How to Clean Cashmere to Keep It Cozy and Soft

Protect your beautiful (& expensive) cashmere items by cleaning them properly.

Published November 9, 2022
Soft cashmere texture, cosy warm cashmere sweater

There's nothing like throwing on your favorite cashmere sweater for a night out with friends. That cozy, soft fabric wraps around you like a warm hug. That is, until you dribble wine down the front of it. Now what? Do you throw it in the hamper or take it to the dry cleaner?

You might not realize it, but you can take care of most cashmere right at home. Follow the two cardinal rules of cashmere: wash it gently by hand or machine unless it's labeled dry clean only, and never throw it in the dryer. That is, unless you want a tiny cozy sweater for your kiddo.

What You Need to Wash Cashmere

Who doesn't love the feel of cashmere against their skin? It's just so soft, but it doesn't look quite as great with that spill from lunch down the front. The good news is that you can do something about it. Despite popular belief, you can wash most cashmere at home. You just have to have the right cleaners and a bit of patience.

To get started on your laundry, you need:

  • Cashmere shampoo, baby shampoo, or mild detergent
  • Mesh bag
  • White towel
  • Sink or basin
  • Steamer
  • Boar bristle brush or sweater comb
  • Cotton swabs
  • Flat drying rack

Spot Treat Cashmere

Everyone knows that washing clothes is a process. The first step is spot-treating stains. Because if you don't, you might set the stain into the fibers when you wash it. Cashmere is a bit more delicate than your standard t-shirt, so a gentler touch is required. This is where baby shampoo comes in.

  1. Add a bit of baby shampoo to a cotton swab.
  2. Gently rub it over the stain.
  3. Allow it to sit for about 30 minutes.
  4. Rinse with water.

With the spot treated, you can either continue to wash your sweater or give it another few wears before throwing it in the wash.

Hand Wash Cashmere With Ease

What's the best way to wash your delicates? By hand, of course. Cashmere is no different. So grab your preferred detergent and get to work. Work one garment at a time, and don't mix colors.

  1. Fill the sink or tub with cold water. You can use lukewarm water as well, but steer clear of hot water.
  2. Add a squirt of your desired cleaner.
  3. Turn the cashmere clothing inside out.
  4. Submerge it in the water.
  5. Swirl it in the water for about a minute or so.
  6. Allow it to soak in the detergent for 15-30 minutes.
  7. Drain the dirty water.
  8. Rinse with cool water.
  9. Swirl around in the rinse water.
  10. Drain all the water.
  11. Ball up the sweater and gently squeeze out the excess water. (Do not wring.)

Machine Wash Cashmere Gently

Travel Laundry Bag

Machine-washing isn't off the table when it comes to your delicates, but a mesh bag is a must. It will help keep the machine's agitation from harming delicate cashmere. As with hand-washing, only wash with like colors - don't mix them.

  1. Place your cashmere of like colors in a mesh bag.
  2. Use the delicate cycle on the machine with low spin.
  3. Set the water temperature to cold.
  4. Add the recommended amount of detergent per machine instructions.
  5. Pull the cashmere out immediately to avoid wrinkling.

Dry Cashmere Safely

Ever seen a sitcom where somebody pulls their sweater out of the dryer and it can fit their child? Don't be that person unless you want your toddler to have the world's softest (and most expensive) wardrobe. Under the high heat of the dryer, cashmere will shrink, and the shape will distort. The bottom line is this: never, ever, ever, ever tumble dry cashmere. Never. Ever. So, what's a cashmere lover with wet sweaters and no toddlers to do? Air dry it.

  1. Lay a dry white towel on a solid surface that won't be damaged by water. Any surface is fine.
  2. Lay the cashmere out on the towel.
  3. Roll the towel and the cashmere up to remove any excess water.
  4. Repeat several times until you aren't pulling out any more water.
  5. Place the cashmere on a dry towel on a drying rack.
  6. Allow it to sit until fully dry.

For sweaters, it can be helpful to take their measurements before washing. Then, you can pull to stretch everything back out to the perfect shape as it dries. Don't hang up a cashmere sweater with clothespins, since it can distort the shoulders. Always lay cashmere flat to dry.

How Often to Wash Cashmere

Much like those jeans that you love, cashmere doesn't have to be washed after every wear. Actually, you can go anywhere from three to 10 wears before you wash it. If or when it starts to look a bit dingy, throw it in the wash. Washing your cashmere too often isn't good for it, so just put it back in the closet for the next wear if it still looks and smells clean.

Care for Cashmere Between Washes

Not washing your clothing after wearing it may seem strange, but you can always spot clean it between washes. So, if you got a bit of shawarma on your sweater, clean the area and let it dry. But what do you do if your sweater is wrinkled? What about pilling? Keep your cashmere looking great between washes with some simple maintenance.

Remove Wrinkles

Cashmere and heat aren't the greatest mix; ironing can crush that plush look you love. So, when it comes to cashmere, forget ironing and grab the steamer instead. Use the steam to get rid of the wrinkles and fluff up the yarn for wrinkle-free garments.

Remove Pills

One irritating thing about cashmere is those little yarn balls, or pills. Fortunately, you can remove them with a sweater comb or a boar bristle brush. Plus, they also remove lint and dust, so with a little grooming, your cashmere scarf is refreshed and ready to go.

When to Dry Clean Cashmere

Here's where checking your tag comes in. Does it say dry clean only or do not wash? If so, it's probably time to head to the cleaners.

Tips to Keep Your Cashmere Fresh

Cashmere is a difficult fabric to work with, but its soft fluffy warmth makes it totally worth the hassle. Try out a few tips to make sure your cashmere stays looking fresh.

  • Fold, don't hang cashmere when putting it away.
  • Use cotton bags to keep the bugs away when storing.
  • Don't dry cashmere in the dryer.
  • Use a cashmere brush to remove lint and rejuvenate yarn.
  • Always wash cashmere in cold water.
  • Shave cashmere regularly to remove pills.
  • Spot clean to avoid washing too often.
  • Do not wring it out to remove water after washing.
  • Skip the fabric softener.

How to Clean Cashmere With Simple Steps

Winter wardrobes are full of comforting cashmere. It just makes you feel so soft and cozy during those winter months. And it's definitely irritating when your latte drips on it. Thankfully, cashmere is easy to clean with a little effort.

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How to Clean Cashmere to Keep It Cozy and Soft