Cashmere is one of the most luxurious fabrics known to mankind. Not only is it incredibly soft, but it is also an exceptional insulator. Capable of keeping you downright cozy in the winter and cool in the spring and even summer – cashmere is something everyone should invest in for their closet.
The reason cashmere is such a special textile is in how thin it is. To put things into perspective, Grade A Cashmere fibers must be a most 16.5 microns in thickness. The human hair averages between 60 and 100 microns. The source of cashmere is also rare, with only a few Kashmir goats providing this delicate fiber around the world.
Buying cashmere is never just about what’s in fashion, either. It is an investment in your future. The more you wear it, wash it, and care for it, the softer it will become. That being said, it is also delicate. You need to know how to care for it properly so that you can enjoy this heirloom piece for years to come.
How to Care for Your Cashmere
The most obvious and efficient means to care for your cashmere is to follow the care label. As you might start to discern after perusing cashmere is that many of these care labels state “dry clean only.” Dry cleaning your cashmere is a perfectly acceptable means of caring for your products, but it isn’t the only way. In fact, dry cleaning your cashmere means that it doesn’t gain that liquid, luxurious softness that it is known for over time.
You should never just chuck your cashmere into the washing machine, however. If you do want to wash your cashmere at home then you are going to need to be patient, careful, and consistent.
How to Wash Your Cashmere at Home
- Use Cool Water in a Sink or Tub
- Use Gentle Shampoo or Gentle Detergent
- Gently Hand Wash
- Press Water Out Gently (Don’t Wring)
- Dry Flat Between Towels
- Reshape As It Dries
If you have a quality washing machine, putting your cashmere in a mesh bag and then setting your machine to delicate can also work, but you will want to dry it the same way (between towels, dry flat, reshape).
How to Store Your Cashmere
Storing cashmere must be done very carefully, especially if you live in an area that is ridden with moths. Moth holes can be fixed with the help of a re-weaver. These re-weavers can completely give new life back into your cashmere, though they are not cheap. The better alternative is to take preventative measures against these holes, which means knowing how to store your cashmere properly.
Cedarwood, mothballs, and other home remedies are popular when it comes to detracting moths, but the only way to effectively and completely protect your cashmere while you store it (even if it’s just for the night) is in a plastic bag. You can even put dryer sheets between your sweaters to help them smell fresh in their plastic bag while they are in your drawer or put away for the summer.
How to Mend Your Cashmere
Cashmere is a delicate fabric, which means that you need to look after the garments properly.
What to Do If Your Cashmere Has Shrunk
If your cashmere sweater somehow snuck into your regular laundry pile and has shrunk, don’t panic. Cashmere is delicate, but being shrunk is not the end of the world. Instead, there are a few options available to help you unshrink your cashmere. In each case you will need a bucket or sink, then:
- Use 1 – 2 tablespoons per one quart of water
- Soak your cashmere for 30 minutes
- Stretch out your cashmere underwater
- Press water out between towels
- Repeat steps 1 – 4 if still too small
- Reshape it as it dries
What to Do If Your Cashmere Piles
Cashmere doesn’t pile like other fabrics (like acrylic) do. Instead, they fluff up. It is this quality that makes them incredibly soft to the touch. That being said, if you do want to shave off the piling on your cashmere sweater, you should use a fabric shaver or get your dry cleaner to do it (if that is a service they offer). Unless the piling is somehow unsightly, however, you should just enjoy the extra softness and snuggle in.
What to Do There is a Hole
Moth holds, tears, cigarette burns – there are so many different reasons why your cashmere might collect tiny holes throughout their lives. Thankfully there are re-weavers that can mend these holds so that they are completely invisible. Re-weaving is exactly what it sounds like; it means replacing the knit that has been damaged. It is very difficult to do – hence the cost – but it means getting a perfect cashmere sweater back again and again.
What to Do If The Seams Come Apart
Seams are easy to mend on your own if you have a simple sewing kit and know a thing or two about mending your clothes. You can even take classes to learn how to properly mend your clothes so that you can keep your clothes in tip-top condition. If you don’t have the skill, there are menders available, just as re-weavers, who can fix your cashmere sweater for you.