Ever since I treated myself to my Naadam cashmere sweatsuit (pictured above – hoodie, joggers… the BEST!), I have been getting a lot of questions about how I take care of my cashmere pieces. So today, let’s talk about that! Cashmere is actually one of the most long-lasting fibers available. If you take good care of your cashmere, you’ll have it for years to come. (I still have a J.Crew cashmere sweater or two that I bought when I first moved to the city 14 years ago, which is kind of crazy – though J.Crew’s cashmere used to be much nicer IMO).
I think the thing to remember is to be as gentle on your cashmere as possible. The less you can wash and dry it, the better. And just be gentle to it. After you wear your cashmere, let it air out a bit, decide if it needs any extra care (washing or pill / stain removal), and gently fold it up for next time.
Tips for Taking Care of Your Cashmere
Dry Clean Sparingly.
Of course, dry cleaning is effective but I try not to dry clean my cashmere very often. Besides being expensive, it definitely takes a toll. Your cashmere garment is never going to be quite as soft once you’ve dry cleaned it more than a handful of times. Hand washing is definitely the best option when possible!
Hand wash at home.
With the exception of cashmere socks which can get a little gross, I don’t wash my cashmere every single time I wear it. But when I do, I use The Laundress’s wool & cashmere wash. I have a little glass basin that I’ll stick inside my sink and will wash each piece (besides socks and small items) individually in cold water.
You definitely want a very mild detergent. The wool & cashmere shampoo works well but I’ve used The Laundress’s regular detergent as well (the Santal 26 one smells SO GOOD). I have heard baby shampoo will do the job as well, but I’ve never tried that!
Mix the water and detergent together and then squish and press the soapy water through the garment.
I generally avoid the washing machine. Frankly, I don’t have a washing machine so hand washing is more convenient. I have heard that it’s fine if you use the gentle cycle and cold water (placing your items inside of a mesh bag) BUT this is not a part of my routine. I’d probably try it if I did have a washing machine but I’m also paranoid.
Lay it flat to dry.
After you’ve rinsed the garment, press as much water out as possible. I like to stick it on the floor of my bathtub to let any excess water drain away, and then I’ll press it firmly with the palms of my hand to release as much water as possible. Once most of the water is out of the fabric I will lay my pieces flat on a towel and let them dry. The best way to do this is before bed; they’re usually dry by morning!
This is really important; if you hang a wet cashmere garment it will stretch out and lose its shape!
Between washes, use fabric refresher and treat for any pilling..
I love this fabric refresher, also from The Laundress (everything they make is SO great!). It smells so good and removes any odors so that you don’t have to wash it.
I have and LOVE this fabric shaver which I use to remove any pills… it’s fast and easy. One of my girlfriends has and loves this cashmere comb which is a prettier, smaller, (and battery-free!) option.
As with all stains, the key is to treat them as soon as they happen!!! I treat stains on my cashmere sweaters VERY carefully. I have this little kit (also from The Laundress, ha ha) and find that a tiny dab of the stain solution used with the brush will take out most stains! I’m just always very careful and gentle and use cold water! Allow the stain solution to gently penetrate the fabric and then use the brush to gently brush it out. Don’t rub!
Getting Rid of Wrinkles
You can totally iron your cashmere on a low setting (I recommend turning it inside out) BUT I find steaming to be the best solution. I’ll hang my garment and just give it a good steaming. If you don’t have a steamer, hanging it up and taking a hot shower will often do the job OR this is the best steamer ever!
When Winter is Over, Store Accordingly!
Once sweater weather is done with, it’s important to properly store your cashmere to keep it safe from moths, heat, humidity, etc. I’ve never had a moth problem but I have heard horror stories from others who have gotten huge holes in their sweaters! If you do get moths, I definitely would suggest investing in some cedar rings which act as a natural moth repellent. Another thing that you can do is wrap your cashmere in acid free tissue paper (I’ve heard of people rolling their sweaters in the tissue paper and then sticking the rolls inside of a plastic bag; full disclosure I do not do this but have heard it’s the best solution for moth problems!).
photography by Carter Fish.