The dryer is an easy and efficient way to get clothes dry in no time. But it isn’t a one size fits all solution for garments. While some fibers can endure its torrid perimeters, others simply cannot.
Cashmere, for example, doesn’t fare well in the dryer. It will shrink and distort because of the heat and tumbling. The best way to dry cashmere is flat on a clothes rack or a clean towel. And make sure to put them back into shape before they dry out to avoid a distorted garment.
If you’d be giving your cashmere such VIP treatment, you better make sure you’re cleaning it well in the first place.
Below, you’ll learn how to properly clean cashmere as well as the right technique on how to dry it.
What is wrong with putting cashmere in the dryer?
It wouldn’t be a bad idea to put cashmere in the dryer except the following two problems exist. Heat and Agitation.
These are the worst things that can ever happen to any cashmere product. When you have heat plus agitation, like in the dryer, your cashmere will shrink and look funny!
This is the sole reason why cashmere is always advised to be air dried (flat) in a shaded area (away from sunlight because too much of it causes yellowing, pilling, and weakening of fibers).
The reason why you dry cashmere flat is because it will lose shape in the washer, and drying it in that crumbled manner means it’ll fix to that position until the next wash.
What is the best way to dry cashmere
As far as the best way to dry cashmere is concerned, it’s air drying. Reshape the cashmere coming out of the washer or rinse water (if washing by hand) to prevent it from drying in a distorted form. Then take the cashmere outside in a shaded area (meaning away from sunlight) and dry it flat, on a clothesline or on a dry clean towel.
Avoid drying cashmere by hanging as its new weight with water will set the garment to a new shape.
If you use the washing machine to clean your cashmere, make sure it’s spun gently to prevent fuzzing, pilling and distortion. Spinning in this way will remove a lot of water from the cashmere and facilitate its drying process outside.
Can you iron cashmere?
It is possible to iron cashmere, but the best way to release wrinkles on cashmere is to steam it instead. Steaming is less detrimental than ironing to fibers, and therefore the chances of burning, creating shiny marks or scorching the fibers is minimal.
Steaming cashmere is pretty easy. Hang the cloth from a clothes rack, a hook, or shower curtain rod to gain a wider and better access to every spot on the fabric.
Hanging the cashmere from a rod or spot would also help release wrinkles faster as the new weight of the cloth helps stretch out the wrinkles and any rumples that have formed.
Next, prepare your steamer appropriately, as per manufacturer instructions, then begin steaming, making sure to avoid touching the nozzle of the steamer directly on the surface of the fabric, as that can serve the same effect as using a pressing iron directly on cashmere. Go through the entire fabric in this manner to release wrinkles and unrumple the fabric.
When you’re done, place a standing fan close to the hung cloth to facilitate drying. If you don’t have one, take it to a ventilated space instead.
If you choose to iron cashmere, then there are key things to note.
- Make sure there is a thin white pressing cloth between the pressing ion and the cashmere to prevent the development of shiny marks (caused by fusing of the fibers), scorching and even complete burning of the fibers. Move the pressing cloth as you progress to new areas of the fabric, and do not let the pressing iron sit for longer than 10 seconds on a specific spot, even with the pressing cloth in between.
- Make sure to also use the wool settings on your pressing iron or a temperature no more than 300°F if your iron doesn’t have one. That translates to a medium temperature.
If you have a steam iron, then things get even better. You can use the steam function to release moisture into the pressing cloth, which then transfers the moisture down to the cashmere underneath which would help further reduce the effects of dry ironing like development of shiny spots and burning. It would also help release wrinkles easier.
How do you even wash cashmere?
It’s good to know how to dry cashmere, but the important question to ask is whether you’re even washing the fabric properly in the first place?
Below are instructions on how to properly wash cashmere to preserve its integrity.
Wash cashmere if the fabric care label says so
When it comes to fabrics, the first and the most important thing is the care label. They give out written or symbolic instructions on how best to properly care for your fabric and you do not want to miss out on that because you can end up damaging the fabric with your own experiments or DIYS.
So always check the care label of your cashmere and ensure it gives the go ahead to wash at home. If you find “dry clean only” or “do not machine or hand wash”, then avoid putting that cashmere in the washer or cleaning it by hand, as there are many things that could go wrong when you do so, for example the finishing, the shape and even the structure of the fabric can be affected.
From time to time, you’ll pick up stains on your cashmere. The best way to deal with stains on sensitive fabrics like cashmere is immediately as they form, because that is when they are much easier to get rid of as opposed to when they sit deep into the fabric.
Treat stains on cashmere by creating a solution of cashmere special cleaner or stain remover (there are many of them in the market nowadays) and water in a bucket, and soak the clothes in there for no longer than 20 minutes. If you do not have a special cleaner, then use a cashmere shampoo or baby shampoo or even a mild liquid detergent. Make sure the water is cold, very cold is okay too so long there isn’t ice in it.
After soaking, take the stained spot of the fabric and dab GENTLY with a cotton ball moistened with sudsy water. You can also use a soft cloth for the purpose, but make sure to be as gentle as possible because too much pressure would result in fuzziness around the stain area, and even damage to the fibers.
After that, swish the cashmere in the solution to release the stain, and then roll it up into a ball and press against the side of the bucket to remove excess moisture. Replenish the water with a new one and rinse the cashmere in it. Repeat the rinsing until suds no longer come out from the cloth.
Launder the cashmere in the washer, and the stain should be gone. If not, let the cloth dry and then take it to a dry cleaner or a fabric stain remover.
They are well trained and have the necessary tools and equipment to be able to gently tackle stains that form on your clothes no matter how delicate they are.
Put cashmere in a mesh or lingerie bag
When washing cashmere in the washing machine, it’s best to put it in a mesh bag or a lingerie bag (if the cashmere is small) to protect the fibers from getting squashed in the washer. Squashing is what makes fibers develop a fuzzy look, distort and even break.
Wash together with other cashmere
Wash cashmere with other cashmere, wool or other products with a similar wash setting. A bunch of cashmere’s washing together will greatly minimize the effects that agitation has on a single cloth.
The clothes rub more against each other than with the sides of the machine which will help protect their integrity.
Use a wool or cashmere friendly detergent and cold water for the laundry.
Putting cashmere in the dryer is highly not recommended. The reason is because of the heat and agitation in the dryer which can cause the fibers to break and even shrink.
When you wash cashmere either by hand or by machine, the best way to dry it is by airing. Get a clean dry towel and place the cashmere on it to dry. You can also use a clothes rack.
Make sure to always shape back the fabric after washing to set it in the right shape to dry.