Thursday, March 22, 2007

Care For Your Cashmere Sweaters

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Alright, here is some information about how to clean and care for your cashmere collection. *****SUPER IMPORTANT: The following applies to KNIT fabrics, not WOVEN fabrics found in many suits and blankets.*****

Wearing:
  1. Wait for your deodorant to dry before putting on your sweater. This will help keep the deodorant from building up on the inside of the sweater. It's a giant PIA (pain in the you-know-what) to remove.
  2. Do not wear perfume. It can stain your sweater and attract moths (boo!).
  3. Do not wear the same sweater more than once in a four/five day period.
  4. Try to keep your sweater away from rough items: purses, jewelry, etc. These items can cause pilling, a snag, or even a hole! (gasp!)
Cleaning:
  1. I do not recommend dry-cleaning your cashmere sweaters unless you need specific stain removal treatments.
  2. Wash your sweaters in your PRE-CLEANED sink or a large Tupperware bin. (Please don't wash your cashmere after you have just washed dishes. Come on now...)
  3. Be cautious with bulky, large pieces. They become extremely heavy when they are filled with water.
  4. Do not hold up a wet piece of cashmere by the shoulders, this will stretch your sweater. Keep your sweater in a lump when you go to pick it up when wet, fully supported by your hands. Think: BLOB. Let it be a blob.
  5. Wash you cashmere in cold water. NEVER use hot water, it will cause your sweaters to shrink.
  6. Use hair shampoo (after all, cashmere is goat hair...) or a mild detergent made for fine fabrics. Personally, I use Cashmere Wash from the Laundress. J Crew now sells it!
  7. Agitate the water and detergent before you put the sweater in. You want it to be as evenly distributed as possible.
  8. Press and squish the soapy water through your sweater. Do not wring, twist, or rub. SQUISH!! 
  9. Drain the sink and rinse with the same temperature of water that you used for washing. A sudden change in temperature will cause your cashmere to shrink. So if you used warm-ish water to wash, use warm-ish water to rinse. 
  10. After rinsing, squish and squeeze as much water as you can out of your sweater. DO NOT wring or twist. I keep my sweaters in a ball and press it in between my hands. Kind of like checking a basketball for air pressure... How else can I describe this... SQUISH the BLOB.
  11. Lay out your semi-wet sweater onto a towel and roll it up. Press out as much water as you can with the towel.
  12. Remove the sweater and lay it out on a fresh towel or drying rack, making sure to put the sweater back into its original shape. It will dry however you place it, believe me. (Tip: if you want to shrink or stretch a sweater, now is the time to do it- see my other post about this).
  13. Keep your sweaters away from heat sources and windows.
  14. Air Dry.
  15. TAH DAH!
**I originally wrote this post before I had the pleasure of owning a fancy washing machine with a hand wash cycle. I now use the hand wash cycle for my cashmere. If you trust your machine, GO FOR IT but don't blame me if something bad happens to your sweater, lol. If you don't trust your machine, stick with the hand washing I described above**

Stain Removal:
  1. If you don't feel comfortable removing stains yourself, take your sweater to a dry cleaner.
  2. Treat stains IMMEDIATELY with cold water and a stain remover. I use Zout and I love it.
  3. After your stain remover has penetrated, wash your sweater as normal. Do NOT rub or give much special attention to the stained areas. You'll rub a hole. (I know from experience, lol)
  4. I do not suggest this because I do not want to be responsible for mistakes, BUT: a relative of mine got a beauty oil on her cashmere sweater when a container opened in her suitcase while traveling. As far as she was concerned, the sweater was ruined so she let me fiddle with it. I used a wool carpet stain remover and it worked! I placed a towel inside the sweater, under the stain, and applied the remover. I let the remover soak into the sweater, then pressed it out with another towel. I did this over and over, pressing out the stain to the towel underneath. After it looked OK, I washed it as normal and it was as good as new.
Storage:
  1. Clean your sweaters before you store them. Moths are attracted to natural fibers, especially when they are dirty or stained. Ever notice how they never go for your faux-wanna-be-cashmere-acrylic sweaters?
  2. When you store your pieces, fold them around a piece of tissue paper to help prevent wrinkles. Honestly, I never do this. Lol. I use a steamer when I have a pesky wrinkle.
  3. Do not store your sweaters in plastic. I suggest using sweater bags that are breathable, but keep critters out.
  4. DO NOT HANG YOUR SWEATERS, period. Seriously. Take my word for this, people.
Other:
  1. Use a sweater shaver to remove pilling. Do not press hard or you will shave a hole into your sweater. (I also know this from experience... See why I made this blog?)
  2. You may iron your sweaters on low, while inside out to remove wrinkles. Or steam!! That's what I do.
Well, there you have it. Don't be overwhelmed. You will get the hang of it as soon as you try it out. If you are nervous, try out these techniques on a junky sweater or one you don't mind getting ruined (just in case).

Ask questions if you need help!

53 comments:

chococat said...

I just bought a cashmere sweater in SMALL and it fit perfectly.

Should I expect shrinkage and exchange it for a MEDIUM? Or should I expect it to stretch and stay with the size I have?

Thank you!

Cashmere Connoisseur said...

Hi there! I'm terrible at finding comments on my blog, so if there's anything I can help you with in the future, please send a message to me through my website: www.CashmereCreations.com

As for your question: if you wash your cashmere properly, you will be fine with the size you have! If you don't feel confident in your abilities, I would go with a size up.

Way to help it stay that "perfect" size: Measure your sweater in detail (every angle/side etc). When you are done washing it and are ready to let it dry, shape it to those exact measurements and it'll turn out fine! Cashmere will dry how to leave it... If there's a wrinkle, it will dry wrinkled. Just how it is!

Sorry for taking so long to get back to you. Great question!

Anonymous said...

I just wore my cashmere sweater out in the rain... And it smells!!! What can I do to get rid of that terrible smell? Or will it go away eventually?

Cashmere Connoisseur said...

Have you washed the sweater yet? Or are you fresh out of the rain?

If you are fresh out of the rain and it smells like wet dog, then yes, it will go away once it's dry. All cashmere smells like wet dog when it's wet.

I did an experiment with cashmere and the rain here: http://cashmereconnoisseur.blogspot.com/2008/01/cashmere-rain.html
and it turned out great. I hung a cashmere sweater in the rain for a couple of days and it turned out great once I washed it. No smells, stains, anything.

If you have already washed it, it might be more of a mold/mildew problem. If you took off your sweater and left it in a bunch on the floor or something and it didn't dry thoroughly, then that could be your problem. The only way I've found to remove a mold/mildew smell is to put the sweater out in the sun for a while to kill the "organism" or whatever it's called. It only happened to me once a long time ago.

Well, that's the best I can do without knowing exactly what happened. I hope that helps!

Anonymous said...

Hi! I just purchased my first Ralph Lauren Black label sweater. Is this really a better cashmere than the other less expensive brands?? What doe 2 ply, 6 ply, etc. really mean?

Cashmere Connoisseur said...

Hello! It depends... on a lot of different things.

If you are talking about softness, then yes, other cashmere sweaters will be as soft as a Ralph Lauren Black Label sweater. BUT, softness alone isn't a good indicator for quality. A sweater that is TOO soft can be an indicator that there's another fiber mixed in with the cashmere. Or, it could be a sign of shorter fibers (less quality) that have started to separate from the rest of the sweater, making it look excessively fluffy.

Also, it is my understanding that Ralph Lauren uses Loro Piana yarn in their sweaters, which is outstanding quality. The yarn has longer fibers so it will pill less in the long run than cheaper sweaters.

Finally, when buying Ralph Lauren's Black Label cashmere, you get that feeling that comes with wearing expensive, designer pieces. You don't get that feeling from Gap!

In my opinion, if you bought a classic styled piece, you've made a great investment. It will last a lifetime! I try to get my black label cashmere at an outlet, Off Saks, or Neiman Marcus Last Call- it's cheaper and you can still be sure you're buying authentic Black Label!

"Ply" stands for the number of individual cashmere strands spun together before it's knitted into a garment. It doesn't have any bearing on quality. Although, 1-ply will be much more difficult to take care of since it is more fragile. It basically tells you the thickness of the sweater.

I hope this helps you! Thanks for your question!

Anonymous said...

Hello, I have 2 J Crew size medium cashmere sweaters that are perfect in length but I would like the body (width) smaller. Can I follow your washing instructions and try to make the width smaller when laying them out to dry? Will this work? Or do you have any other suggestions for decreasing the width of a cashmere sweater? Many thanks!

Cashmere Connoisseur said...

That's exactly right! Especially when dealing with cabled sweaters, if that's what they are. Cabled sweaters tend to go long and skinny when washed. Take measurements before you get started of your preferred length and width and you can probably get pretty close to it. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

I took my Lord and Taylor cashmere hoodie to the cleaners and now it's too small. If I follow your washing instructions and try to block it back to its original size am I likely to succeed? Thank you!

Cashmere Connoisseur said...

Yep, you are likely to succeed! I'm thoroughly perplexed, however, that the dry cleaners shrunk your sweater. If it's only by a small amount, then yes, you can probably fix it. If they seriously shrunk it and it looks like it would fit a child, you're stuck. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

I have two cashmere sweaters that I wish were each a size smaller. any suggestions for shrinking them?

Anonymous said...

Hi! I was wondering, is there any special way of rinsing my cashmere sweater, or should I just do it the same way I washed it? Thank you!

Anonymous said...

I just bought a gorgeous vintage peach-coloured cashmere sweater but am afraid to wash it because there is a sequined/beaded collar. Is there any way to do spot removal without ruining it?

Anonymous said...

Just bought a men's ralph lauren BLACK LABEL shawl collar cahmere cardigan sweater; love the style but it started piling under arms after only 2 wearings. Did I do something wrong or is this an indication of low quality cashmere as posted in a lot of rorums? At this point I dounbt this sweater wil last very long. I bought this at a premium and feel like a fool as it appears to be low quality.

Cashmere Connoisseur said...

I guess I've stopped receiving email notifications of comments again... GEEZ! Sorry everybody!!

1) Shrinking cashmere on purpose: will do a blog post about this topic. It's a FAQ

2) On rinsing: You can rinse a sweater the same way you washed it. But, for added softness and light odor removals, add a couple capfuls (1/4 cup max) of white vinegar to your rinsing.

3) Vintage sweaters: if they're good quality and not at risk for falling apart and there's only beads on it, you can wash it by hand. If you're too nervous, dry cleaning might be the way to go. If you want to spot treat, you absolutely can! A good steaming afterwards would keep it looking great! I love my vintage sweaters and they hold up just fine to hand washing.

4) Ralph Lauren: When you first buy a cashmere sweater, the first few wearings will pill a LOT more than once you've worn and washed it a few times. Your RL sweater will hold up just fine!! If it's cable knit (like most RL sweaters are) it will pill more than a normal knit sweater. Under the arms and at the cuffs is where pilling will happen more than anywhere else on the sweater. But it will last you many years once it gets the pilling "out of its system."

Sorry everyone for the HORRIBLY late responses! I'm hoping to spend a bit more time on this blog again...

qwiksilver said...

Thank you. I am sitting here in Edinburgh on holiday, surrounded by cashmere sellers, and passing them up because my last two sweaters were ruined by two different dry cleaners. After reading your bologna I am going to take advantage of your advice, ignore the dry clean only label, and care gently for them myself.

qwiksilver said...

Thank you. I am sitting here in Edinburgh on holiday, surrounded by cashmere sellers, and passing them up because my last two sweaters were ruined by two different dry cleaners. After reading your bologna I am going to take advantage of your advice, ignore the dry clean only label, and care gently for them myself.

Anonymous said...

Boyfriend left a wonderful "mystery protein stain" on my brand new cashmere seater!!! How should I handle this stain!?

Anonymous said...

Thank you for all the information on taking care of my sweater. My daughter bought it for me and I did not want it ruined. It fits perfectly now.

georgina said...

while googling how to address black mold in my favorite cashmere cardigan your site came up, something about putting it in the sun.... is there any hope to get the black mold out? thank you so much for your advice.

Cashmere Connoisseur said...

@qwiksilver - so glad I could help!

@anonymous - I've found that Zout (tm) is the best stain remover for stains of that kind. Spray it on, let it sit a good long while, spray again then wash as you normally would. It's particularly important that you don't rub or wipe stains. You PRESS them out. Rubbing will create a hole where the stain was.

@anonymous #2 - that's great!

@georgina - unfortunately mold is one of the trickier things to deal with. I would try a general stain removal cycle to start, if that doesn't work then a good vinegar soak. UV rays kill mold spores (or so I've been told...) but it also changes the color of some cashmere, irreversibly. I would use the sun as a last resort and would only leave it in the sun for 30 mins or so. Might be a good next experiment for me to do! Best of luck!

Anonymous said...

I also had problems for years with my cashmere until I have the following Cashmere Care Instructions found. I wish you as much success with it!

Anonymous said...

I just got a cashmere sweater for Christmas and hand washed it, its now discolored in a lot of areas and I don't know what I should do now. Its a light aqua color with a darker yellowish brown stain kind of like tea stains

Anonymous said...

Hi, I'm a cashmere noob, and your blog has been an invaluable source of care info! My question is about shedding while washing. I have a relatively inexpensive sweater labeled 100% cashmere. When I gently washed it, there were all these loose fibers coating the towel. Is this normal, or is this just a low-quality sweater?

Cashmere Connoisseur said...

@ Anonymous - I'm glad you've enjoyed my blog! Some shedding is totally normal, however, excess shedding is a classic sign of a poor quality sweater. Eventually, (we're talking a LONG time, probably, but still…) your sweater will thin out and disappear, lol. I'd keep wearing it as it will probably not be an issue for a long time. Take care!

Anonymous said...

I just came across a great Scottish cashmere sweater, but it has some yellowish/orangish spots. It's an older sweater and I'm assuming the spots are old as we'll. how can I get the stains out without ruining my fabulous find?

Anonymous said...

Great 'how to video,' on Cashmere care on YouTube. http://youtu.be/eCbf0utqCzU The company offers a Cashmere Care Kit.

Anonymous said...

hello, i have a question... so, i have a cream colored lightweight pure cashmere sweater... and i tried to hand wash it, of course, with a pair of black wool pants that bled on it! now there are streaky black stains over the sweater wherever it touched the wool pants. how can i get this transfered dye out of my sweater?

Anonymous said...

I bought a lovely cashmere sweater at a charity shop and found out after washing (with Laundress Cashmere Wash) that is still has some underarm odor. What do you recommend to help get out this smell?

E. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
E. said...

Hi, thank you for your informative post - I am also very reluctant to dry clean any wool/cashmere or 'hair' fabrics. However, I am quite the clean freak and am concerned more about germs than stains, even on cashmere (which I actually wear more for practical warmth reasons and also because it doesn't itch as much as wool for me, rather than fashion reasons). I just can't reconcile the fact that we would clean other clothes with harsher detergents and then fry them in the dryer but not with cashmere, especially since during autumn cashmere is often worn on its own like how we would wear a tee shirt - exposed to dirt and elements - and not protected under a coat. I understand the logic behind it, but I am just wondering if handwashing really does clean cashmere or if one simply has only wear cashmere for occasions.

S said...

Hi, I just had a designer black cashmere-wool coat dry cleaned for the first time after purchase. It was super soft to the touch before but is now very rough. :( Is there any way to restore the original softness? Would re-steaming and ironing help?

Anonymous said...

I just washed my husbands cashmere sweater. It now has a bunch of holes in it. What did I do wrong?

Yuna Kim said...

I just washed my cashmere sweater in the washing machine and its not fluffy anymore...the fur is plastered down, it has lots of static and feels rough..what do i do???������

Yuna Kim said...

I just washed my cashmere sweater in the washing machine and its not fluffy anymore...the fur is plastered down, it has lots of static and feels rough..what do i do???������

Yuna Kim said...

I just washed my cashmere sweater in the washing machine and now its not fluffy anymore...the fur is plastered down, the sweater has static, and its very rough...please how do i fix this its my favorite sweater....😣

she said...

Hello! I have bought a second hand cashmere top from ebay. There are quite big armpit sweat marks... I did dry-clean but it is still there... Could you give me any good advise please? Thank you!

Mary Ellen said...

Nice post, it is really very useful post about Carpet Cleaning, thanks for sharing it.

White + Warren said...

Thanks for the tips, a really a big help.

Wambui Karanja said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jacksmom64 said...

I WA stupid enough to have put my cashmere and merino sweaters in space bags. Noon the stink horribly! I have tried EVERYTHING to remove the stench. How do I get it out? HELP!!!

Russell Manning said...

After buying a couple of lovely cashmere sweaters, one, a V-neck, in a yellow/white/grey argyle pattern on the front and solid yellow on the back; the other, an ecru cable style turtle neck at a lovely shop in Broadway, U.K., nr Stratford-upon-Avon! The shop specialized in cashmere, even socks. The proprietor, son of the founder, instructed that his best were Ballyntine and his next best were Pringle. They have served me well, although the yellow one has become a bit tight so I am going to experiment with your recommendation. Now, more recently, about 10 years ago whilst living in San Francisco, at a shop nr Union Square that specialized in Scottish clothing, kilts included, I bought another turtle-neck (or roll-neck as the Brits would say), Ballyntine, black and a perfect fit. I've worn it sparingly and have never cleaned it (the shop recommended handwash over dry-cleaning!) It has never pilled nor does it have any odors. I am now elderly and do not wear this or other special garments when I might perspire. I don't anticipate having stains--which would be difficult to even find on a black sweater--or perspiration odors. BUT, should I handwash it just to prolong life?

Russell Manning said...

Alas, after further research I learn that Ballantyne (I misspelled the name in my previous post) mills closed in 2013, failing to find a buyer. It has been in business since 1788. Sad as their sweaters were so elegant.

Jr. Williams said...

How can I wear a cashmere sweater to school?
cashmere cardigan

Stive Peterson said...

Perfect clean and dry clothes every time! The towel cleaners in Austin do a great job! I highly recommend thir servies!

I am Jena Lee said...

Thank you so much for your blog. I've been washing an inexpensive cashmere sweater by hand for about a year. My grandmother recently passed away and I came away from the visit home with a sweater of hers that feels dense and wonderful in hand, but had some stains and what looked like mustard on the sleeve...! Knowing it's better quality than anything I've owned, I took it to the cleaners and while it smells fresh and looks nice, the stains all remain. I've been using your tips and it's almost as good as new! I really want it to be useable for sentimental reasons...

I now believe the "mustard" to be yellow paint, and by putting some stain remover on to soften it, I've been able to carefully pick it out. The only challenge remains a blue ink lot on the collar.. The nurses labeled her sweater with blue pen on the tag! ������ and it bled through. Wish me luck, and thanks again so much!!

jazzmin travels said...

Thanks alot, this is a very usefull article. black cashmere Scarf

Carpet cleaning in Epsom said...

I always love wearing cashmere, It's soft and warm to the body. But washing it is one of my main problem.

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Cashmere said...

Found your blog. Its really nice on cashmere information. I appreciate your article. Its important to get good quality cashmere for soft dresses. So thanks for sharing all that important information.