Clean cashmere clothes with dryer balls and a laundry dispenser.

How to wash cashmere — 4 simple steps for fresh and luxurious cashmere.

Last Updated: April 12, 2021

Avoid a trip to the dry cleaner and get your cashmere feeling fresh and luxurious from home. Here’s how to take care of your favorite cashmere pieces.

Your favorite cashmere sweater looking shabby instead of luxurious? Instead of heading to the dry cleaner, follow our guide for safely washing and drying cashmere at home.

Comfort meets luxury in cashmere. A well-made cashmere sweater can quickly — and rightfully — become a wardrobe favorite. But cashmere upkeep feels like another story altogether. From finicky care instructions to stretches and holes, that perfect sweater can become a headache in no time.

With cashmere especially, your first thought may be to take it to the dry cleaner. However, like much of your wardrobe, it turns out cashmere can be washed easily at home. We’ll review the ins and outs of cashmere care and help put cashmere back on top for wearability.

Can you wash cashmere?

Yes! We always recommend checking the care tag on any fabric before washing, but most cashmere garments can be washed at home.

You can handwash or machine-wash your cashmere items, depending on your needs. We’ve outlined the steps for doing both forms of washing below. You’re welcome!

How to handwash cashmere

The best way to wash any cashmere garment is the old-fashioned way: by hand. Handwashing cashmere is simple, and it only requires a few tools and tricks.

What you’ll need to handwash cashmere:

How to handwash cashmere: A step-by-step guide

Bathtub illustration

Step 1: Prepare the bath.

Fill your clean basin with room-temperature water. Add your preferred cleaning solution — a specialty cashmere cleaner or something very gentle, like unscented natural detergent or baby shampoo. Swish the water around with your hands to get the bath nice and sudsy.

Step 2: Soak and swish.

Soak the garment for 10 minutes. Very gently agitate the cashmere piece. If it’s in a dire need of cleaning, you can also gently press your cashmere against the bottom of the basin for extra absorption.

Step 3: Drain and refresh.

Drain the basin, and refill it with cool water. Gently agitate — swish, swish, swish. Drain the water, and fill it back up. Swish, swish, swish. Repeat until the water runs clear and the cashmere is free of detergent.

Grove Tip

Never wring cashmere!

During the washing and drying process, it may be tempting to twist or wring your garment, like you would a towel. Avoid the temptation! Wringing and twisting can stretch cashmere fibers, quickly leading to a worn-out, lumpy, oversized garment.

How to machine-wash cashmere: A step-by-step guide

Only certain cashmere garments can be machine-washed. Check your garment’s care tag for more information on whether it can be tossed in the machine. If it can, here’s how to do it properly.

What you’ll need to machine-wash cashmere:

  • A front-loading washing machine
  • Wool or cashmere detergent, or an all natural, enzyme-free gentle detergent
  • A mesh laundry bag

Step 1: Prep your cashmere.

Turn your cashmere garments inside out. Place them flat inside a mesh laundry bag to prevent them from getting twisted, snagged, or hog-tied.

Step 2: Add your specialty detergent.

Anything with chemical additives, such as scents, fabric softeners, or dyes can damage the natural cashmere fibers. The gentler, the better.

Washing machine illustration

Step 3: Prep your washer.

Set your front loading washing machine to a cool, gentle cycle. Avoid top-loading machines — the central agitator is a nightmare for delicates like cashmere, even when they’re in a bag.

How often should you wash cashmere clothes?

Light blue illustration of a calendar.

Fabrics like cashmere and wool, while delicate, are more resistant to dirt, dust, and sweat than synthetic fabrics. If you only wear that cozy cashmere sweater a handful of times throughout the chilly season, wash it once or twice across the entire season. If you wear your cashmere daily, wash it once every week or so.

Daily upkeep, like spot-treating stains, will help stave off the need for a full wash, and it’ll keep your cashmere looking fresh and bright.

How to dry cashmere: A step-by-step guide

Similar to most wool, cashmere should never, ever be placed in the dryer. The heat and agitation of any machine dryer causes cashmere to shrink terribly.

With cashmere, you are going to want to stick to air drying. While it takes some time, air drying keeps your cashmere shapely and pristine.

Step 1: Position the garment.

Lay the cashmere garment flat on top of a dry towel. Line up the seams and smooth wrinkles. Drying it flat will help it maintain its shape and fit.

Illustration of 3 water droplets

Step 2: Roll it up.

Start with the end facing you, and roll the towel and cashmere up together, like you would a sleeping bag, gently squeezing, so the towel will absorb excess moisture from your garment.

Step 3: Air dry.

Return the cashmere to a lay-flat position on a new dry towel. It may take up to eight hours for your cashmere to air dry. Turn it over after a few hours to help it dry faster.

How to treat stains on cashmere clothes

Treating stains as they occur is one of the best ways to keep your cashmere chic and keep your schedule free of a full-on cashmere washing session.

If a stain occurs:

  • Blot it with water.
  • Add a few drops of an appropriate cleaner (listed previously).
  • Gently massage the stained spot with your fingers.
  • Rinse the spot with cool water.

Once the suds are out, lay the garment flat to dry.

If you’re dealing with a long-dried stain, it's best to pre-treat the area, then handwash or machine wash the garment.

How to extend the lifespan of cashmere clothes

There are a number of little ways to ensure your favorite cashmere sweater lives a long and healthy life, retaining its shape and style even as it becomes vintage.

Never hang cashmere.

Hanging your cashmere with the rest of your clothes is a surefire way to draw the ire of gravity and turn your favorite cashmere sweater into a lanky, stretched out mess. It's best to fold and store cashmere flat in a dresser or on a shelf.

Always wash cashmere before long-term storage to prevent moths and bugs.

Stored, clean cashmere is unappealing to critters searching for their next meal. Moths and other bugs are attracted to lingering smells like sweat, deodorant, and perfumes. To prevent surprise closet guests, always wash your cashmere before putting it away for the season.

Store cashmere in fabric bags.

Plastic clothing bags seal in moisture, creating the perfect environment for mildew and sweater-stink. Fabric bags provide natural airflow, creating an airy, but protective, environment for garment storage.

Don’t use razors or scissors to remove pills.

Razors and scissors may be good for grooming human hair, but they’re not great for cashmere. Both run the risk of yanking more than just pills, taking sturdy pieces of the garment with them during the depilling process. Instead, use a lint brush or sweater stone. Both simply scoop off existing pills without grabbing onto or cutting into the main cashmere weave.

Keep cashmere away from rough items like jewelry.

While beautiful, jewelry rubs against your clothes constantly throughout the day. For cashmere, that means guaranteed pills, as the friction created by your jewelry will catch, snag, and irritate the natural cashmere fibres. In particular, avoid wearing cashmere and jewelry made with rough-cut stones or small chains.

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