So you've knitted the perfect cashmere garment, a sweater or scarf or hat that will keep you feeling warm and looking stylish during the colder seasons of the year. You worked hard to make that piece, so naturally, you want to make it last as long as possible. But what are the best ways to care for a cashmere garment after you've finished knitting it?
Due to its delicate quality, cashmere needs a little more care than most other clothing materials, but it's well worth the time and effort to make your new knitted piece last a lifetime. Here are some tips to help you take the best possible care of your beloved cashmere garment.
Hand-Wash Only (Do Not Dry-Clean)
Because cashmere yarn is made from fine goat hair, it should be treated more like human hair than a traditional clothing fabric. Do not dry-clean your garment or it may become stiff and damaged—the opposite of what you want from cashmere. Instead, hand-wash the piece in cold water (heat will shrink it) and make sure to use a gentle detergent such as baby shampoo.
After letting it soak for 20 to 30 minutes, rinse your garment in clean cold water and lay it flat on a towel to dry. Be careful not to wring or stretch the garment while it's wet, and make sure to reshape it as it dries. If you need to, you can gently roll the piece in the towel to remove excess water. Note that a wet cashmere garment can take days to fully air dry, but it's worth the wait to maintain the fabric's quality softness.
Store Your Garment Properly
Once you've hand-washed your cashmere garment, the next step is to store it properly. Again, cashmere is much more delicate than most fabrics, so you should never hang a cashmere garment in your closet or it'll quickly lose its shape.
The best way to store cashmere is to fold it, which will keep it from stretching. For long-term storage, it's a good idea to keep your piece in a storage bag, preferably one made of a breathable material like cotton. Drawers and storage boxes are the best places to store cashmere, but avoid plastic bins where moisture and bugs can collect.
Remove Pills and Fuzz (The Right Way)
Wearing your cashmere garment for a while naturally leads to pilling. To remove this unwanted fuzz, use a cashmere comb (for garments made with finer yarn) or a sweater stone (for pieces knitted with thicker yarn) for the best results. If you don't have either of these tools on hand, you can use a razor or lint tape instead. Just make sure to always run the tool in the same direction each time so you don't accidentally damage the fabric.
Keep the Moths Away
There's nothing worse than spending hours knitting a beautiful cashmere sweater or cardigan only to have hungry moths eat holes into it days later. To make your knitted cashmere garment last longer, you need to repel moths before they have a chance to ruin your hard work.
Again, storing your cashmere clothes in sealable bags is your best bet for long-term storage, as bugs won't be able to eat through them. If you don't have a storage bag, try storing your cashmere garment with cedar balls or fragrance oil: moths hate the smell of cedar and will be more likely to avoid your beloved knitted piece. Moths also don't like light, so consider taking your cashmere clothes out at least once a month and letting them air in the sun for a while. Always make sure to give your cashmere garment a good wash before storing it for the season: the last thing you want is to open your drawers in autumn to find that larvae have been feasting on the precious fabric.
Cashmere may require a little extra care, but all that hard work you put into knitting your garment deserves to be preserved as long as possible. Follow these simple tips and your knitted cashmere pieces will be sure to last for many seasons to come.