Information and Tips on How to Look After CashmereBy Angela Marshall, 5th Jan 2011
Cashmere is a great classic item to have in your wardrobe that gives you style and elegance and a great image. It is regarded as a luxury and originally only worn by royalty, but it is said that it became more popular in France when Napoleon purchased several items for his second wife Empress Eugenie. The “original sweater girl,” Lana Turner, created a trend when she wore a tight cashmere sweater in a 1937 film called, They Won’t Forget. Cashmere was originally the wool of the Kashmir goat and now comes from other goats.Over the last few years it has become very accessible to purchase cashmere from many High Street stores and online companies. Cashmere is made in several countries and Italy, Scotland, England and Japan have been known as market leaders, whilst China is the largest producers.
A cashmere garment should be regarded as a treat as it takes a goat four years to produce enough wool to make one cashmere sweater.
The poorer quality cashmere tends to be lighter in weight and more loosely woven than the best fabric. Look out for densely knitted pieces that have sturdy ribbing on the waist – cheaper pieces tend to have wavy ribbing.
The better the quality, the less your cashmere will bobble. Bobbling generally appears around the sleeves and underarms, but can be pulled away with machines, such as the Clothes Shaver from places such as John Lewis or Bettaware, but care as constant use will eventually wear away the wool.
Cleaning Your Cashmere
As all luxury fabrics it needs a bit of TLC, but cashmere lasts years providing you take care of it and store it well. It is easy to wash, providing you follow instructions and use the correct washing detergent. Washing is much better than dry cleaning as the chemicals can affect the soft feeling, although what is good, moths do not like the dry cleaning chemicals used. Repeated washing can improve the texture over a period of time.
- Wash your garment inside out
- Ensure you use an appropriate detergent
- Machine wash on a wool cycle (30 degrees). Use the spin cycle which brings the garment back into shape. Or
- By hand in lukewarm water, rinse very well and take care not to stretch the fabric when you squeeze out the excess water.
- Smooth the garment into shape and always dry the item flat away from direct heat or sunlight.
- Iron on reverse with a cool iron.
Do not tumble dry and never use fabric softener and always fold cashmere – hangers will distort the shape unless you use padded fabric hangers and the item is worn very regularly.
Freezing your cashmere:
If some reason you do not want to wash your cashmere clothing regularly then I suggest you fold it up and put it into a plastic bag and put it in the freezer overnight. This will kill moth larvae, which may be lurking in the cashmere. It will also fluff up the wool.
Moths and Cashmere
Cashmere is a delicacy to moths, so you need to ensure you keep your garments clean and well stored. Persistent care is the only way to prevent moths. Moths love food proteins in wool and skin and hair particles we leave behind. The female clothes moth, the Tinea Pennionella, lay 40 to 50 eggs over a course of 4 to 21 days that hatch into larvae. The larvae cause the damage, not the moths, by feeding on the fibres of your garment. They then become moths who mate and carry on the cycle again, and again, from May until October.
Airing: Moths hate light and being disturbed so open your drawers and shake your cashmere clothes.
Anti moth products such as cedar balls and lavender sachets can help to prevent moths, but need replacing regularly.
Storing Your Cashmere
When you sort, organise and plan your wardrobe for teh season you should store your clean out-of-season cashmere clothing in cotton breathable washable garment bags. Do not store your cashmere in plastic bags as cashmere needs to be able to breathe. You should always wash and thoroughly dry your cashmere sweaters before you store them, as dirty or grubby knitwear is more attractive to insects and moths.
If you find you need help with your cashmere then you may like to contact Belinda Robertson.
My books on wardrobe personality describe what fabrics you will enjoy wearing according to your personality, but there are very few people that will not enjoy wearing cashmere once they have tried it. if you require any further information or help with your wardrobe contact Angela Marshall of Appearance Management.
Enjoy your cashmere and look good in it and feel like royalty!
Credits for photo Pure Cashmere