How to Wash a Cashmere Sweater Without Totally Ruining It

BY: Amelia Buzzell |Aug 27, 2015

How to Wash a Cashmere Sweater Without Totally Ruining It

Cashmere isn’t cheap. It isn’t easy to cull the soft hairs from a battalion of baby goats, coax them into thread, and manipulate the thread into clothing shapes—which explains the high price. Unfortunately for your wallet, it’s also very easy to destroy a cashmere sweater once you have one. While most tags recommend dry cleaning, washing a sweater at home is a cheaper alternative that can make the fibers feel even softer. (Dry-cleaning detergents, while perfectly safe for the fabric, can feel a little harsh.)

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What You Need:


  • Woolite Delicates or baby shampoo (goat hair is hair, after all!)
  • A light-colored towel
  • A colander
  • Barely lukewarm water

What You Do:

Step 1: Pour a few drops of Woolite or baby shampoo into barely lukewarm water.


Step 2: Agitate the water with your hand to fully dissolve the soap.

Step 3: Submerge the sweater. Gently knead it to push the sudsy water through the fabric. Light, persistent pressure is the key to avoiding damage.


Step 4: Replace the soapy water with clean, lukewarm water.


Step 5: Repeat the gentle-kneading routine.

Step 6: Gently press the sweater in your hands to squeeze out some water. It’s crucial that you don’t twist, wring, or tug at it. Don’t leave any sleeves or turtlenecks hanging out, either—the weight of the water pulling them down could stretch out the sweater.


Step 7: Place the sweater in a colander. Press it firmly but gently against the sides and bottom of the basin to remove as much water as you can. However, don’t press so hard that the sweater pokes through the colander’s holes—that, too, can warp the fabric.


Step 8: Place the damp sweater on a flat surface covered with a light-colored towel. (The lighter the towel’s color, the less likely it is to inadvertently stain the sweater.) Arrange the sweater to fit its normal proportions: gently stretch the shoulders if they’ve become misshapen, arrange the arms at its sides, and straighten the hem.


Step 9: Let it dry overnight. If it’s still damp in the morning, replace the towel with a fresh one to avoid any mildew.

Photos by Andrew Nawrocki

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