How To Hand Wash Your Cashmere Sweaters

October 14, 2014 by Justine Schwartz
shefinds | Style

Contrary to popular belief, dry cleaning is not the best method for cleaning your cashmere. Ready to have your mind blown? The best way to clean your cashmere is to hand wash it! Okay, well this should save you some money on your dry cleaning bill.

If your mama never taught you how to hand wash and line dry clothes (or sew… or cook…) that’s okay, I’ve compiled the super easy steps for doing so:

Step 1: Using lukewarm/tepid water (85 degrees Fahrenheit is ideal, according to Real Simple) and a small amount of gentle detergent (like Woo-lite, Dreft or Victoria’s Secret “Gentle Wash”) or mild shampoo (Neutrogena or Dove) create a soapy basin in which to wash your sweaters (sorted by color–dark, light and whites–just like your regular laundry).

Why warm water? Cold water doesn’t remove stains as effectively. Hot water can make dyes bleed and causes shrinking. According to Martha Stewart, “Heat is the enemy of wool!”

Why gentle detergent? The less alkaline in the detergent the better (the stuff is harsh on wool).

Step 2: Place the sweater in the water-detergent mixture and start gently swirling and swooshing (technical term) the garment. Never pull or stretch the fabric or rub it against itself–that causes pilling! Continue for 2-5 minutes.

Why 2-5 minutes? After two minutes 98 percent of the dirt is gone. If you soak the garment much longer than that the dye can start to bleed.

Step 3: Run lukewarm water in to the basin, draining the soapy water out the bottom simultaneously. Refill the basin with clean lukewarm water and repeat that process until all the soap suds are gone.

Step 4: To remove excess water, gently (GENTLY!) press the sweater against the sides of the sink/basin.  Never ever ever ever wring or twist the garment! This can cause more harm than if you’d thrown it in a regular machine wash. Just don’t do it!

Step 5: Remove the sweater from the sink/basin and place it atop a towel. Fold the towel over the garment and gently blot out any remaining water or dampness. Roll and unwroll the towel with the sweater in the middle. This is the safest way to dry your sweater. You can also leave it laying out on a mesh surface (best for air drying) or atop a towel in a flat, dry, cool area.

Step 6: Steam or iron the sweater to remove wrinkles as needed!



Editorial Director

Justine Schwartz is a veteran women's lifestyle editor; she's written extensively about style & beauty tips, health advice and wedding planning for more than a decade. Her work has appeared in New York Magazine, Huffington Post and New York Weddings. Justine has been with SheFinds since 2010; you can reach her via email at [email protected]

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