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One of the few reasons I look forward to winter is getting to wear anything cashmere. Not only is cashmere super warm, but it’s also known for being luxurious. If there’s anything that we could all use in the middle of winter, it’s a tiny way to treat yourself, (even if it’s under a giant puffer coat!) The luscious fabric keeps you feeling toasty while simultaneously feeling incredibly soft and luxurious. However, such a special fabric does require a bit of extra thought when it comes to upkeep.
I’ve lost count of how many sweaters I’ve ruined by assuming it can be tossed in the dryer with the rest of my laundry. Thankfully for us, Lindsey Boyd, co-founder at The Laundress, knows just about everything about the super special fabric, and how to best take care of it.
So what is the very best way to ensure that your cashmere stays soft and keeps its shape? Hand washing at home! Boyd says the easiest way to hand wash your cashmere at home is to “fill your sink, or tub, with cold water. Hot water will damage and shrink cashmere fibers so always use cold! Add a squirt or two of Wool & Cashmere Shampoo, then flip the cashmere item inside out, add it to the water, and agitate the water with your hands for a few seconds to distribute the soap. Allow to soak for up to 30 minutes. After, remove the item, drain the water, then add it back in and fill with fresh cold water to rinse clean. Remove the item and press against the edge of a hard surface (like your sink, tub, or basin, to drain excess water).”
Cashmere can get heavy when wet, but do not be tempted to wring it out. Instead “to speed up drying, roll up in a clean, dry towel to absorb moisture, then air dry away from a heat source (i.e. sun, radiator, etc),” Boyd says.
However, contrary to popular belief, Boyd explains you can place cashmere in the washing machine if done properly, “when you’re strapped for time. Select cold water and a delicate/hand wash cycle/low spin, on your machine, then flip cashmere inside out and insert into a Mesh Washing Bag (protects cashmere from snagging during wash cycle) before placing in the drum of the machine.”
There are a few other things to avoid while caring for cashmere, Boyd also says “never use hot water, place in the dryer, or air dry near a heat source—high temperatures will shrink, dry out, and damage the natural fibers of cashmere.” Wondering if dry cleaning is a good alternative to doing it yourself? “Dry cleaning uses oil-stripping chemicals and solvents that can leave natural fibers stiff and crispy-feeling, so we recommend washing cashmere at home with the right fabric-specific detergent”.