Hand washing is a great way to safely clean cashmere sweaters. It’s gentle on your clothes and the environment, doesn’t require a trip to the cleaners, and costs far less. To start with, spot clean any spills immediately, as these can stain and attract bugs. Try not to wash after every wear unless absolutely necessary; this will help keep cashmere sweaters looking new. Use lukewarm or cold water and a mild detergent such as baby shampoo or a specific product. After soaking and rinsing thoroughly, squeeze out excess water, but never wring. Lay the sweater out flat between two towels, roll to dry, and place the sweater on a dry towel or drying rack. Getting out the excess water is important because cashmere should not be wet for long periods of time. If you must iron (though a nice flat drying surface should preclude this) check the garment care label for instructions. Taking care to hand wash properly is a good way to keep both your cashmere clothing and the environment in better shape.
Dry cleaning has long been a highly recommended way to clean without damaging garments. But what’s safe for your clothes isn’t necessarily safe for the environment. There will always be situations where dry cleaning is the best solution, such as with delicate silks, stained items, and tailored suiting. However, dry cleaning has certain drawbacks that you may want to consider when an alternative method is available. Dry cleaning usually uses a non-aqueous solvent called perchloroethylene. Although most of this chemical is reclaimed in the process, dry cleaning can impact exposed workers and groundwater. Some businesses now offer alternative “wet cleaning” which uses water and detergents, or “green dry cleaning” which uses liquid carbon dioxide. These newer methods may be better, but still pose significant drawbacks. The best way to ensure that your cashmere sweaters are cleaned safely and responsibly is to wash them by hand.
Make sure sweaters are clean before storing. Moths and bugs are attracted to dirt and oils left by stains and perspiration. Fold neatly (never hang sweaters) and if you prefer to use tissue paper in the folds, make sure it’s acid-free. With sweaters in a breathable container such as a muslin bag, store in a cool dry location away from sunlight. Mothballs may be effective, but there are far more pleasant alternatives such as cedar wood and lavender. Do not put these directly next to sweaters to avoid stains. Properly cared for and stored, your cashmere sweaters can last for many seasons.
The Benefits of Cashmere
Cashmere is a wonderful product to own because of its many benefits. For one, the garment does not wrinkle as easily as other fabrics. Another great thing about cashmere is the warmth it provides while being light weight, making it ideal for the winter months. Cashmere garments are long lasting and typically become softer with age.