Caring for Cashmere

Now that Christmas has been put away, and the year is new, it is an excellent time to get things into tip top shape.

No, no, this isn’t a post about exercising—I mean a bit of a how-to series on how to care for your precious things like your cashmere and your cast iron.

So lets start with Cashmere.

Whether you have cashmere sweaters or a cashmere scarf, you have to know how to treat this beautiful fibre to keep it looking its best. Cashmere is in fact, a hair, not a wool, obtained from cashmere goats and other types of goats. Cashmere is warmer (3X the insulation) and softer than sheep wool. It is strong, light, and incredibly soft.

Although the label may advise dry cleaning, the good news is that hand-washing will improve your cashmere, making it softer over time and it will also last longer if cared for this way. Just remember that heat is the enemy of cashmere.

Wash:  Always use a  a small amount of mild detergent like Woolite in tempid water. If perspiration stains and odours are an issue, add 3/4 cup of white vinegar to the water. Fill a sink or basin and then immerse item, swish gently so as not to stretch, and let soak for 10 minutes. To keep a sweater’s shape, do up all buttons before washing.

Rinse: Scoop up the item and gently squeeze out excess water. Never wring or stretch. Fill basin with clean tempid water, lay sweater in the clean water, (do not put under running water), swish and then remove. Repeat until all traces of soap are gone.

Dry: Roll in a clean white towel to remove excess moisture. Gently squeeze and press. Do not wring. Lay flat to dry away from sun and heat. A mesh drying rack is ideal as it allows air to circulate. Block the item into shape by squaring the shoulders and hem and laying sleeves parallel. It can take a few days for the item to dry completely, and once dry, steam to remove wrinkles or lightly press with an iron on wool or steam setting.

Store: Do not store sweaters on a hanger as it will cause the garment to stretch out of shape and creates shoulder dimples. Instead, fold and lay flat in a drawer or on a shelf. To avoid an unisghtly line down the middle  of a sweater fold each side inward by a third; smooth the arms down, and fold in half.

 

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