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

Friday, 1 February 2008

Close call with cashmere

Regular readers will remember that a month or two back I passed on a tip from a long-time employee of Pringle that it was possible to whiz a cashmere sweater in the dryer for five minutes without ill effects.

I tried it and it worked. This morning, I washed my favourite brown Pure cashmere sweater, span it on a short cycle and put it in the dryer. The settings don't allow me to time for as little as five minutes so I noted the time on the clock with the aim of taking it out exactly five minutes later.

And then wandered off.

Some fifteen minutes later, returning to the kitchen, I emitted a high-pitched scream that might have woken some of you up in California. I slammed shut the off switch and waited for the lock release to open the door.

When I took the sweater out, it was almost dry. I tried it on and to my astonishment, it had not shrunk, it was unharmed. Now I do not recommend that you regularly tumble dry your precious cashmere sweaters, but it is a testimony to Pure cashmere that they can survive their owners' stupidity. See their site on the banner above.


annie said...

I have machine washed cashmere from Banana Republic, and fluffed it in the harm done. What I would like to know, how, if ever to wash silk blouses. I hate to dry clean.

sirocco said...

About 10 years ago I bought a red silk blouse which I loved. The label said dry clean only. When it came back from the cleaners the threads were pulled, it had lost its shape and was ruined. The cleaners denied responsibilty and said the blouse was faulty. The shop where I bought it said it was the fault of the cleaners. I spent ages going between the two and spent money on an independent analysis which was inconclusive. The shop owner suggested I washed it and said she usually ignored dry clean only labels. I hand washed it and the minute it went in the water I almsost choked on the chemical fumes coming off it. I washed it, hung it up to dry and it came out as good as new. I went on to wear it (with enormous pleasure) for another 6 years. Since then I ignore dry clean only labels except for coats, lined jackets and some heavy winter fabrics. Now I wash silk things in my machine on a short, gentle wash and dry them flat. It works.

Deja Pseu said...

Linda, just FYI the link on the Pure banner ad above isn't working.

Linda Grant said...

It is now

phyllis said...

Annie, silk blouses can be washed. The sizing the mill used on the fabric will come off and the hand of the fabric will change. The surface will become softer and appear slight more abraded, but it should otherwise be fine.

I use a mesh laundry bag, gentle cycle, cold water, and spin the item while still in the bag and then just hang to dry. Sometimes I roll the item in a towel to remove even more moisture before I hang it up. You will probably need to iron however.

I don't know why silk has a reputation for being a fragile fabric because in reality it's quite the opposite. It's very durable and it can take a much higher pressing heat than is generally recommended (a press cloth is always a good idea though to prevent shine.)

enc said...

I've been drying cashmere for awhile now, to no ill effect. I think the damage/shrinkage happens when it's washed. I've even washed and completely dried (within an inch of it's life) a sweater vest.

However, I once followed manufacturer's instructions with a silk camisole, and washed it in cold water. The result was a horror of shrinkage. It lost six inches in length, and thus became something unwearable. The problem was met with silence from the manufacturer. Into the bin it went.

Eviemuff said...

I've just ordered my very first Pure cashmere sweater; rust, scoop neck and £81 reduced from about £120. Am very excited which is possibly a bit sad, but I DON'T CARE!