How to wash cashmere in the washing machine without throwing it down?

Long overpriced, cashmere seems to be becoming more democratic, even if not all qualities are equal. Is pilling synonymous with a badly knitted shirt? Let’s take a look at the ideas received around this rare wool, the best tips and tricks for taking care of cashmere and washing it in the washing machine, without shrinking or felting.

Once a particularly expensive and inaccessible material, cashmere has been democratizing since the early 2000s. Fast fashion brands such as Zara and Uniqlo are offering it at more affordable prices than ever, for example. Although the cost of this raw material has taken 30% since the beginning of 2022 according to Publicationseveral celebrities are still trying to turn this shirt into gold, like Alexandra Golovanoff (ok, she’s only known in fashion, we assure you) and her namesake brand, Gigi Hadid (maybe the same for her, we could say) with Guest in Residence , or Brad Pitt with God’s True Cashmere.

Why wash cashmere in the washing machine?

Whether you buy it dearly or at a bargain price, the fact remains that it is a particularly valuable, rare and fragile fibre. This is why it is important to take care of it. And when you don’t know how to do it, you may be afraid to buy or wash it. However, a rather simple method avoids taking the initiative, although it may seem counterintuitive, even dangerous: the washing machine.

In fact, contrary to popular belief, the right program with the right detergent can do more good than harm to cashmere sweaters, hats, scarves and other jogging clothes (yes, it exists, and to try it is to adopt it). It is also a water loving material. This embellishes the cashmere. Combined with the smooth motion of a washing machine, this can have a wonderful softening and anti-pilling effect for your knits, while it can inadvertently warp or burn if hand washed.

The 6 steps to washing your cashmere garments in the washing machine

  1. Start by turning the clothes inside out whenever possible (relevant for a sweater for example, but less so for a scarf, of course).
  2. Check the temperature of your cold or delicate wash program or wool : if it is above 20°C, it is out of the question to use it. But generally this temperature is not exceeded beyond which the cashmere could deteriorate, felt or shrink. So choose the appropriate programme: wool or delicates, cold, with a maximum of 400 spin cycles per minute.
  3. Forget the fabric softener as it may also damage the mesh parts. Cashmere is essentially soft, and a machine wash will further amplify this characteristic. Fabric softener tends to make cashmere feel.
  4. Use only special wool and silk or mild detergents (names vary between brands, but check on the label if the container in question is suitable for cashmere). This is found in most large and medium sized stores. Other, if you’re really a fan of this material and want to wash it often, it might be worth investing in a special cashmere detergent (sometimes called shampoo). More difficult to find, you can be sure to find some in physical stores and in the e-shops of brands specializing in the sector, such as Eric Bompard and Hircus, for example.
  5. You notice it on the labels of special detergents for wool and silka small amount is recommended: this is normal, cashmere does not support the cleansing elements that make up most detergents. And if you’re concerned that your sweater isn’t washed or cleaned properly, think again: like most wools, it’s a naturally antibacterial and anti-odour material, so we wash it mainly to reassure ourselves, to soften it, and to prevent the appearance of fluff. A small spin of the machine can be used to speed up the deodorization process, although hanging the cashmere for several hours in the fresh air is often sufficient.
  6. After crossing the car, remember to let the cashmere dry on a towel, to avoid deforming it by hanging it while its weight will be increased by the water.
From a good foundation, the turtleneck can establish itself as a showpiece in the dressing room.

How to remove pilling from a cashmere wool sweater?

Good to know: pilling that may appear over the cashmere garment are not necessarily synonymous with poor quality. Their appearance comes from the interweaving of fibers that protrude from each wool thread. This therefore occurs on cashmere of all qualities, of all prices. Shaving them with a regular razor or a dedicated anti-pilling razor can solve this natural and unavoidable phenomenon. But every wash even in the washing machine, in fact, as it helps to eliminate pilling.

Generally, after 10 washes, cashmere knit garments no longer produce pilling, and therefore remain as soft as quilts (This can be an argument for searching second hand cashmere sites that will have already eliminated much of their pilling). In short, you know everything to maintain and wash your cashmere in the washing machine without shooting, shrinking or felting it.

Read also:

How to reinvent your turtleneck or choose a beautiful one that lasts

Cover photo credit: Monkey Business Images via Canva.

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