Because you can't have depths without surfaces.
Linda Grant, thinking about clothes, books and other matters.

Saturday, 22 December 2007

Care of cashmere


In Harpers this month a former executive with Pringle advises on how to wash a cashmere sweater, advice which I followed yesterday and which worked.

Hand wash in warm water using liquid soap. Soak for five minutes, then gently swish the suds through the garment to make sure they penetrate all the fibres, that's swish not knead like you're making bread. Rinse thoroughly. Put in washing machine on short spin cycle. Put in dryer on low heat for five minutes which fluffs up the fibres and prevents pilling. Dry flat.

9 comments:

lagatta à Montréal said...

I'd never thought - or dared - use the washing machine or the dryer for my (one) cashmere or any fine woollens! Has anyone dared try this - and not wound up with a very expensive piece of felt?

Linda Grant said...

I have used the short spin cycle for years on cashmere after a lecturer in textiles at an art school told me it was okay. It's the first time I have tried the dryer, but she was right, it was fine.

enc said...

I've been using my washer's "gentle" cycle to care for my cashmere for years. It raises the nap on the fibers so the yarn feels extra-soft. I like that. As for using the dryer for two minutes, I'll be nervous, but I'll give it a try!

Deja Pseu said...

Wow, this is great to know!

What kind of liquid soap do you use? Regular laundry soap or dish soap or something else?

Linda Grant said...

I use a handwash soap such as Stergene or Woolite

Els said...

When washing wool sweaters in hand warm water, I always rinse the sweaters in the same temperature water also hand warm, because I heard that switching from hand warm to cold water the wool can shrink or pile. Not knowing if this is true but I do not want to try it out.

Toby Wollin said...

els - I used to raise sheep and angora goats and processed the fleeces using just that technique: match (reasonably closely; I'm not talking about taking out a thermometer)the rinse water with the wash water. Fill the basin (or the washing machine with the sweaters and soak - you can swish them a couple of times to loosen things up but do not agitate. Squeeze gently, put in mesh bags and spin out. Take out of the machine. Fill machine with water which is the same temperature as the water you TOOK THE SWEATERS OUT OF and put the sweaters in, swish and bit to get any residual soap and put into a mesh bag or bags (depending on how many you have in there)and spin them out again. I don't use a dryer - I have forced air heat and lay them out on screens on top of wooden frame dryers over my registers. I have not tried it with cashmere, but I can tell you definitively that it works with mohair and wool. The other thing is that unless you actually get something on the sweater that you need to wash out (and you can do that carefully with spot cleaning), you don't need to wash your sweaters every single time you wear them. The more times you wash animal-based fibers, the greater the chance of felting -- but the trick to avoiding felting, in general, is to avoid agitating the fibers and avoid shocking the fibers with great changes in temperatures.
In terms of detergents, Woolite or something like that works well; you don't need the grease-cutting capability of Dawn - that is just too caustic really.

Anonymous said...

A shop assistent once told me that cashmere is cleaned by hot steam (not too hot, like long shower hot), after ten/fifteen minutes or so they smell nice and fresh again.
I'm too much of a coward to put mine in the machine or the dryer, though it's really tempting... but I don't really dare.

Eviemuff said...

A few months ago I bought a featherlight cashmere jumper from Comptoir de Cottoniere (sp?) for £150 and wore it for about two hours the next day, after which it looked like I'd been playing rugby in it! Piling like mad, bits coming off it just from one wear!!!

I took it back to the shop and got the French snot treatment but stuck to my guns. Don't buy cashmere from this shop ladies.