Can you wash cashmere

Can You Wash Cashmere?

Like wool, cashmere can be washed using the wool or delicate program of the washer and using cold water and a wool detergent. Avoid washing cashmere in hot water as it can cause shrinkage and damage to the fibers. 

Below, we have an expounded instruction on how to properly care for your cashmere garments from washing, drying to ironing.

What is cashmere?

Cashmere is the fiber obtained from the fleece of domesticated goats. It is harvested from these animals in springtime when their hairs have reached full maturity and fullness, by either brushing using a fork or shearing with a scissor or clipper.

Brushed cashmere has longer fibers and thus produces better quality products than sheared cashmere. 

The harvested fibers are then cleaned, processed into longer fibers called yarns, dyed and then woven or knitted into garments like sweaters, vest, head warmers and pants. 

How To Clean Cashmere

Cashmere is so much like wool, and thus it can be said that every step in their cleaning methods overlap.

Before washing cashmere, make sure to do the following things.

Check the care label

This is the most important step in cleaning not just cashmere but every other garment. Garments come with a fabric care label attached somewhere on the clothes, typically in the seam of the sides or the neck region. 

Find these labels and go through them. There are symbols and written instructions used there to communicate how best to wash that specific type of fabric. If you’re not following the instructions, there’s a huge likelihood your cashmere will get damaged from your experiments and DIY solutions. 

Find out the percentage of cashmere your product contains

Before washing cashmere, you should do a little assignment of trying to find out how close to the pure cashmere the garment is. This means that you should try and see how much percentage of cashmere is used on the fabric. 

Many products marketed as cashmere only contain a percentage of it, with the rest fulfilled by blends like cotton or wool. These are added to further strengthen cashmere in many departments that makes it unlikeable. 

Knowing the percentage of cashmere you have will give you an idea of how flexible the fabric is. For instance, a fabric made from 70% cotton and 30% cashmere means that it can be treated in some ways like cotton, and putting it in the washer at specific temperatures and conditions can be forgiving most of the time, even if not all. 

As expected, pure cashmere would have a different washing instructions compared to cashmere that is made with blends like cotton. You’ll have to treat it like wool, and if you have a cashmere that is blended with wool, you should also treat it as 100% cashmere!

Treat stains

Before proceeding to clean cashmere at home, you should inspect for stains and treat them. Cashmere picks up stains pretty easily, and it takes a far shorter duration of time for the stains to set in completely compared to when they are picked on synthetic fibers like polyester or viscose, or even on some natural fibers like cotton. 

That’s why tackling stains as they form is a must! No matter the stain you have on cashmere, you can try the technique below to see if it works to get rid of it. 

  1. For fresh stains, rinse under cold water. 
  2. Make a solution of cold water and cashmere safe detergent, then soak the garment in there for as long as 20 minutes. 
  3. Swish and swirl after soaking to remove soiling, then dab the surface of the stain with a much concentrated solution of water and cashmere detergent to see if the stain comes off (it should). 
  4. Rinse with fresh clean water. Launder as per care label or instructed below.
  5. There are also special stain removal products meant for tackling stains on Cashmere. These act to lift up stains and eliminate the need to agitate fibers, thus preventing the creation of a fuzzy look on the cashmere or damage to the fibers.

If the effort above seems futile, or you have a stubborn stain (like a set in stain), it’s best to take the garment to the dry cleaners or professional fabric cleaner to do the job for you. They know how to tackle the everyday stains that your fabric’s pick up without simultaneously causing damage to the fabric fibers.

Machine Wash Cashmere

So you’ve performed the preliminaries of cashmere care and maintenance. Next is to wash the garment in the washing machine or by hand. So let’s see how it’s done in the washer first.

Because cashmere is a very similar fiber to wool, you want to adopt the same washing techniques too. This means that you opt for the wool cycle of your machine and if the option is not there, on the delicate cycle: they offer gentle agitation and spin-speed which makes them suitable for use on cashmere. 

Use cold water also, nothing more than 30°C, and also a wool detergent or a cleaning product meant for use on cashmere. Detergents that are safe to use on cashmere are typically marked with the tagline “delicates” or “safe to use on cashmere“. 

You can even use a non-chlorine bleach on some cashmere products. But please, make sure to confirm from the fabric care label first.

If you have knitted products, put them in a mesh bag to prevent damage caused by excessive agitation in the washer which can cause pilling. 

Additionally, it’s always best to do a batch of cashmere in the washer as opposed to washing only a single cloth. The effects of agitation in the washer is greatly reduced when washing in batches because the clothes rub more on themselves as opposed to the interior of the washer and it’s agitators. 

After you’re done with the cycle, your cashmere should be somewhat damp but not wet. So place it flat on a clothes rack and take your time to stretch out any wrinkles, folds and irregularities on the cloth. 

You can also dry cashmere on a clean towel if you don’t have a clothes rack. It’s important that you do not hang cashmere as the extra weight of water held in the fibers will be pulled by gravity and that will also pull on the fibers and cause the overall cloth to distort.

Washing by hand

Washing cashmere by hand is the most straightforward task ever. When washing by hand, because it’s difficult to provide a consistent type of agitation like in the washer, it’s best to avoid agitating at all and instead rely on soaking to do the job for you. 

So soak clothes for no more than 15 minutes in a solution of cashmere safe detergent and cold or warm water. After soaking, move the cloth in the washer to release soil and roll it up into a ball to remove moisture. 

Throw away the sudsy water and add fresh water into the medium you’re using to clean. Rinse the cashmere by moving it gently into the water and do the same roll up thing again to remove excess moisture.

Lay the cashmere on a clean towel and fold up to remove excess moisture. Afterwards, dry flat on a clothes rack or on a dry clean towel, in a shaded area. Avoid the sunlight. 


When it comes to ironing cashmere, do so using the reverse side and on a pressing table having a thick cloth laid on it. A steam iron is preferred because it reduces the risk of scorching and burning. Set the pressing iron to no more than 300°F and never go above that. 

Make sure to have a pressing cloth in between the cloth and the surface of the iron. And never leave iron in a particular area for longer than 10 seconds. 

If you have a steamer, it’s better. Steam the fabric while it’s hung from a spot, and make sure to avoid touching the head of the steamer with the fabric. 

How To Maintain Cashmere

Forget cleaning, what would keep your cashmere fabric strong and alive is maintenance. So how do you properly maintain cashmere? 

  • Rotate between clothes as often as possible. Avoid wearing the same fabric over and over again. This is because it causes the fibers to wear down, and not just that, it forces frequent washing which deteriorates fabrics faster. 
  • Don’t wash cashmere in hot water. There is actually nothing wrong with putting cashmere fibers in hot water, the problem arises when agitation is applied, as the combination of both causes the fibers to shrink. 
  • Go gentle on cashmere fibers when washing, especially by hand. Scrubbing on a particular area can cause fuzziness and breakage of fibers. And using a hot pressing iron can also cause scorching and shine marks to appear on cashmere.  

Final Thoughts

Cashmere can be washed. But you have to go gentle on the fabric to prevent shrinkage or even damage. The best way to care for cashmere is to machine wash it on a wool program using cold water and a cashmere friendly detergent. If you’re washing by hand, rely more on soaking than agitation which exerts uneven pressure on different spots of the fabric and causes the fabric to change shape.