Caring for Cashmere

If you have ever come across cashmere, you’ll notice the exceptional warmth and softness of this material. I always had an interest in fabrics and cashmere is one of my favorite natural fibers. So I thought I find out where they find this type of fiber. And also the best way to care for it. As my last cashmere sweater was attack by moths and I have not worn it again. It was a terrible loss for me, but luckily I have a new sweater that I hope to keep for as long as possible. I also have a cashmere shawl (pashmina) that has been holding up pretty well. But it’s very delicate and the knits can snag easily. So it’s not something you want to go hiking in.

cashmerepashmina1So what exactly is cashmere? It is the fiber found in the soft undercoat of a Cashmere goat. Cashmere wool is much lighter than sheep wool and is very warm. The name cashmere is derived from the area Kashmir, near India. The fiber has been traditionally produced in China, Mongolia, Nepal, Iran, Turkey, Pakistan, Afghanistan and India. In these countries, cashmere fiber is often a secondary consideration to the goats primary function of producing meat and milk.

Muccia Cashmere of Denmark also states that the fibers are highly adaptable and are easily construed into fine or thick yarn, and light to heavy-weight fabrics. So it is good to wear in all climates. The cashmere fibers are collected during molting seasons when the animals naturally shed their hairs. Goats molt during a several-week period in spring. In China, Nepal and Mongolia, the down is removed by hand with a coarse comb. The animals are sheared in Iran, Afghanistan, New Zealand and Australia.

As for cashmere care, Muccia Cashmere suggested that washing will actually make your cashmere softer and smoother. They recommend washing your cashmere after wearing it two or three times. They also said it’s OK to machine wash when inserting into a pillowcase and using a light spin cycle and soft washing soap. But other cashmere companies recommend hand washing only in cold water with natural soap or baby shampoo and no bleach ever. As for washing and piling problems, Mount Cashmere has some great tips as well. Here is what they recommend,

Treat your cashmere sweater like your own hair and wash it gently in luke warm or cold water using a lanolin based wash.

Block it out on a towel to shape and just let it dry naturally, then if you wish, iron it inside out.

All natural fibres pill a little. If your cashmere sweater pills, just wash it. Piling is caused by rubbing and dirt, so it is a good idea to wash frequently.

The more you wash it, the better! Avoid harsh fabrics on top of your cashmere, such as fleece. Remember that your purse strap can harm your sweater.


So there it is, the short story of cashmere and also the best way to care for them. Also remember that cashmere should never be hung to dry, as the material is delicate and the sweater will lose it’s shape. As for storing, it is best to wash it clean, folded, and sealed as this will prevent moths from attacking it. I guess I should have taken better care of my first cashmere sweater. But now I know better and I hope you do too.

Cashmere Goat picture taken from Sweet Goats of Colorado.


1 Comment »

  1. […] blend, Herbal mix, Natural moth repellant, Sweater, Wool |   This is an update from my “Caring for Cashmere“. I wanted to add how to care and wash wool and cashmere blend sweaters as […]

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