How to Properly Launder Your Cashmere Clothing

If you’ve ever owned wool then you have a good idea of the difficulties inherent in taking care of it. But newcomers to the woolen garment game can easily end up stretching, shrinking, or otherwise damaging their clothing due to their lack of knowledge when it comes to cleaning these delicate items. And when you shell out the dough for a fine, cashmere garment, you definitely don’t want to ruin it the first time you launder it. Here are just a few steps you’ll want to follow when it comes to washing your cashmere clothing so that it remains wearable for the foreseeable future.

The first thing you need to know is that it cannot go in a washing machine. Ditto on the dryer. Washing and drying cashmere as though it was any other fabric will lead to all kinds of problems, potentially including stretching, shrinking, pilling, and even tearing. This delicate fabric was not meant to be washed by machine. Neither should you send it to a dry cleaner where harmful chemicals could destroy the natural fibers. Instead you’re going to have to resign yourself to hand washing your cashmere garments and laying them flat to dry.

But there’s a little more to the process if you want to preserve these pricey articles of clothing. You need to select appropriate detergent, to start with, and Woolite is sort of the gold standard when it comes to cleansing any type of wool. The instructions on the bottle should tell you how to use this product accordingly for your cashmere, including the proper mixture of solvent and water. But you also need to take the temperature into consideration. Heat will cause wool to shrink, so it’s best to wash your cashmere clothing in a clean sink filled with lukewarm or even cool water. And turn your garments inside out – that way if pilling occurs it will be on the inside of your sweater or other article of clothing, where no one can see it.

From there you need to take extreme care not to overly agitate your woolen knits. Wringing, bunching, and scrubbing can all stretch and damage your wool, especially when it’s wet, and cashmere is very lightweight and delicate, so it can be harmed even more easily than sturdier types of wool. Often, simply pushing your garment underwater and swirling it around is enough to remove the light soil of average wear. And once your garment is clean you should lay it on a towel and roll it up to remove excess water before reshaping and laying it flat to dry. Avoid the temptation to wring out water since this could stretch your cashmere.

Another thing to keep in mind is that you don’t necessarily have to wash your cashmere each time you wear it. Unless you suffer a spill or you sweat profusely, spot treatments may do the trick. The less you wash cashmere, the longer it is likely to last (although you definitely need to wash it if you plan to leave it packed up for any length of time, say during the summer season). When you purchase cashmere garments from a retailer like White and Warren you’re making an investment in a wardrobe piece that could last a lifetime. But you definitely have to launder it appropriately if you want it to serve you for years to come.