Incredibly soft, warm and gentle, cashmere needs a little extra care compared to other materials. This might seem daunting if you’ve never washed cashmere before, and that’s completely understandable – after all, our products are made by recycling shrunk or moth-eaten jumpers! But once you know the basic steps, washing cashmere is a very simple process.
To help give you the confidence you need to care for this delicate fabric, we’ve put together a quick guide on how to wash cashmere. Together with advice on storage and general day-to-day care, this is everything you need to know about keeping your cashmere accessories in tip-top condition.
What is the best way to wash cashmere?
The first thing you need to know about cashmere is that the ‘best way’ to wash it all comes down to your personal preferences and lifestyle. Whether you’re busy looking after little ones and need something you can quickly wash in a machine or you have time to carefully clean your items by hand, there’s a way to wash for everyone!
So without further ado, here are the steps you need to take to wash, store and care for your cashmere.
Step 1. Choose a detergent
The first step is to decide what detergent to use to wash cashmere. We recommend using a mild, non-bio detergent or even one which has been specially formulated for wool, but you can also use good-quality hair shampoo. That’s because cashmere is actually made from a goat’s hair fibres, which you can learn more about in our article all about cashmere.
However, we don't recommend using fabric conditioner. Since cashmere is so naturally soft, it doesn’t need it and the chemical coating can actually leave your items feeling greasy and stiffer. If you feel your item needs a softener though, you can try using a small dose of white vinegar.
Step 2. Washing cashmere
- How to hand wash cashmere
Head to the sink and add around a teaspoon of your chosen detergent to cold or lukewarm water, making sure it’s not ice cold. Fully submerge your cashmere accessories into the water and gently squeeze them until they’re clean.
Next, empty and refill the sink with fresh, clean water. Then to loosen any dirt, gently swirl your accessories around for about 30 seconds before leaving them to soak for 15–20 minutes. Finally, remove the garments and gently rinse them using the cold tap.
- How to machine wash cashmere
Alternatively, you’ll be happy to hear that all Turtle Doves cashmere items can be machine washed. Just make sure to choose a delicate, cold setting with a low spin to help avoid pilling and shrinking. This is especially useful for larger items like our Cashmere Loops and Recycled Throws.
Step 3. Drying cashmere
If machine washing your cashmere, make sure to remove it from the machine as quickly as possible to help minimise creasing. Then whichever method you’ve used, we recommend laying your items out flat to dry. That way, you can further minimise any creasing and reshape your items where necessary – a crucial step if you’re wondering how to wash a cashmere jumper!
Step 4. Storing cashmere
The less you use your cashmere, the more likely it is to be discovered by moths. This means that any winter accessories should be stored in a cotton bag during summer and other long periods of storage. You can also use an airtight container to keep bugs away, but a cotton bag will both defend and allow the garments to breathe.
When in use, there’s a wide variety of anti-moth products you can buy to dissuade these cashmere-loving creatures from paying you a visit. Made from natural essential oils, we find our collection of anti-moth papers are especially effective while also making your clothes smell lovely! Just make sure to refresh once the scent starts to wear off, as it’s the strength of the scent that keeps female moths away.
If you are worried that a much-loved cashmere piece may have had a moth near it, a day or two in the freezer will eradicate the problem. Wrap the item carefully in a plastic bag and place it in the freezer for 24–48 hours before slowly defrosting at room temperature.
Step 5. Daily care
Low-quality cashmere made from shorter cashmere fibres is prone to pilling. While not ideal, this can easily be managed by keeping on top of the situation and gently picking them off by hand. Gradually, the bobbles will become fewer and stop coming in time. Although there are special tools and combs you can use, doing it by hand is kinder to the fabric and will help with longevity.
As for creases, it’s better to steam your items rather than iron them. For light creases, try hanging them up in the bathroom while you shower. For more stubborn ones, you can use the steam setting on your iron – just be careful not to get too close. Alternatively, you can iron the garment by turning it inside out and placing a cotton cloth on top to add a layer of protection.
How often should you wash cashmere?
Now you know the science behind how to wash cashmere, exactly how often is all down to personal preference and the way you use your items. Cashmere is made from natural fibres, meaning it’s highly breathable, naturally antibacterial and doesn’t cling to odours.
As such, we recommend only washing your cashmere when it gets visibly dirty. With this in mind, items like gloves will probably need washing more frequently than scarves or beanies. As for items worn directly against the skin like jumpers, aim for every 3–4 wears unless you have a spill, in which case this will need to be spot washed as soon as possible.
Less is more when it comes to cashmere and overwashing your items could actually do more harm than good. So if you’re unsure your item needs a wash, try airing it out on the line first to help freshen it up – you might only need to wash it once at the end of the season!
Wash, store and care for your cashmere
Whether you’re wondering how to wash a cashmere jumper, socks, gloves or scarves, the above steps for washing, storing and caring for cashmere will apply to all. Then as long as you’re cautious when emptying your wash basket, your accessories and garments should stay beautifully soft for years to come!
If you have any other cashmere care queries, feel free to contact us at [email protected] or pop into our Shrewsbury store (SY1 3LG).