The Complete Guide to Caring for Your Cashmere
A special garment requires a special level of care. With just a small amount of TLC, you can keep your fine N.Peal cashmere looking and feeling as wonderfully luxurious as the day you first bought it, and enjoy owning and wearing your garments for many years to come.
In our guide to caring for cashmere knitwear, we'll explain how to maintain, clean, and store your special cashmere garments so that they remain in their best and most beautiful condition.
Everyday care for your cashmere
How to prevent and remove pilling
With every new cashmere garment you should expect a very small amount of cashmere 'pilling' to occur, due to the friction of everyday wear against the loose fibres on the knitwear's surface. This is not an indicator of the quality of your knitwear, but it is simply part of the unique character of cashmere, and pilling can be kept to a minimum by gently washing your garment to remove the loose fibres.
Should 'pills' still occur, they can be very easily removed with the use of a special cashmere comb. To comb your cashmere, lay your garment flat and gently and lightly brush the comb over the surface, wherever you see pills forming. Pay special attention to areas of your garment that are most susceptible to friction, such as the elbows, underarms, and shoulders.
Even if there is no visible pilling on your knitwear, you should still comb it regularly to remove any loose fibres that may soon lead to pills forming. We also suggest avoiding wearing your cashmere against clothing with a rough texture, with sharp metal necklaces, bracelets or belts, or with rough leather bags, as these can cause your garment to pill or become snagged.
Ironing or steaming cashmere garments
Should your knitwear become creased, it can be pressed by turning inside-out using an iron on its lowest setting, and by placing a clean, damp cloth in between the garment and your iron. Always keep the iron moving over the garment, but do not allow the iron to come into direct contact with the cashmere. You can also safely remove creases from cashmere garments with a hand-held steamer. If you have access to a steamer, this is the method that we would recommend.
Cleaning your cashmere
How to wash cashmere by hand
The good news is that N.Peal cashmere knitwear does not need to be washed regularly to keep it in fabulous condition. However, as even small traces of dirt can make clothes moths attracted to your cashmere garments, you should try to keep them as clean as possible.
If there are no visible stains on the garment, the best way to wash cashmere is by hand with a specialist cashmere wash. You can use another mild detergent, or even a few drops of baby shampoo if that is all you have to hand, but a genuine cashmere wash will give you the best result. You can hand-wash your knitwear in a sink or bowl, but we recommend thoroughly cleaning and rinsing it first to ensure there are no food particles or remnants of other cleaning products that may be harmful to your delicate cashmere garment.
A handy tip from Neville Carter, Manager of N.Peal Burlington Arcade store:
"The key to cashmere care is the amount of detergent that you use, and not washing your cashmere too often. Just a small amount of soap is all you need."
Fill up the bowl or sink with lukewarm water, as hot water could cause a cashmere garment to shrink. Add a single capful of the cashmere washing liquid, swirl the water to distribute, and allow your garment to soak in the water for a few minutes whilst gently squeezing it to run the detergent through the fibres. You should never rub, twist or wring your knitwear as this can cause misshaping, or even damage.
Follow by rinsing the garment thoroughly with water that is the same temperature as that which you used for washing.
Drying your cashmere after washing
To remove excess water from cashmere knitwear after washing, lay it flat on a clean towel, then roll it up loosely end-to-end and lightly press along the roll. Unroll the towel and re-shape the garment if necessary, then leave it to air-dry flat on a mesh knitwear drying rack away from sunlight, radiators, or other sources of heat. You should not hang cashmere knitwear on a clothes hanger to allow it to dry, as the weight of the water will cause the garment to stretch and become misshapen. It is also not safe to dry cashmere in a tumble dryer, as this can cause the cashmere to shrink or become misshapen and damaged.
Can I machine wash cashmere?
At N.Peal, we do not recommend machine washing cashmere garments as it cannot be guaranteed that your knitwear will enjoy the same longevity of quality. However, it is possible to do so, and you can wash your garments in the washing machine as long as your machine has a delicate, wool, or hand wash cycle with a temperature of no more than 30°C. Add a small quantity of wool washing detergent to the drawer before washing. To protect your cashmere knitwear during the wash, turn it inside-out and place it inside a laundry bag. Only spin dry your knitwear on a short or very low spin cycle; alternatively remove your garment before the spin cycle, and remove excess water and dry in the same way as when hand washing.
When to dry clean your cashmere knitwear
Hand washing cashmere garments is suitable for the more regular washes to keep your knitwear at its very best, but if there are any stains on your garment, we recommend that you take it to a specialist to be dry cleaned. It is also advised that you dry clean your cashmere if it is a woven garment, such as a pashmina; if it is a loose-knit pattern, which could be disturbed by hand-washing; or if it has details such as leather buttons or suede panels. An added benefit of dry cleaning your cashmere is that clothes moths are strongly adverse to the scent of the products used for dry cleaning. Therefore if you are cleaning your knitwear before placing it into storage, such as over the winter, you may wish to have it dry cleaned beforehand.
How to store cashmere knitwear safely
Storing your cashmere between wears
When you are wearing your cashmere garments regularly, it is preferable to store them between wears by folding them carefully and placing in a clean drawer or on a shelf.
If you'd prefer to hang your knitwear, choose the style of coat hangers that are rounded off towards the ends, like a half-moon shape, to prevent the hanger from stretching and misshaping the shoulders and sleeves on the garment. However in general, it is better to fold your knitwear if you can.
To keep your cashmere knitwear garments fresh and deter moths and mildew, store them with cedar wood balls, a natural alternative to mothballs or anti-moth paper. The balls should be replaced at least once every year.
Storing your cashmere for a longer period of time
Over the warmer months when you may not be wearing your cashmere knitwear, it is a wise idea to place your garments into a more long-term storage until you are ready to wear them once again.
Before doing so, your cashmere garments should be thoroughly cleaned to prevent attraction by clothes moths. As explained above, in the section 'When to dry clean your cashmere garments', dry cleaning is best in this instance as it is particularly effective in deterring moths.
Choose a clean place for your cashmere storage that is free from damp and away from sunlight, for example a drawer, shelf, or on top of a wardrobe. Store your knitwear only in a breathable, zip-up plastic bag, along with a couple of cedar wood balls to help keep them fresh.
Changes in the ambient temperature over the months can cause condensation inside the plastic storage bags, so we strongly suggest that you do not keep your cashmere garments inside the bags for more than three months.
Let us care for your cashmere for you
If you are in any way unsure about how to care for your N.Peal cashmere knitwear, or do not feel confident cleaning it yourself, you are invited to bring your garments to any of our N.Peal London stores where we will be pleased to take care of the cleaning for you. If you are unable to visit our stores in person, please do give us a call; we will be able to offer advice over the phone or make arrangements for your cashmere garments to be safely cleaned.
Should your N.Peal cashmere garment be in need of repair, we can also arrange this for you to give you peace of mind that your treasured knitwear is in safe hands.