Hand wash wool pants in cool water.

How to Clean Wool and Cashmere Slacks

by Mimi Abney

When your favorite pair of wool or cashmere slacks get dirty from everyday wear, you don’t have to take them to the dry cleaner. Even if your pants are a blend of the two luxurious materials, a gentle hand washing can remove odors, dirt and stains easily. To make sure your wool and cashmere slacks don’t shrink or stretch out, handle these delicate and expensive fabrics with care.

1. Wool

1 Fill a medium-sized basin with lukewarm or cold water. Place 1 teaspoon of mild liquid detergent into the water. Using your hands, mix the water to create suds.

2. Wool

2 Plunge the wool pants into the soapy water. Swirl the pants into the water for three to five minutes to clean. Let the wool fabric soak for a maximum of two to three hours. The soapy mixture will absorb into the fabric and help lift any odors and stains.

3. Wool

3 Place the pants into a large sink. Run the pants under cold water to remove the soapy residue and complete the cleaning process. Squeeze the pants gently to remove any water. Don’t wring the fabric because you may stretch the fibers or cause the wool pants to pill.

4. Wool

4 Lay the pants flat on a large towel. Place another large towel on top of the pants. Roll the pants in the towels to remove any remaining water droplets. Repeat this process until the pants are nearly dry.

5. Wool

5 Place the pants flat on a large, mesh drying rack. Lay the pants and the rack on a large, dry towel. Pat the pants to shape and let them dry flat on the large clothing screen. Place the items in a cool and well-ventilated area to dry overnight. Press away any wrinkles with a warm iron.

6. Cashmere

1 Fill a basin with lukewarm water and a teaspoon of baby shampoo, dish-washing liquid or a liquid cashmere wash. Combine the detergent and water in the basin with your hands.

7. Cashmere

2 Place the cashmere pants into the water. Swish the pants around in the water, and gently squeeze the soapy water through the fabric. Do not twist or wring the pants. Let the pants soak for 30 minutes.

8. Cashmere

3 Lift the pants from the basin and drain the water. Rinse the pants under a stream of cold water until the water runs clear. Gently squeeze the pants over the basin to remove any excess water.

9. Cashmere

4 Transfer the pants to a clean towel on a flat surface. Place another large towel over the cashmere pants. Roll the pants in the towel to remove any remaining water.

10. Cashmere

5 Reshape and lay the pants flat on a drying rack. Place the mesh screen on a large towel to dry in a well-ventilated area. Run a handheld steamer over the cashmere pants to remove any wrinkles.

Items you will need

  • Medium-sized basin
  • Mild liquid detergent
  • Baby shampoo
  • Cashmere wash
  • Large towels
  • Large mesh drying rack or screen
  • Warm iron
  • Hand steamer
  • Cotton ball
  • Vinegar or lemon juice


  • If you have stubborn spots or stains on your wool or cashmere pants, spot clean with vinegar or lemon juice. Dab the liquids on the stains with a cotton ball before hand washing. To make sure the vinegar and lemon juice does not stain, fade or ruin the fabrics, test these natural cleansers in an inconspicuous place on the garment for colorfastness.
  • Wool and cashmere fibers shrink easily. Do not place these materials in a clothing dryer to dry quickly.


  • Read the manufacturer’s garment care labels before hand washing. If the label says dry clean only, do not attempt to wash your wool pants by hand.
  • Do not dry clean your cashmere pants. The harsh chemicals in the dry cleaning solution may damage the fragile fibers permanently.

About the Author

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