In spite of the generally accepted ideas, cashmere is a noble material that is rather easy to maintain. It is a soft and delicate natural fiber that reveals itself with each wash in an incomparable fineness and softness.
But for this, it is important to adopt good maintenance practices and to stick to them! Here are some instructions that should help you keep your cashmere in good condition for many years.
1. Cashmere is a water hog
You've just bought a new cashmere sweater and you can't wait to wear it and enjoy its soft warmth.
However, out of the package, the sweater doesn't feel as soft as it should. This is normal! First of all, it is important to wash your garment once to get rid of any impurities and to nourish the fiber which is greedy for water.
It should then find softness and that will only improve with each washing.
Keep in mind that cashmere loves water, washing will only make it more beautiful. It will then need regular maintenance to relax the fiber and prevent the appearance of pilling.
2. Washing cashmere in the machine
If some cashmere pieces can only withstand dry cleaning (veils, scarves, double-sided fabrics...), our soft fiber likes to soak in water to assert its splendor. Cleaning in a washing machine is therefore recommended.
If in doubt, refer to the care label located inside the garment. It will provide you with valuable advice on washing, drying and ironing your garment.
Generally speaking, cleaning in a washing machine is recommended because it has the advantage of better respecting the cashmere fibers. However, be careful not to fill the machine, as this would encourage rubbing and damage the material.
It is advisable to use gentle or delicate programs such as a special wool program, at a low washing temperature (20°C or even 30°C if the garment is stained). Indeed, a cashmere exposed to a too hot water risks to shrink or to be deformed! To optimize the washing of cashmere in machine, it is preferable to use a washing bag in which to enclose the garment to avoid rubbing and snags.
Also, use a special detergent for wool (or cashmere) that you will integrate sparingly in the machine. Cashmere is a dense product that will absorb the detergent and will require more rinsing to remove it. In fact, you risk to see your garment deforming under the weight of the action.
Finally, never use fabric softener on a cashmere knit. It may cause the fabric to alter its softness.
3. Washing cashmere by hand
If your washing machine does not have a specific program, you can opt for hand washing. However, be careful to adopt good practices. First of all, it is important not to let the garment soak for more than 30 minutes.
As for machine washing, make sure to use cold water (20°C) and a special wool detergent or shampoo for cashmere.
Soak the garment quickly, rub it gently for a few minutes and rinse with clean water.
Never put the knitwear directly under the tap. The water pressure will stretch the fiber and damage it. Similarly, carefully avoid stretching or twisting the garment as this can cause irreversible deformation.
Finally, if necessary, dry cleaning can be considered in case of heavy soiling, although it is not recommended.
Dry the cashmere
If it is possible to spin cashmere in the washing machine, the use of a tumble dryer is not recommended.
Be sure to aim for a gentle spin (recommended spin speed between 400 and 500 rpm max) at the risk of felting the garment.
Avoid drying the knitwear on a hanger. The weight of the wet fabric would pull on the fiber and stretch it.
Instead, dry it flat, air dry, on a towel or cotton cloth, away from light and heat.
Before putting it away, make sure your sweater is dry! Wet cashmere is a favorite dish for moths!
As we mentioned before, cashmere care is not that difficult and even leaves room for ironing the material. Several rules apply to ironing cashmere :
- Use a gentle heat mode
- Iron on the back of the garment
- Place a clean cloth between the iron and the knit
- Avoid ironing the ribbed edges of the collar, body and sleeves at the risk of burning them
The use of steam or, ideally, a steamer is welcome!
The daily care of cashmere
After purchase, it may happen that your cashmere sweater pills in a superficial way at the level of the zones of friction. Don't panic, it's normal !
It is even a very good proof of quality. Indeed, these first pilling testify of a dense knitting and should disappear in about ten washes. However, if you want to get rid of these disgraces, don't pull on it, use a special razor and pass it in the direction of the fiber, without pressing, and this, occasionally.
There are also cashmere combs that can help you take care of your knits.
In any case, it is best to avoid wearing your cashmere pieces for more than 3 days in a row and avoid layering your clothes. Rubbing damages the knitwear and accelerates the appearance of pilling.
Do not hang cashmere in the closet. Preferably folded and stored in a protective cover, away from light.