As winter is winding down, many of us are contemplating the best way to clean and pack away our cashmere for the season. A common misconception is to send wool and cashmere to the dry cleaner; however, washing by hand or by gentle machine cycle actually helps preserve the delicate fibers. We consulted with the unrivaled fabric care gurus at The Laundress for their expertise on the subject. On a side note, if you've never used their products, you must try them. They leave your sweaters feeling so soft and the cedar scent smells amazing! Below, The Laundress details how to wash and store your cashmere and also shares some helpful tips for year-round care.
The best and safest way to care for wool and cashmere, and the only way to wash items with any type of embellishment/beading. The Laundress says, when in doubt - handwash!
-Fill a wash basin or sink with cool water, then mix in Wool & Cashmere Shampoo. Turn the item inside out and submerge in the water, using your hands to gently move the item around. Soak for up to 30 minutes.
- Rinse under cool water until the water is no longer soapy. If there is color in the water; this is normal, it is simply the yarn dye releasing color.
- Do not wring to dry. Press the item against the sink or basin to remove water. Do not put in dryer.
You may also machine wash most woolens using a delicate, woolens or hand wash cycle. Do not machine wash items with embellishment.
- Turn the item inside out and insert into a mesh washing bag. Select the woolens, delicate or handwash cycle on the machine and set the temperature to cold and spin to low. Add the appropriate amount of Wool & Cashmere Shampoo.
-Remove clothes promptly to reduce wrinkles. Do not put in dryer.
Dry & Finish
- Lay flat to dry: woolens are best dried when lying flat in their natural shape. Lay the item on top of a flat towel or drying rack and arrange in its original shape. To expedite drying: place item on top of a towel, making sure it is flat and in its original shape. Then roll it up in the towel (like a sleeping bag) to remove excess water.
-Steam to remove wrinkles. Pressing an iron on wool will crush or flatten their sensitive fibers.
General Care & Storage
-Refresh between wears using the Wool & Cashmere Spray, which helps protect against moths and keeps items smelling fresh. Brush between wears with a cashmere brush to remove lint, fuzz and hair and release natural oils and rejuvenate yarns.
- De-pill: When wool fibers become loose, they form little balls, or pills. Pilling is a direct result of wearing and they tend to form in areas of friction, such as under the arms. For knits and fine-gauge woolens (lightweight sweaters and scarves): gently glide a sweater comb in one direction across the pilled area. For heavier woolens (heavy sweaters, blankets, upholstery): drag a sweater stone or pumice stone in one direction across the pilled area.
- Storing: always store knits folded to prevent stretching and distorting. Make sure items are clean before storing them for long-term and packed away with a natural bug repellent - lavender pouches or cedar blocks. Wool and cashmere store best in a breathable cotton bag - do not store in plastic (dry cleaning bags or plastic storage bins).