How to Clean a Cashmere Sweater

Even though most cashmere sweaters have a “dry-clean only” tag, there’s no need to go to the dry cleaners. You can wash your cashmere sweater at home and still have it stay soft and beautiful. In fact, washing your sweater at home will make it softer than when it’s cleaned with harsh dry cleaning chemicals. Clean your cashmere sweater by hand or in the washing machine and then let it air dry.
[Edit]Steps [Edit]Washing by Hand Fill a bucket or sink with lukewarm water. Hot water might harm your sweater, and cold water won’t clean as well, so stick with lukewarm water for this. Make sure the water is deep enough for you to fully submerge the sweater. Mix a small amount of mild detergent into the water. There’s no need to be terribly scientific with how much detergent you use! Go with a small splash--far less than you would use to wash a whole load of clothes. Swirl your hand around in the water to make sure the detergent is well stirred in.[1] You can buy a specific product called cashmere shampoo, or you can simply use a mild detergent like Woolite, baby shampoo, or dish soap. Be sparing with the detergent, because you don’t want soapy residue on your sweater. Turn your sweater inside out and soak it in the solution for 5 minutes. Make sure every part of the sweater is completely under the water. Swish it around gently before you leave it to soak so that the soapy water gets into every part.[2] If this is the first time you are washing the sweater, a bit of color may come off in the water, but it’s not a big deal.[3] Rinse the sweater in cold water. Pour out all the soapy water from your bucket, rinse it out, and fill it again with clean water. Submerge the sweater in the clean water and swish it around.[4] You may have to do several rinses until all the soap is out of your sweater. [Edit]Washing in a Laundry Machine Button up the sweater and turn it inside out. If your sweater has any kind of zippers, buttons, or fastenings, you’ll want to make sure they are all closed. Turning your sweater inside out helps protect the delicate surface, so that any wear and tear from washing will be mostly on the inside.[5] It’s safer to wash your sweater by hand, but still possible to wash it in the machine. Put the sweater in a mesh laundry bag. Don’t just dump your cashmere into the washing machine. Instead, but it in a mesh laundry bag, which will protect it from rubbing up against the sides of your machine. The less friction against your sweater, the better.[6] If you don’t have a mesh laundry bag, you can put your sweater in a clean, white pillow case.[7] Add mild detergent like Woolite, baby shampoo or dish soap to the machine. Don’t use your normal laundry detergent on the cashmere, because it will be too harsh. Wash the cashmere in a load by itself, use less detergent than you normally would for a full load of laundry. Some people recommend a special cashmere shampoo, but you don’t have to spend your money on a cashmere-specific detergent when other substitutes work just as well. Wash the sweater using a gentle cycle and cold water. View the specific instructions for your washing machine if you are not sure how to change the settings. Usually, there is a simple nob or switch that controls the temperature of the water, and another where you can select a gentle cycle.[8] If your washing machine has a wool setting, you can use that as well. [Edit]Drying Your Sweater Fold up your sweater in a ball to get water out. Press it very gently, but don’t wring out your sweater. Any kind of added friction on your sweater will lead to pilling.[9] Your sweater will still be very damp after this initial squeeze. Roll your sweater in a towel to remove excess water. Lay the sweater flat on a towel and roll up both the sweater and the towel together into a sausage shape. Then press down on the towel with the palms of your hands so that the towel absorbs the water from your sweater.[10] Unroll the towel and take your sweater out. Put the sweater through a salad spinner if you’re in a rush to dry it. Wet cashmere can take days to dry, so if you’re in a rush, put your cashmere sweater in a clean salad spinner, and let the water spin out. This is a much gentler version of tumble drying in the drying machine, so it won’t hurt your sweater.[11] If you’re not in a rush to have a dry sweater, or you don’t have a salad spinner, you can skip this step. Lay your sweater out flat to finish drying. If you have a flat drying rack, cover it with an absorbent towel and then lay your sweater down. If you don’t have a drying rack, you can simply put a towel on the ground and lay out the sweater on the towel. Move the sweater around on the towel until it is in the shape you would want to wear it in. When your sweater dries, it will stay in that shape.[12] Drying could take anywhere from a few hours to a few days, depending on how humid it is where you live. Dry the sweater in the dryer on low for a short time as a last resort. If you absolutely have to wear your cashmere sweater immediately, you can dry it briefly in the dryer, but it’s much better to let the cashmere air dry. If you are going to dry it in the dryer, use the lowest heat setting, and check the sweater every 5 minutes to make sure it doesn’t shrink.[13] Some people think you should never put your cashmere in the dryer, so use caution.[14] [Edit]Dealing with Stains, Pillings, and Lumps Pre-treat stains with a small amount of baby shampoo. Dab some baby shampoo onto the area with the stain before you wash the whole sweater. Don’t use hand soap or laundry detergent, because they might set the stain. Don’t rub the stain, because rubbing will damage the fabric. Rinse the whole sweater and let it dry flat.[15] Repeat this process if the stain remains. Remove pilling with a cashmere comb or sweater stone. Pilling occurs when the fine hairs in the cashmere rub together and form tiny balls. This process is totally natural, but if the pilling is bothering you, use a cashmere comb or sweater stone to remove loose hairs from your sweater.[16] Don’t use a razor or scissors to cut off pillings, because it will damage the fabric. Store your sweater folded to avoid lumps. If you hang up your cashmere sweater, the hanger create dimples in the shoulders and make the sweater droop in a funny shape. Instead, fold the cashmere and store it on a shelf or in a drawer.[17] If your sweater is lumpy, soak it in water and then let it dry flat. [Edit]Tips Don’t use fabric softener or bleach on your cashmere. Wash your sweater before storing it away for a long time. [Edit]References ↑ ↑ ↑ ↑ ↑ ↑ ↑ ↑ ↑ ↑ ↑ ↑ ↑ ↑ ↑ ↑ ↑