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caring for cashmere sweaters?

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
What is the best way to launder a cashmere sweater? I have heard that the dry cleaners isnt the way to go if you actually have a nice garment, so how would one handwash or go about cleaning one. You are supposed to wash/clean after every wearing correct?
post #2 of 15
I only wash them if they smell bad, have a stain, or look dirty.
post #3 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by stach
I only wash them if they smell bad, have a stain, or look dirty.

Ditto. Also, the shape can be restored to a stretched out sweater by washing and blocking.
post #4 of 15
What do you use to wash them? I've heard disparaging remarks about Woolite around here.
post #5 of 15
Handwash in cold water using a gentle shampoo. There are also cashmere shampoos made for this purpose. I use the stuff from hotels. Rinse out once, wash with shampoo, rinse again and dry flat, between towels if needed, out of the sun. I've done it to all my cashmeres and they're all doing fine, including a J.Crew thirteen years on.
post #6 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by RJman
Handwash in cold water using a gentle shampoo. There are also cashmere shampoos made for this purpose. I use the stuff from hotels. Rinse out once, wash with shampoo, rinse again and dry flat, between towels if needed, out of the sun. I've done it to all my cashmeres and they're all doing fine, including a J.Crew thirteen years on.


RJ, do you wash after every wearing or only when necessary? Hotels actually keep shampoo made only for washing cashmere?
post #7 of 15
Would it be safe to rub the fabric against itself or just kind of soak it in?
post #8 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by jamesbond
Hotels actually keep shampoo made only for washing cashmere?
I think he simply means shampoo from hotels.

I'll pick some up from the Le Meridien next month.
post #9 of 15
I wash only when necessary. I meant just shampoo from hotels. I've never stayed in a hotel that offers cashmere shampoos. After rinsing, I dissolve the shampoo in a sink as I fill it with cold water, then re-immerse the sweater.

Don't wring out the sweater as that may stretch or deform it.
post #10 of 15
Any gentle soap will do, I'm sure (though in the interest of full disclosure I will admit to using Tide with some frequency). The key is to avoid twisting and wringing or hanging the wet sweater in a way that will deform the shape. I've found you get great results popping the nearly dry sweater in a barely warm dryer for 2-3 minutes. Something about the tumbling and drying really raises the hand of the cashmere in a nice way. I read about this years ago in an interview with some cashmere artisan and it does work. Just make sure the sweater is all but dry and you only tumble it for a couple of minutes.
post #11 of 15
I've found the gentle cycle of the washing machine with Woolite (horrors!), followed by the gentle cycle of the dryer on very low heat to work out well. Get a vintage store cashmere sweater and try your own methods--regardless of the outcome you can still wall the dog in it.
post #12 of 15
I wash cashmere sweaters with baby shampoo in a cool, gentle cycle after putting them in a mesh bag to prevent stretching and tears. Then lay them out to dry on a rack if you have one or on a towel spread out over a flat surface. The towle way will entail flipping the sweater over at some point and will take a long time to dry. Dryer's Ive not tried.

Also not washing your cashmere sweater until you feel its soiled enough could backfire as tiny unseen mouths love cashmere especially when you think its only slightly soiled.

post #13 of 15
I have a cashmere sweater that fits me absolutely perfectly. The only problem is that I haven't washed it yet. How can I keep the sweater from shrinking. Unfortunately, if the sleeves even shrink like 1/4 inch, the sweater won't fit properly.
post #14 of 15
Don't. Take it to the best cleaners in town and tell them that it must be cleaned and reblocked to your exact size. You could try and reblock it yourself when it's still wet, but this may not be a skill you have yet.
post #15 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by DucatiCole
I have a cashmere sweater that fits me absolutely perfectly. The only problem is that I haven't washed it yet. How can I keep the sweater from shrinking. Unfortunately, if the sleeves even shrink like 1/4 inch, the sweater won't fit properly.
As long as you don't put it in the dryer or in hot water, it won't shrink irreversibly. You can always wet it and stretch the sleeves out a bit and let them dry that way. Wool and cashmere are much more resilient than they get credit for.

BTW, putting a wool or cashmere sweater in the dryer under the right conditions really does soften it up a lot. I tossed a military wool commando sweater that was scratchy into the washer and dryer a long time ago and noticed it was very soft after taking it out. It's been soft ever since.
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