5 Ways to Make Your Cashmere Last a Lifetime
Cashmere is one of the most durable, sustainable and longest lasting fabrics you can wear on your body. If there was a superhero in your closet, it would be your cashmere. This delicate material can last several decades, provided you treat it with tender, love and care. Here are a handful of tips to help you get as many seasons out of your cashmere as you can.
Only Wash When Absolutely Necessary
Short of spilling our favorite merlot, or being clumsy with our lunch, we don’t need to wash our clothing as often as we do. Harsh detergents, hard water and other manmade irritants can contribute to the breakdown of delicate fibers like cashmere. Depending on how often you wear your cashmere, you could easily skip a wash and wear and instead, wash it every few days. If you want to freshen it in between washings, try using a lavender mist, or plant based freshening spray.
Don’t Believe Everything You Read
How many times have you flipped a label and heeded the “dry-clean only” warning. The perception that dry cleaning is easier on your fabrics is a misnomer. The chemicals used during the dry cleaning process are harsh, and the exact opposite of what your cashmere needs. Much like human hair, goat hair (cashmere) becomes softer and more down-like after it’s been washed. Dry cleaning damages these fibers and breaks them down. You’re better off using the ‘delicate’ cycle on your washing machine, or better yet, hand wash it with some mild baby soap.
Regular Grooming Makes it Last
The biggest enemy to keeping your knitted fabrics looking their best is pilling. With friction comes annoying, unsightly little fuzz balls. Whether it’s under the arms, around the neckline or around the cuff area, pilling is bound to happen. Grab a fresh razor blade and very carefully run it over the problem areas.
Just Give it..Time
Did you know that cashmere is one of the only natural fibers on earth that gets softer as time goes on? Unlike manufactured fibers, cashmere will actually become more and more luxurious as it ages. The key to this, of course, is avoiding the use of harsh chemicals as much as possible. If you’ve been in an environment that’s damaging to your cashmere, consider using some white vinegar or baking soda in a water solution. Both of these can be used as a natural fabric softener.
Always Wash in Cold Water
No matter what you read, your cashmere will always fare best if you’ve washed it in cold water. And to take it a step further, if you don’t have a delicate cycle on your washing machine, hand-washing is the absolute best way to wash your cashmere. You don’t have to be too vigorous with your scrubbing - A nice 20-30 minute soak in mild detergent (baby detergent works best). If you are going to throw it in the machine, make sure you turn it inside out, use cold, and switch it to the gentle cycle.
Let the Air Do it’s Thing
If you need your cashmere washed, and you need it for a special occasion, don’t do it a disservice by tossing it in the wash and then, GASP, throw it in the dryer. If you glean anything from this guide it should be two things; Avoid chemicals and do NOT put your cashmere in the dryer. The most vulnerable time for cashmere, so after it's been hand-washed, it's best to place it somewhere clean and flat. Press a towel against it to soak up excess water and leave it to dry. It may take several days to dry completely, depending on the level of humidity in your home. The key is to just have patience, and avoid using heat to dry it.
The take-away from this should be to avoid harsh chemicals, remember that not everything you read on a label is right, and keep your cashmere away from heat sources. Your cashmere can last as long as you need it to, provided you practice patience, and follow these simple steps.