Cashmere is a material that exudes luxury. The soft natural fibers are the wool of cashmere or Pashmina goats, and it is renowned for its softness, warmth, and elegant appearance. Cashmere offers almost eight times the warmth of other fibers and has a very enjoyable warmth-to-weight ratio, meaning you will stay protected from the cold with just a thin layer.
Because cashmere sweaters are so desirable and offer warmth with very little effort, they tend to be more expensive or pricier than other typical winter wear. The investment is worth it, though, and this versatile and loved material never really goes out of style. Some cashmere experts report that with good maintenance and proper care, cashmere can last a whopping 30 years!
Here are our tips for caring for and maintaining your cashmere sweater.
When it comes to washing cashmere sweaters, despite what the label may say, handwashing is probably your best option. Cashmere gets softer with time, meaning the more you handwash your cashmere over the years, the softer the fibers will become, whereas the chemicals used during dry cleaning actually break down the fibers of the fabric and make the soft material more brittle and delicate. There are several rules for washing cashmere: remember that any form of heat will shrink the fabric, and store your cashmere sweater folded, never hung up. We recommend following these instructions for an extra gentle handwash that will have your cashmere clothing looking (and staying) brand new.
Fill a large bowl, bathtub or sink with cold water. Using cold water prevents colors or dyes from running and will keep your cashmere bright. Gently place your cashmere sweaters and other cashmere items individually into the water with a gentle baby shampoo or mild detergent. We recommend looking for a detergent that is specifically for delicates. Gently and softly manipulate the sweater or clothing item in the water until it is entirely hand washed. Rinse well with cold water. Now, once you are certain all the soap and detergent residue has been removed, press out any excess water from the sweater. Be sure not to wring out the sweater as this will distort the shape. Instead, we recommend laying the sweater or clothing item flat on a towel in its shape. So, lay out the sleeves and the body and let it dry. Fold to store your sweater or clothing item, and never hang a cashmere sweater. It will cause shoulder dimples and distort the shape.
We've all been there. You wear your favorite cashmere cardigan or cashmere crewneck a few times, wash it, and then suddenly there are tiny little fuzz balls gathering along the sleeves and under the arms. Do not fret, this is a typical result of normal wear and tear. However, one of the benefits of cashmere is that you can shave the natural fibers with a razor blade or lint tape to remove that extra fuzz. New cashmere sweaters tend to get a layer of fuzz balls during the first wear or before their first wash. We recommend simply skimming the area with a razor, against the grain of the fabric, to remove any unsightly fuzz. Be sure to not press too hard into the fabric, or to push down in one specific area, as you may create holes or damage the fabric.
Just like good denim or any other thick materials, avoid unnecessary washes. This shouldn't be gross or make you question your hygiene, but chances are if you've worn your cashmere sweater once or twice, it's not going to have any stains or noticeable odors, so there's no need to wash it. Frequent washing or dry cleaning of your cashmere sweater will damage the fibers and fade the bright colors, leaving your cashmere looking worn and flimsy. If you are in-between washes and looking for a way to refresh your cashmere sweaters or clothing items, simply spritz the fabric with freshening spray. We recommend spritzing your cashmere before folding for storage, this ensures that the next time you pull your ultra-warm clothing item out of the closet, it will be fresh and lovely. Just like the detergent that you use during washes, we recommend using either a natural freshening spray or one that is specifically for delicate fabrics.
Unlike other fabrics that are likely to get worn out or damaged over time, with proper care, cashmere gets better as time passes. With simple care and storage, cashmere's natural fibers get softer and warmer the more that it is worn, making it a true investment for any winter wardrobe. This is why it's so important to care for and maintain your cashmere clothing, as the initial upfront cost may be a little more than traditional sweaters, the lifetime is much longer, and the more that you wear and care for your cashmere, the better it will become. For this reason, don't ditch your cashmere sweater after a season. Instead, keep it on hand and store it with care for years and years of use.
Whether you are in the market for a new cashmere sweater, cardigan or even a cashmere scarf or pajamas, be sure that you care for this luxury lifetime fabric. It'll keep you cozy and classically stylish for years to come.