Cashmere sweaters are a luxury and one of the most costly investments you may ever make. The texture and feel of cashmere are undeniably luxurious, and it keeps its warm and cozy properties even after repeated washing. However, because it is such a valuable piece in your wardrobe, it won’t last as long as it should if not properly cared for. To help you keep your cashmere sweaters looking and feeling fresh wash after wash, we’ve put together a few helpful steps on how to shrink a cashmere sweater without damaging it safely.
How to Shrink a Cashmere Sweater
1. Fill a large pot with cold water and place it on the stovetop, high heat. Make sure you use enough water to submerge your sweater (more than halfway full) completely. Bring this to a boil and set a timer for five minutes.
2. Put your cashmere sweater in the boiling water and continue to let it boil for five minutes. You should see some of the fibers start to break down and dissolve within the first minute or so.
3. Quickly take your sweater out of the pot, wearing protective gloves if you’re able to do so safely, and place it in a separate bowl filled with cold water. If you leave your sweater in hot water too long, it will start to feel together. Don’t wait for the water to cool down before transferring your sweater into the cold water.
4. Once you’ve placed your sweater in the cold water, continue to rinse it with cold water until completely cooled off. If you don’t do this and leave your cashmere in hot or warm water, it will shrink and feel together.
5. Fill your washer with cold water and add a color-catching agent (like Woolite) if possible. If you don’t have a washing machine that allows for this, take the sweater out at the end of the cycle and hand wash it in cold water by itself until it stops shrinking.
6. Thoroughly wring out the water from your cashmere sweater until you can’t see any more visible water. Lay it flat on top of a towel and roll the towel up with the sweater inside, squeezing as tightly as you can to remove excess water.
7. Unroll your towel and place your cashmere sweater down flat on a surface, smoothing out any wrinkles. Stretch it back to its original size gently if needed.
8. Lay your sweater on a drying rack or flat surface — never hang your cashmere sweaters on dry cleaning racks made of metal as this will damage the fibers — and allow it to dry completely before wearing or storing.
Does Cashmere Shrink When Washed?
Cashmere will shrink when washed, but this won’t be a problem as long as you follow the steps above. Be sure not to overload your washer with too much laundry because this can create tangling and matting of the fibers, which will cause it to shrink. It’s also important to use cold water and color-catching or Woolite agents if possible to prevent your cashmere from bleeding.
Does Cashmere Shrink When Hand Washed?
Yes, cashmere can also shrink if you hand wash it. Follow the steps listed above and lay your sweater flat to dry on a surface that won’t cause damage to the fibers. Wrinkles can be smoothed out with your hands by placing them underneath the towel and pressing against the backside of the sweater. You can also use a steamer to remove wrinkles if needed.
Why Does Cashmere Shrink?
Cashmere is a type of wool that comes from goats’ coats. It’s one of the softest materials you can wear next to your skin, but it’s also very delicate and requires proper care to last for many years. Cashmere fibers are very thin, about 10 micrometers compared to 20-30 micrometers for sheep’s wool fibers, making them very susceptible to change. The more you wear your cashmere items, the softer they become, which means it’s important to be sure they’re always clean and free of excess oil and dirt. Cashmere does not absorb water like other types of wool and will dry quickly on its own after washing or rinsing by hanging them in a cool, dry place. It’s important to take extra care when washing this material because it will shrink if exposed to extreme heat and agitation from the washer or dryer.
Does Cashmere Shrink When Dry Cleaned?
Cashmere can shrink when dry cleaned. The chemicals used in the process strip the fibers of their natural oils, which allows them to absorb water and cause shrinkage. If your cashmere item cannot be washed, you should take it to a professional dry cleaner who has experience with this type of fiber. Always ask if they have experience with cashmere before making an appointment. You should also follow the same care instructions above if you want to make sure your cashmere items will last for years to come. Cashmere is not cheap, so taking proper care of it is very important for both resale value and creating a timeless wardrobe and looks great for many years.
Does Cashmere Shrink in the Dryer?
Cashmere should never be put in the dryer because it will shrink. The heat from the dryer is too intense for this type of fiber, so items made with cashmere should be hung on a rack to dry. It may take longer to get them completely dry using this method, but it’s worth the wait. If you don’t have anywhere to hang your cashmere items try putting them in the bathroom when you take a hot shower, the steam will help remove wrinkles and make them less noticeable if needed.
Cashmere is a beautiful and soft material that’s very comfortable against the skin, but it can shrink if not cared for correctly. Be sure to follow the steps above to protect your cashmere sweaters from damage, and they’ll look great for years to come!