Washing Cashmere: How to Wash Cashmere by Hand or Machine | Signature Cashmere

Washing Cashmere: How to Wash Cashmere by Hand or Machine | Signature Cashmere

Cashmere is a luxurious fabric cherished for its unparalleled softness and exquisite feel. Whether it's an elegant poncho, a stylish pashmina shawl, or a cherished baby blanket, cashmere garments and accessories deserve the utmost care to maintain their pristine condition. 

But when it comes to washing cashmere, many are unsure of the best approach: handwashing or using a machine? Read our comprehensive guide to washing cashmere, ensuring your favourite pieces remain beautiful for years to come.

What is Cashmere?

Cashmere is a natural fibre, renowned for its unparalleled warmth to weight ratio and softness. Cashmere is the name given to the wool derived from the neck and under-belly of the ‘Capra Hircus’ goat that thrives in the Himalayas at altitudes above 12,000 feet. At this altitude, the natural cashmere fibres are extremely fine (between 10-14 microns in diameter, or 6-8 times thinner than a human hair) which gives these garments an incredible warmth-to-weight ratio and is the explanation for its softness.

The delicate nature of these fibres mean they need to be cared for with extra attention. You can read more about the quality of cashmere in this article.

How to Hand Wash Cashmere

Handwashing is often considered the gentlest method for cleaning cashmere, preserving its delicate fibres and luxurious softness. Follow our guide for best practise. 

Prepare a Gentle Cleaning Solution

Fill the sink or basin with lukewarm water and add a small amount of mild detergent specifically formulated for delicate fabrics. Avoid using harsh detergents or bleach, as they can damage the delicate fibres of cashmere.

Soak and Gently Agitate the Water

Submerge your cashmere garment in the soapy water and gently agitate it with your hands to loosen any dirt or grime. Be careful not to rub or wring the fabric, as this can cause stretching or distortion. 

Rinse Thoroughly

Drain the soapy water and refill the sink or basin with fresh, lukewarm water. Rinse the cashmere garment thoroughly to remove any remaining detergent, ensuring that no soap residue is left behind. Again remember not to rub or wring the fabric.

Press, Don't Wring

To remove excess water, gently press the cashmere garment against the side of the basin or sink. Avoid wringing or twisting the fabric, as this can cause it to lose its shape.

Lay Flat to Dry

Lay the cashmere garment flat on a clean, dry towel and reshape it with your hands to its original dimensions. Allow it to air dry away from direct heat or sunlight, as these can cause the fibres to become brittle or damaged. Don’t hang the garment as this can cause it to lose its shape.

Machine Washing Cashmere

While handwashing is generally recommended for cashmere, it is possible to machine wash certain cashmere garments. Follow these tips to machine wash your cashmere safely:

  • Use a Gentle Cycle: Select a gentle or delicate cycle on your washing machine to prevent damage to the delicate fibres of cashmere.
  • Use a Mesh Laundry Bag: Place your cashmere garment inside a mesh laundry bag to protect it from snagging or stretching during the wash cycle.
  • Use a Mild Detergent: Use a small amount of mild detergent specifically designed for delicate fabrics. Avoid using bleach or fabric softeners, as these can damage cashmere fibres.
  • Wash with Similar Colours: Wash cashmere garments with similar colours to prevent colour bleeding or transfer.
  • Lay Flat to Dry: After washing, remove the cashmere garment from the machine and gently reshape it to its original dimensions. Lay it flat on a clean, dry towel to air dry, away from direct heat or sunlight.

Final Tips for Cashmere Care

Avoid Dryers: Never tumble dry cashmere in a dryer, as the heat can cause shrinkage and damage to the fibres.

Storage: Store cashmere garments folded rather than hanging to maintain their shape and prevent stretching. You can read more about storing your cashmere here.

Pilling: To remove bobbles or fuzz from cashmere, gently brush the fabric with a soft-bristled garment brush or use a fabric shaver designed for delicate fabrics.

Staining: If you get a bad stain on one of your cashmere items, we recommend visiting the dry cleaners for specialist advice and to avoid using harsh stain removers.

Ironing: Cashmere generally shouldn’t need ironing due to the loose nature of the fibres. However, if they do require ironing, use a cool setting only and iron the garment very gently, not pressing too hard.

Washing Cashmere: Hand Wash or Machine Wash?

If you’re still wondering whether it’s best to hand wash or machine wash your cashmere garments, we’d always recommend trying hand washing first. It’s a much gentler approach and you’re completely in charge. The most important steps to remember are to use:

  • Gentle detergent.
  • Cool water.
  • No wringing or twisting of the garment.
  • Lay flat to dry.

At Signature Cashmere we pride ourselves on the quality of our cashmere. All our pashmina wool is sourced directly from the Capra Hircus goat and handcrafted by skilled craftsman in a small factory in Nepal. Our supplier, Jitendra, has a small factory employing 25 local men and women in Kathmandu. Jitendra started his business in 1998 and has always produced the highest-quality pashminas and cashmere clothing for us. 

If you take care of your cashmere properly, you can be assured that your cashmere and pashmina garments will last you many years to come.