Cashmere Care: How to Wash, Prevent Pilling and Treat Moth Holes
Soft and luxurious cashmere has been used in clothing production for centuries.
Over the years, the fabric has been well-loved by people across the globe, and used for various different purposes; whether as a quality picnic blanket on a warm summer’s day or as a stylish, well-cut cardigan complementing the Duchess of Cambridge’s sophisticated dresses.
To this day, cashmere is synonymous with affluence, elegance and panache.
If we listed all of the reasons that individuals with a seasoned sense of style turn to this material time and again, we’d be here for a while. However, durability is most certainly a strong suit and these investment pieces truly can stand the test of time, as long as you care for them properly.
Right here in our guide, we’ll cover how to wash cashmere, how to prevent piling and more, so you can wear your favourite pieces as and when you like, without worrying about disproportionate wear and tear.
- How to wash
How to wash cashmere
The most effective way to wash your cashmere is to turn the garment inside out and place inside a mesh laundry bag before washing at 30 degrees. Not only is this temperature kinder to clothes but it will also save energy and running costs in the long run.
Ideally, you should also be using a non-biological detergent or a specialised wool/cashmere detergent.
Avoid using fabric conditioner if you can. For many other materials, it may provide a soft, luscious feel, but will give cashmere and other natural fibres a chemical coating and encourage pilling in the long run.
Once the cycle has finished, make sure to air-dry your cashmere. Rather than wringing out the garment, simply lay it out flat on a clean towel and press lightly to remove excess water and limit any creases in the fabric.
Finally, remove the towel and leave your garment to dry flat, away from direct heat and sunlight to ensure it won’t lose shape.
Once the garment is dry, pat it lightly with tissue paper to remove any excess moisture.
Can you machine-wash cashmere?
As we’ve discussed above, all cashmere products at The Edinburgh Woollen Mill are machine-washable and you will find that this is usually the case, no matter where you buy your garments.
However, we would always recommend checking the label just to make sure.
Can you iron cashmere?
It is possible to iron cashmere, but it can be a tricky business so we will always endeavour to make it unnecessary by drying flat and pressing out excess water.
If you find that creases are unavoidable however, use the lowest heat setting and iron inside out. Ensure that you press gently and keep the iron moving to avoid burns which will leave your cashmere looking stiff or dirty.
Top tip! Only iron your garments when they are freshly washed. Ironing clothing when already worn could grind dirt into the fabric irrevocably.
- pilling prevention
Cashmere Pilling Prevention
Once you’ve worn your cashmere knitwear several times, small surface pills may be visible in areas where the fabric has been in contact with excessive friction.
But never fear – pilling doesn’t indicate inferior-quality cashmere. This is a result of wearing such a fine fibre, and an example of the natural wear-and-tear that comes with a well-loved garment.
In fact, you can easily remedy cashmere pilling with a quality cashmere comb. Simply lay your garment on a flat surface and brush gently against the fabric to see the fuzzy layer come away.
Those with a steady hand and plenty of patience might be tempted by others’ online anecdotes suggesting that they use a razor, however we wouldn’t endorse this technique – it’s far too easy to cut into your clothing and before you know it, your favourite garment could be spoiled forever.
- How to store
How to store cashmere
When you aren’t wearing your cashmere garments, we highly recommend that you refrain from using hangers, as they can cause your clothing to lose shape. Instead, we’d suggest storing your wool in a chest of drawers, ensuring that the area is completely damp-free, clean and away from direct sunlight.
Top tip! Cashmere garments should always be washed and dried prior to storing.
If you’re stowing your cashmere for a longer period of time, we suggest investing in a sealed box or garment bag. This is also a great deterrent for moths, as you’ll find out below.
- Avoiding moths
Avoiding cashmere moths
Unfortunately, cashmere and other quality fibres represent a choice meal for moths and their larvae, and many of us have fallen foul of their summertime snacking – only to reach for our favourite jumper when the weather takes a turn and find it full of holes.
Cashmere is more popular than ever and pleasingly, it has also become more affordable. On the other hand, this results in many of us owning more cashmere than ever before, while warmer weather and better central heating encourages these unwanted visitors no end.
Those of us with a particular dislike for moths will be well aware that they like to loiter in the warmth and the dark, so not only are our wardrobes an ideal breeding ground but our cashmere clothing is also packed with keratin which these creatures love to eat.
Fortunately however, there are steps you can take to prevent an infestation of moths from eating their fill of your most exquisite garments:
- If you suspect moths are already hunkering down among your prized pieces, take out all of your cashmere clothing and wash it, before investing in sealed boxes or garment bags for storage
- About once a month, make sure to vacuum the inside of your drawers or wardrobe to dislodge any moths or larvae
- Discourage critters and make your drawers smell wonderful with the sweet scent of lavender. Either scatter yours in a box at the bottom of your wardrobe or place bags of this pretty plant in your drawers
- As we mentioned earlier, washing and drying your garments before storing them away is essential. Even if clothing looks clean, the faintest residue of perspiration or spilled food spells a feast for a family of moths