Caring for Cashmere

While I tend to carry a white cardigan sweater year-round, November means I get to pull out winter sweaters and in particular, my cashmere sweaters.  Before we get started talking about how to care for these special sweaters, let’s first talk about what makes them so unique.

Cashmere comes from the soft, fleecy under layer of a goat’s coat, but not any goat will do.  Cashmere goats are typically found in Mongolia, China, and Iran, where the harsh climate is ideal for their coats.  In fact, the colder the weather, the more their hair grows, and once it begins to warm up, the goats naturally shed their coats.  Farmers then gather the hair and sell it to manufacturers who comb out the hair then spin it into yarn.  Cashmere is soft, luxurious, and provides plenty of warmth, but its texture is rather fine, making it somewhat fragile and susceptible to damage.  That’s why proper care is important to keep it looking lovely.

When I put on a cashmere sweater, I typically think about how warm, soft, and luxurious it feels.  Then I look in the mirror, and I admire how beautiful it is.  And with any luxury garment, it requires special care to ensure it retains its like-new feel and look for years to come.  Here are some tips to help accomplish that.

How to Care for Cashmere

  • Wait for deodorant, lotion, perfume, and hair products to dry before putting on your sweater.
  • Use caution with purses, jewelry, belts, and seat belts; they can abrade the fabric and cause pilling, snags, and even a hole.
  • Never put an adhesive name badge on your sweater; the same is true for suede and leather items too.
  • To avoid distortion, don’t push up the sleeves and use care if it is a pullover sweater so that you don’t stretch the neck area.
  • To store your cashmere sweater between wearings, fold each side of the sweater inward by a third, smooth the arms down, fold in half, and either place or a shelf or in a drawer. 
  • Never place a cashmere sweater in the washing machine
  • Follow the care label when it comes to cleaning the garment.  Cashmere sweaters are delicate items, and if you have any doubts, we recommend you take it to a professional.
  • If the care label affords hand washing, take care not to wring the sweater. One trick to dry your cashmere sweater after hand washing is to lay it on a towel, roll it up inside the towel, and then press the towel to absorb the water from the sweater.
  • Never place your cashmere sweater in the dryer.
  • If you spill something on your cashmere sweater, blot the excess with a clean, white cloth and then take it to a professional.
  • Always clean it before putting it away for the next season.
  • When storing your cashmere sweater, never place it on a hanger.  The weight of the fabric and the pull of gravity will cause shoulder dimples and overall distortion.

Of course, Shores is here to provide the best possible care for all your garments, including your cashmere sweaters.  Stop by one of our locations for cashmere dry cleaning, or if your cashmere sweaters need special attention.