Caring for cashmereThe best ways to wash, dry, and store cashmere clothing items are covered.
Cashmere is considered one of the softest and most sought after materials in the world. For hundreds of years cashmere was only purchased by royalty due to its cost. Cashmere is exceptionally soft and considerably less bulky than other types of natural fibers. It is used to make all types of clothing, but the most notable use is for sweaters.
Cashmere comes from the down of goats. Though most quality cashmere comes from China and Mongolia, it can also come from New Zealand, Australia, Scotland, Iran, and India. The down shed by these goats is gathered by either combing or by shearing. The goats have a layer of coarse hair that protects them from the harsh weather and underneath is a layer of soft down. This soft down is what is used to produce cashmere clothing. Once the down is taken from the goats it is sorted and sold.
One of the main reasons that cashmere is so expensive is because the goats that produce cashmere are rare. It takes one goat up to four years to produce enough down for one cashmere sweater. The demand for cashmere is always high, even in times of economic hardship.
If you own cashmere you will want to be very careful about caring for your clothing. This natural material is very delicate and should be handled with care. There are special ways to care for your cashmere that will allow it to remain a beautiful addition to your wardrobe for years to come.
Before you wash your cashmere garment, read the labels carefully. Some items must be dry-cleaned. Never wash an item marked "dry clean only". For those items that can be washed, hand washing is the best way to go. Choose a mild detergent that is meant for delicates. Using cool water, fill your sink. Gently swirl the detergent around in the water. Next, put your garment in the water. Work the suds through the garment very gently, and then leave it to soak for about ten minutes. Empty the water and refill the sink with more cool water. Gently swish the garment through the water to remove the soapsuds. Carefully remove the garment from the water and squeeze to remove excess water. Do not squeeze too hard or wring the cashmere because doing so will warp the fibers. Roll the garment up in a towel and press down. The towel will absorb more of the excess water. Lay the garment out to air-dry on a dry towel. Flip the garment occasionally to ensure it dries completely. Keep away from sunlight and never put cashmere in the dryer.
When your garment is dry, fold it and place it in a dresser or on a shelf until you wear it again. To avoid a crease along the front of a cashmere sweater, fold it in three. Take the arms and fold them over the front of the sweater and then fold the top down to meet the bottom. Never hang cashmere on a hanger; this will cause it to warp.
Take special care when wearing your cashmere garments. Jewelry and watches may tug and pull at the fibers. If the garment pills, gently remove these when the garment is wet.
For long-term storage, choose a good plastic storage container with a lid. Layer the cashmere in tissue paper. Cedar chips or mothballs are a good idea to keep insects from eating away at your clothing. Keep in a cool, dark, and dry place.