How To Care For Cashmere

Cashmere is the epitome of style and is a fabric that, when cared for correctly, will provide a lifetime of wear. 

Often used on its own or blended with other high-quality fabrics, it’s durable and versatile when given care and attention.

Our guide on caring for cashmere offers all of the help you’ll need to keep your latest cashmere items looking as good as new for years to come. From tips on washing to storing and general maintenance, it’s never been easier to look after your favourite cashmere clothes and accessories.

 Table of contents:

What is cashmere?

How to care for cashmere

Can I wash cashmere?

How to wash cashmere clothing

How to dry cashmere

How to store cashmere

What is cashmere?

pairs of cashmere socks

Cashmere wool is made from the soft, downy undercoats of Kashmir goats. 

Most Kashmir goats live in the Gobi Desert, which is situated in Northern China and stretches across to Mongolia. The goats develop their undercoat in response to the shortening daylight of the winter months when it grows to protect them from the harsh winter.

 In May and June, the goats begin to shed these hairs, which are combed out by local workers and sorted and sent by hand to a factory to be cleaned and refined. Any rough guard hairs are removed during processing to leave only the softest fibres. 

The hair is baled and shipped to Europe and spun into yarn, where it’s sold to designers to be turned into luxurious clothing. 

How to care for cashmere

Cashmere is a luxury fabric, but if it’s looked after and given the correct aftercare, it will remain luxurious for years to come. 

From washing to drying and storing, here are some simple tips to follow to keep yours looking and feeling pristine. 

Can I wash cashmere?

You can wash cashmere, but it’s important to follow the care instructions on your garment to learn the best way to do so. 

Some cashmere garments need to be professionally dry cleaned, whereas others will require light handwashing due to the fine and delicate nature of the fabric. There are also some machine-washable cashmere fabrics and blends which are perfectly safe to clean in the washing machine. These have usually been prewashed before purchase to prevent them from shrinking.

If your garment needs dry-cleaning, we’d recommend only doing this once per season.

Excessive dry cleaning can cause cashmere fabric to appear glazed due to overexposure to dry-cleaning chemicals and cause your garment to pill. Make sure that your dry cleaner has experience working with cashmere before booking your garment in for a clean.

 Similarly, if washing at home, always check the labels of your garment before machine-washing it. 

If you are hand or machine washing your garment at home, avoid using fabric conditioner, as this too can coat the fibres and cause pilling. 

What is pilling?

Pilling is a natural process which occurs when excess fibre gathers on the surface of your garment in tiny balls or knots, also known as pills. Pills usually occur around areas of friction, such as near your joints.

High-quality cashmere tends to pill a lot when first worn due to the garment’s excess fibre. A good way to remove this is to wash your item before wearing it, and the pilling should reduce over time.

How to wash cashmere clothing

As we’ve covered machine-washable cashmere and cashmere dry-cleaning, this section will look at how to hand wash cashmere to keep yours looking amazing. 

Here are our top tips on how to handwash yours for the best results:

  • Fill your sink or a large dish with warm water. The temperature should be no more than 40•C to prevent your wool from shrinking.
  • Turn your garment inside out to prevent pilling, and allow your garment to soak in the warm water for a few minutes.
  • Add a tablespoon full of delicate detergent or cashmere shampoo to your water, mix it around and then allow your garment to soak for 5 minutes to loosen any dirt.
  • Gently squeeze and rinse your garment with warm water, then follow this up with cold water. 
  • Squeeze out excess water, then place your garment between two dry towels to absorb more moisture. A short spin cycle on your washing machine will also remove excess water.
  • Try to avoid stretching or scrubbing your cashmere whilst washing, and don’t wring or twist your garment to remove excess water, as this can damage the fibres.
  • NEVER dry your cashmere in a tumble dryer as this can cause it to shrink.

If your cashmere is machine washable, always follow the care instructions or if in doubt, wash your garment on a wool or delicate cycle. Never exceed a temperature of 30•C to avoid damaging the fibres, and wash your items inside out to preserve their softness. 

How to dry cashmere

Start by gently reshaping your cashmere garment whilst damp and dry on a hard, flat surface, away from direct heat.

Avoid direct contact with heat and choose an airing cupboard, clothes airer or drying rack over a radiator to prevent heat damage. Similarly, avoid drying in direct sunlight as this can cause your cashmere’s colours to fade. 

For best results, once your cashmere is dry, steam it to remove creases either by using a clothes steamer or steam from your iron.

How to store cashmere

a pile of cashmere jumpers

Cashmere is super lightweight, meaning that you can wear it all year round. However, if you decide to store it away for part of a season, here are some tips to keep yours in peak condition for when you want to wear it again!

  1. Always make sure your cashmere is clean before you store it. Although it is suggested that moths are attracted to cashmere, it’s dirty or soiled garments that they prefer, so always make sure yours are freshly washed before storing them away! Natural remedies such as rosemary, thyme, cloves, lavender, cedar and dried orange peel are good natural deterrents for moths.
  2. Never hang your cashmere, as this can cause your garment to pull out of shape. When storing, always fold each garment away in an airtight, sealable bag or store it in a drawer to keep your cashmere away from direct sunlight. 
  3. If storing your cashmere in a drawer, wrap it in tissue paper to prevent it from coming into contact with other garments. 

 Shop cashmere at Jayley 

Now you know how to care for your cashmere correctly, why not shop our full cashmere collection at Jayley. From stylish wraps to gorgeous kimonos and more in a range of fabulous colours, it’s never been easier to update your cashmere collection with styles made to transcend trends. 

Related articles:

How to care for natural fur

How to care for faux fur

What is faux fur?

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