You would think the most sought-after cashmere in the world would require a great deal of care, but what might seem an arduous task is in fact quite easy — even fulfilling, in a productive kind of way. Just a few simple tricks can prolong the life of your cashmere for years.
Like any wool, cashmere is naturally breathable and wicks moisture, so you can wear it as many as 50 times (read: excellent cost-per-wear) between washes. Indeed, washing it too often could contribute to excessive pilling.
Here’s how to keep your cashmere looking and feeling beautiful, naturally.
HOW TO CARE FOR YOUR CASHMERE
- Hand-dip in cold — never hot — water without detergent (yes, just water!) or choose a mild cashmere shampoo; air dry flat, away from heat and direct sunlight
- Avoid friction; rubbing, wringing, and drying with other garments will lead to pilling
- Fold and store on a dedicated shelf next to a glass of water to maintain humidity; hanging may cause stretching
- Air out at least 24 hours after wearing, and before wearing again
YOUR QUESTIONS, ANSWERED
Q: Should I dry-clean my sweater? What about perspiration odors under the arms?
A: Dry-cleaning uses chemicals to remove stains, so we don’t like to recommend it. If you choose not to hand wash your cashmere, opt for a non-toxic cleaning method. Search online for a ‘green dry-cleaning’ or ‘professional wet-cleaning’ service near you. You can prolong the time between washes by wearing a tee or camisole underneath.
Q: Despite my best efforts, I still get “pills” on my Garnet Hill cashmere sweaters. How do I remove them?
A: Pilling is normal for any natural fiber. We use the highest quality fibers spun into strong two-ply yarns, twisted to resist pilling without compromising strength. These long, strong fibers take much longer to pill.
First, to reduce pilling, always turn your sweater inside out when washing, and wash in an extra-large mesh bag to avoid friction if it could come in contact with other garments. Since cashmere fibers are very light and delicate, it will inevitably pill in areas predisposed to friction, i.e. under the arms. We recommend removing pills with a sweater stone, a pumice-like stone that glides over the sweater without altering the unique surface. Do not yank pills with your fingers, as this will damage the yarn.
Q: Best way to store cashmere over the summer?
A: We don’t like to think of our cashmere as having to hibernate! We wear it year-round in our air-conditioned office, on flights and chilly evenings, in restaurants, you name it.
If we haven’t convinced you, then before long-term storage, hand wash your cashmere and air dry it completely.
If you’re concerned about the possibility of moths, freeze your cashmere in a plastic bag for at least 4 hours or preferably overnight. Defrost and wrap it in acid-free tissue paper to preserve color and protect against damp and dust.
Cedar is a natural moth repellant. Store your cashmere with a sachet of cedar chips (avoid direct contact with the cashmere) in an air-tight plastic container or cedar chest.
Q: I have had cashmere sweaters ruined because of moths. For that reason I store them together, in a plastic tightly sealed zip bag for the summer months. During the season they move to a cedar chest. Is keeping them in the zip bag ok? I am so afraid of losing any more pieces.
A: Storing your sweaters in a plastic bag is fine, however we would not recommend storing them longer than three months, because changes in temperature could cause mildew or yellowing of light colors.
Still have a question about how to care for your cashmere? Post it here! We love hearing from you.