Cashmere is a luxurious fabric made out of the wool from a type of goat native to an area in and around India known as the Kashmir region. Just as the wrong shampoo can strip and damage out hair, the wrong soap can do the same damage to the delicate goat hair fibers of cashmere. It is important to avoid detergents, including typical laundry detergents, as they can remove the oils that keep the cashmere fibers feeling soft. Handwashing is the best method for cleaning as it prevents the fabric from stretching, shrinking, or pilling. (For machine washing, see the Additional Tips section.) Follow the steps below to ensure your item is well cared for.
You Will Need:
- Mild shampoo or soap
- Baby shampoo, Neutrogena, or Dove shampoo are good options
- A good soap choice is a mild castile soap, such as Dr. Bronner’s Baby
- Good laundry soaps are Woolite or delicate fabric soaps
- There are shampoos made specifically for cashmere (see the Additional Tips section below).
- A sink or bathtub
- A large towel
Steps to Clean Cashmere Fabric:
- Fill a sink or bathtub with enough lukewarm water to cover the item.
- Add a very mild detergent or shampoo (see suggestions above) to the water and mix it in with your hand.
- Place the item in the soapy water.
- Pump the item in the water with your hand to gently work the suds through the fabric. Do this for about a minute. Try not to let any of the fabric rub together or it may cause pilling (little balls of lint).
- Hold the item carefully out of the water and drain the sink.
- Refill the sink with lukewarm water and put the cashmere item in the water.
- Pump the cashmere in the water. Do this enough to thoroughly rinse the soap out of the fabric.
- Repeate steps 5-7 if the rinse water seemed particularly soapy.
- Once the item is rinsed well, remove it from the water.
- Gently squeeze or press the fabric to remove the excess water. Never wring or twist the material as it will lose its original shape.
- Lay the item out on a clean towel, adjusting it to its original shape, and roll the towel up (jelly roll style) with the cashmere item in the middle. Apply pressure to the towel, then unroll. This will help to remove even more moisture from the fabric.
- Lay the item flat on another clean dry towel to air-dry.
Additional Tips and Advice
- Never hang your cashmere item on a hanger as it will lose its shape. Rather, when the item is completely dry, gently fold and lay flat in a drawer until ready to use.
- Avoid laying cashmere near a heater or in the sunlight to dry as it will shorten the life of the garment.
- There are laundry detergent that are specifically made for cashmere, such as The Laundress Wool & Cashmere Shampoo or Nú Wash Cashmere. Both can be found online, in some specialty stores, or even in some supermarkets. Delicate fabric detergents are also good choices.
- Some cashmere items, such as woven cashmere, are dry clean only. Check the label carefully as it is best to avoid washing a cashmere item that is dry clean only.
- A jelly roll is a type of rolled cake. You can see what it looks like by doing an internet search for jelly roll pastry images. It is the same rolling technique used for rolling up a sleeping bag.
- If you want to machine wash your cashmere item, turn it inside out and put it in a laundry washing bag or a pillowcase (and tie the pillowcase shut). Use the delicate cycle, cold water, and the same soap choices listed above. Lay the item flat to dry.
- Protect your cashmere items from moths by keeping a sachet of dried lavender or rosemary sprigs in the drawer or closet with them.
- The Cleaning Encyclopedia by Don Aslett
- Martha Stewart’s Homekeeping Handbook by Martha Stewart
- Easy Green Living by Renee Loux
- How to Clean Practically Anything by Consumer Reports
- The Cleaning Bible by Kim Woodburn and Aggie MacKenzie