There’s good news about winter: Some of the most luxurious wardrobe pieces find their way out of our closets during these colder months and make you look amazing. If you’ve been disappointed by how your knits were stored over the summer, however, you may now be wondering the best way to clean them so that they are in better shape next winter.
Fortunately, you don’t have to freak out over the proper care of your cashmere and wool items, provided you handle spills and stains promptly. Practicing a little maintenance now will ensure years and years of snuggly comfort from your favorite sweaters, shawls, and wraps!
How to Wash and Wear Cashmere
Even if your care tag states it’s a dry-clean-only wardrobe piece, it’s usually OK – and even desirable – to give you cashmere a bit of a wash from time to time. Be sure that you take care to use a mild, dye and scent-free detergent.
Handwash in a basin or sink with lukewarm water. Gently squeeze out most of the water with your hands, but don’t wring the cloth harshly. Lay flat to dry on a towel. If you find that it’s starting to lose its shape as it dries, you can smooth it out and bring it back into its normal form before its fully dried.
(Note: Drying can take a day or two. Be sure you replace the towel under the clothing and flip it often to avoid musty smells or even mold!)
Machine Wash Method:
Yes, you can machine wash cashmere! Set your machine to the delicate or woolens cycle and ensure that the water temperature is cold. We recommend using a large mesh washing bag to protect the item from stretching in the cycle. Lay flat to dry on a towel or drying rack using the same method as above.
Storing cashmere is also a careful task. You shouldn’t put it on hangers, which causes the clothing to take the shape of the hanger and results in strange, pointy “wings” on the shoulders over time. Instead, fold it and store in a drawer.
The Best Way to Care for Wool
Wool needs much of the same type of care to look and smell great. You can use the same washing methods as cashmere - on the most gentle cycles using cold water. Always lay flat to dry, and take some extra care to depill any wool pieces that are starting to show signs of wear. (It’s best to use a shaver made specifically for sweaters. Cutting the little balls with just any blade or scissors can catch the threads and cause holes in your favorite piece!)
A Word on Pests
Both cashmere and wool are prone to attract bugs, like moths, that can eat your investment up in just a short summer season. Before you store your clothes, always make sure that they are clean. If you can’t do an entire washing, spot clean and make sure there is no food particles or sweat stains that will cause the critters to come running. Even mice have been known to gobble up a beautiful knit piece, so store your clothes in pest-proof containers if you can’t clean them right away.
Cashmere and wool are two amazing materials that add rich texture and warmth to your winter wardrobe. With a little attention, they can look great for several seasons.