In our humble opinion, wrapping yourself in cashmere—aka, the official fabric of heaven—is one of the many highlights of fall. (Others include ankle boots, not feeling guilty for staying in, and Thomas Kinkade-level foliage. No comment on pumpkin spice lattes.) Cashmere, wool made from the fiber of the cashmere goat, is special and should be treated as such. So how do you take care of your precious cashmere sweaters and scarves to avoid tragedies like pilling and moth holes? We turned to three cashmere experts to get all the insider tips.
Every three to five wears seems to be the expert consensus on how often to wash your cashmere. You should always hand wash using a super-mild detergent or even a baby shampoo. Yes, dry cleaning is easier, but dry cleaners often use harsh chemicals, so hand washing is your best bet for keeping cashmere baby-soft. “Keep your cashmere clean to get rid of smells and dust and to avoid excess pilling,” says Oon founder Sumnima Moktan. “Fabric softener for cashmere is a no-no.” “The best way to clean and maintain the softness of your cashmere is a gentle hand wash with cold water. Gently massage your cashmere in a clean sink of cold water. A mild detergent such as hair shampoo is highly recommended. To rinse, ball up the cashmere, and squeeze excess water gently, and repeat with clean water until detergent is gone. Do not wring or tumble dry,” says Cashmerism founder Sabrina Jiang.
Never, ever shove your precious cashmere garments into a dryer or hang to dry. “Lay your semi-wet cashmere onto a dry towel and roll it up to press out as much water as you can. Lay your cashmere flat on a drying rack under the shade to dry. Never hang,” says Sumnima. “Removing excess water is very important because cashmere should not be wet for long periods of time,” cautions cashmere expert White + Warren.
Moths, cashmere’s mortal enemy, can be deterred by storing your clean garments in airtight containers or clothing bags along with cedar or lavender sachets. “Before storing your cashmere away for the season, make sure you thoroughly clean it. Even if it doesn’t look dirty, the tiniest traces of food, skin, grease, or sweat can attract clothes moths. Store your cleaned cashmere in a cashmere protector bag,” says Sabrina. White + Warren also suggests, “Cotton pillowcases will work if you don’t have dust bags. Put dust bags in an air-tight bin with cedar chips or lavender sachets. Cedar and lavender are natural moth repellants and lavender will leave behind a pleasant scent (unlike moth balls which are toxic and leave an odor that is hard to remove).”
All knitwear eventually starts pilling because it rubs against surfaces like your bags and coats. This is just loose fiber balling up and matting together. You can use a dedicated cashmere brush or comb (the bristles are closer together than a normal hairbrush) to gently remove pilling. “Pills can be easily removed by using cashmere comb. Don’t worry—there is plenty of fiber locked in the yarn to keep the garment soft and fluffy. To reduce pilling, don’t wear your cashmere with rough clothing, metal accessories, and rough leather items, like crocodile leather bags. This is a recipe for pilling,” says Sabrina.
Do you have any other questions about taking care of cashmere? Any tips we missed? Comment away below!
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