Caring For Your Cashmere

Apr 8, 2021

In Whistles I have sold a lot of cashmere and I generally find that my styling clients can’t resist the lure of a beautiful cashmere jumper during A/W season. It’s a perennial essential; perfect for the harsh Scottish winter and it’s a brilliant layering piece (I love wearing a simple cashmere roll neck, layered under a snug gilet with an accessory to jazz it up).

Cashmere is one of the softest fibres in the world. It doesn’t come from a sheep, but from the cashmere goat which are found in the Himalayas.  Temperatures there can dip to -30 degrees, so cashmere goats grow two layers of hair to keep them hardy in these freezing temperatures! It’s no surprise then that cashmere will keep you eight times warmer than sheep’s wool.    

Perhaps another reason why cashmere is considered luxury is due to the fact that it’s the super soft under layer of the cashmere goat that produces our cashmere – and this is limited since the goat only produces 200 grams per year (as compared to the three kilos that the sheep will produce).  

So, should you invest in a really good cashmere piece? Absolutely! Cashmere is lightweight, resistant to wrinkles, and if you look after your cashmere, it should last for many, many years.   Here’s my essential guide to ensuring your cashmere is a good investment:

  • Never over-wash. You don’t actually need to wash cashmere often…. cashmere is a natural moisture wicker and it doesn’t hold on to dirt. 
  • Hand wash cashmere only in cold water…do not put in the machine with other items (it may shrink).  Use a special handwash wool detergent. I let my cashmere soak for a few minutes, then very gently rinse clean.  Don’t overly rub the item. 
  • To dry, don’t wring it out as this can stretch the delicate fibres. Lay the cashmere gently on a towel on a flat surface and roll the towel and cashmere together once, starting from the end that’s closest to you. Unroll, lift the item and lay it flat on a second dry towel, gently bringing it back to its original shape. Never dry cashmere outside on a washing line, hang over a rack or pop in the dryer. Keep the item flat, allowing the natural air temperature of the room dry it. 
  • Once it’s dry, wrap it in tissue paper and keep folded in a drawer (never hang it as it will de-shape). If you’re worried about moths, pop some mothballs in your closet. 
  • Cashmere does bobble or pill, this is not a sign of bad quality, it’s simply a characteristic of the long fibres. You can use a cashmere comb to gently remove the bobbles – Whistles always gives customers a complimentary comb with a cashmere purchase. However, exercise care as over-depilling may result in holes.