape and size. If any areas seem to have shrunk, now is the time to gently pull them into the right form. Be very cautious with this step: never tug at wet cashmere, and if in doubt, leave it alone.
Very carefully, roll sections of your cashmere items up in the towel to absorb excess water and then open it out again. If you’re here to find out how to wash a cashmere scarf, you could roll the whole thing up like a Swiss roll. Jumpers are best towel-dried section by section (each sleeve, then the body), to avoid warping the shape.
Leave your items on a flat surface or another dry towel for 24 hours to dry. Do not hang cashmere items up to dry; this could undo all of your efforts to keep the shape intact!
Can you machine-wash cashmere?
If you can avoid machine-washing cashmere, it’s always safer to wash it by hand. But if the care label says that a washing machine is appropriate to use, how do you wash cashmere without damaging it? These tips can help:
Wash on a delicate setting in your washing machine. Choose a setting with the lowest water temperature and a low spin.
Wash the garment in a laundry bag. This will help to limit the friction and agitation inside the machine. If you don’t have a special laundry bag, you can use an old white pillowcase tied at the open end.
Choose a gentle, delicates detergent like Persil Silk & Wool. To give your cosy pieces of cashmere an extra burst of fragrance, add Comfort Intense Perfume Pearls.
Do not tumble dry: as above, lie your cashmere items out to dry on a flat surface.
More tips on how to care for cashmere
Though knowing how to wash cashmere jumpers and accessories properly is maybe the most important cashmere care skill to master, some other good habits will help you make sure they stay in tip-top condition for longer.
Give them rest days. Yes, you probably want to wrap yourself in your favourite cashmere jumper all winter. But everyday wearing wears them out: cashmere can be prone to pilling, so after you’ve had it on for a day, give it at least 2-3 rest days.
Don’t hang them up. Store your cashmere folded in drawers instead of on hangers to help them maintain their shape for longer.
Only wash when necessary. Can you wash cashmere too often? Definitely. Even following the guidance above, frequent washing will increase wear and tear. Where possible, protect your cashmere from sweat by wearing t-shirts under jumpers.
Mastering how to hand- and machine-wash cashmere and care for your precious pieces means you can enjoy the cosy (and very chic) embrace of a cashmere jumper for longer.