A beautiful cashmere sweater is an investment. Something so elegant will never go out of style, but it also requires love and care to stay in excellent shape. Taking some extra time with your cashmere definitely pays off in the long-run though, and you'll be glad you made the effort when you're still wearing that cardigan or your favorite turtleneck after years of use.
Like most fabrics, cashmere can pill when small fibers break and become tangled together. This is almost inevitable, as it's caused by the material rubbing against itself or something else, such as your jacket. You can lessen the severity of pilling by giving your cashmere pieces a break between wears, though. And little bobbly bits can be removed with a special brush, but never use a razor or scissors, which can do more harm than good.
Don't toss your cashmere cardigan sweater in the washing machine on the hot cycle unless you want it to fit your five-year-old niece! You should also keep it out of the dryer, as the heat will leave it feeling and looking like felt. Always reshape your sweater after washing to help preserve that perfect fit – you can gently stretch it out while damp, but don't yank or pull it.
Keeping cashmere clean doesn't have to be hard – it can often go in the washing machine. If you have an old model that's rough on clothes though, it might not be the best idea. However, a modern, front-loading machine with a delicate or handwash cycle should be perfectly fine. Always use a special detergent formulated for wool and other delicate fabrics, though. You can also keep your cashmere extra safe by placing it in a mesh washing bag before tossing it in the machine.
No wire hangers – seriously. Thin wire hangers will leave marks in men's and women's cashmere sweaters that might be hard to get out. Padded hangers are better, but the forces of gravity can still stretch your sweater out of shape. Your best bet is to carefully fold your cashmere items and place them in a cool, dark closet. Add something to repel moths, like a sachet of lavender or mint, as they love nibbling on natural fibers.
Your neighborhood drycleaner can certainly clean cashmere, but there's no reason to spend the money or expose yourself to harsh chemicals. Instead, wash your garment in a sink filled with cool water and a dash of wool-safe detergent. You can also add a capful of white vinegar if it smells. Gently swirl your sweater around before rinsing it clean. Next, wrap it in a towel and press down to soak up excess water. After reshaping, let it air-dry laying flat.
Are your cashmere crew sweaters wrinkled from sitting in the back of your closet for too long? If you don't have time to let the creases fall out naturally, put your iron on its setting for wool, but make sure it's clean first, or you may leave stains behind. Lay your sweater on the ironing board and cover it with a pressing cloth before getting to work. Be careful and only let the iron rest in a single place for a few seconds at a time.
The freezer is a safe place for cashmere, but put it in a bag for extra protection. Once that's done, you can place it next to the frozen pizza and let it sit overnight. This will destroy odor-causing bacteria, leaving your top fresh and ready to wear again. It also kills moth larvae, which is an added bonus.
A clothes steamer will quickly remove wrinkles from your timeless cashmere sweater without causing it any harm. It will also fluff up the yarn, giving it a voluminous appearance. Unlike a scorching hot iron, a steamer won't burn cashmere or leave it with shiny marks, either. Steam also gets rid of germs that give clothes an unpleasant smell.