Traditionally spun from the Mongolian-bred Kashmir goats, cashmere sweaters are a hot commodity, a fashion statement and in many cases, labeled “hand-wash only.” A 100-percent, two-ply cashmere sweater is created when two strands of the wool yarn are twisted and spun together, creating a tighter, more durable weave. Hand-washing is not only more economically sensible than dropping off the two-ply cashmere sweater at the dry cleaner, it's also a safe, quick method to maintain and clean your investment.
Lay the sweater on your kitchen table or counter, and perform a thorough “de-pilling”. Pilling is the small balls of loose threads and lint that accumulate on cashmere. Pull off the pilling with your fingers or remove it with a battery-operated sweater shaver or specialized sweater stone. Gently rub the sweater stone over the cashmere to pull off and eliminate the pilling.
Create a mixture of 1 gallon lukewarm water and 1 tablespoon baby shampoo or mild detergent specifically formulated to hand-wash clothing in a plastic basin. Stir the water with your hand to incorporate the shampoo or mild detergent.
Submerge the two-ply cashmere sweater in the water. Move the sweater through the water using circular motions to work the soapy mixture through its fibers. Don't rub the sweater against itself or pull on the cashmere, as this will stretch the sweater out of shape and lead to pilling.
Soak the sweater in the basin for three to five minutes. Pull out the cashmere sweater and immediately transfer it to your kitchen or bathroom sink. Rinse out the sweater under a lukewarm tap until the water runs clear. Once the sweater is free of soap, hold it over the sink and allow the excess water to drip out for a few minutes. Never wring or twist the sweater to avoid damaging or stretching the delicate material.
Lay a towel on a flat surface, such as your kitchen counter or table. Lay the wet sweater flat on top of the towel. Slowly roll the towel and sweater, applying slight pressure are you go. Rolling the sweater inside the towel gently removes excess water.
Unroll the towel and remove the cashmere sweater. Lay the sweater flat on a dry towel and allow it to air dry completely in a cool, dry spot. Store the cashmere sweater in a cotton garment bag to prevent moth damage.