The Lady’s Maid embraces the colder weather that winter brings as it is an opportunity to luxuriate in cosy cashmere sweaters. But the delicate nature of cashmere wool requires extra special care and attention to keep it in tip top condition that will see you through the winter this season and many seasons to come.
Cashmere is a very fine natural hair fibre obtained from goats; garments made of cashmere are much softer than lambswool and tend to be much more expensive. Its smoothness also makes it more wearable than lambswool which can feel slightly scratchy against the skin. The Lady’s Maid has offered guidance below on how best to wash, dry and store cashmere to prevent damaging the delicate fibres.
- When washing cashmere turn the garment inside out and gently hand-wash in cool/lukewarm water and a gentle liquid detergent suitable for hand-washing such as Woolite or a specialist cashmere shampoo.
- Make sure that the detergent is dissolved thoroughly in the water before adding the clothing (add hot water first to dissolve the detergent and then top up with cold water to achieve a cool temperature).
- Use a squeezing movement, rather than rubbing which can cause felting and damage the fibres.
- Rinse in cool water to remove all traces of the detergent.
- Loss of dye can occur in coloured garments when hand-washing especially if the garment is new. It is therefore advisable to wash new garments on their own to minimise the risk of colour run to other garments.
- Never tumble dry cashmere or any wool garment as this will shrink the garment.
- Do not ring dry as this will cause structural damage to the fibres.
- Gently squeeze after rinsing and then roll in a clean towel to remove excess moisture and leave to dry flat on a soft dry towel.
- Reshape whilst damp to maintain the shape of the garment.
- Do not hang on a hanger to dry as this will stretch the fibres.
- Iron on the reverse with a medium hot iron using a damp pressing cloth to prevent shiny marks from forming.
- Cashmere knitwear is best kept folded in your wardrobe or drawers to prevent the delicate fibres from stretching on clothes hangers. Some finer knitwear can be hung on hangers to prevent creasing but, make sure you use suitable hangers that protect the shoulder area as much as possible.
- When storing cashmere garments long term always protect them from pests by packing in a special knitwear bag such as this one from Brora or in a similar breathable clothing bag, this is essential as moths adore cashmere. See Seasonal Storage for further tips on storing clothes.
Bobbling or “Pilling” is common in knitwear and is caused by repeated wear of garments which causes fibres to loosen and form little balls. Pick off bobbles with a sweater comb or a bobble remover gadget/clothes shaver or individually with a disposable razor. Take care when using gadgets/combs on delicate wools as you risk damaging the rest of the garment.
The Lady’s Maid Recommends:
These are The Lady’s Maid’s recommendations for quality cashmere garments:
- N.Peal – London’s first & iconic cashmere brand, in the Burlington Arcade since 1936.
- Brora – quality cashmere specialist, beautifully made and timeless pieces. A large range of patterns and colours. All garments made in Scotland.
- Marks & Spencer – reasonably priced classic cashmere jumpers and cardigans.
- Johnstons of Elgin – scottish supplier of classic cashmere garments since 1797.
- The White Company – elegant neutral shades of classic cashmere.