Cashmere is a luxury fibre. It is fine, lightweight, yet extraordinarily warm and cozy. This accounts for its high price, as well as a great precaution which is to be taken while washing or storing it. Luxury items made from Cashmere have to be cared about in order to extend their life. After all, they beautify you in ways that you could never have imagined.
Cashmere is a lifetime investment. It comes from the luxury fleece of the Changthangi goat and is manually processed to land in your wardrobes. The tough path it traverses in between makes it highly luxurious, exclusive, rare, and hence pricey. Hence, great care is to be taken while dealing with it.
Does Cashmere Shrink?
At times, if you tend to wash your Cashmere irresponsibly, your precious wrap may shrink or get disfigured. It usually happens when you either wash it in hot water, or maybe use dryers to dry it, or any other mistake that you never knew would cost you a lot. But before you throw the Cashmere out of your wardrobe, or donate it to a thrift store, there might be a chance of saving it. The following pro tips we are going to share with you work best on shrunk natural fibres. Synthetic fibre does not respond to these techniques, and if by chance synthetics shrink, it is nearly impossible for them to return back to their original position.
Here is a guide that tells you the reasons why your Cashmere might have shrunk and how you can restore it to its original form.
Also read: How to wash Cashmere at home?
What makes Cashmere shrink?
Cashmere is considered the ultimate luxury. Handcrafted for months together out of rare goat wool, Cashmere is up to 8 times warmer than sheep wool, yet extremely lightweight. With such a high-end product in your hand, you have got to be extra careful in order to deal with it. Proper washing, drying, and storing should be a child’s play for you if you own a piece.
- Cashmere is delicate. So the first reason that it can shrink is washing it in hot water. Similar to all wool fabrics, Cashmere too is inherently sensitive to high-heat and moisture.
- Did you wash your wrap in a washing machine? If you haven't set the temperature of the washing machine to cold, and not set it to a “hand wash” setting, then you have done a blunder. It will definitely shrink.
- Ironing your Cashmere wraps directly can also be a reason they shrink. If you directly iron a semi wet Cashmere wrap, there are high chances of it either shrinking or pilling.
- The worst method to dry it is to use dryers. If at all you have used a dryer to dry your shawl or wrap, then be ready to look for methods to unshrink it.
- Did you use a harsh detergent to wash your Cashmere? That was a disaster. It is delicate, and for this reason, markets are filled with Cashmere shampoos. If you are short of one, use a baby shampoo or conditioner instead. Avoid detergents that you use for normal laundry.
Can you save a shrunken wrap?
Well, the good news is, yes. You can unshrink your Cashmere. But there is again a condition. If your Cashmere has been damaged to a level that it is felted, then the reversal is not possible. Again, check if the shrunk Cashmere has any stretch left. If there is, then celebrate, as it can be stretched and unshrunk again.
How to Unshrink Cashmere?
To save your precious shawl or wrap, you need several household items: a large tub, mild shampoo or fabric softener, weights, or clothespins which can hold the Cashmere tightly.
- Fill the large tub with lukewarm water
- Pour in the fabric softener or the baby shampoo or any of the alternatives you are using.
- Soak the wrap or sweater into this mixture for two hours till it becomes stretchy.
- After 2 hours, take the wrap or sweater out and do not rinse it yet.
- Squeeze all the extra water out, without wringing the product.
- Lay the wrap on a flat surface and stretch the edges as long as it comes to its original size.
- Place weights on them or pin the edges with the surface underneath to keep the wrap in a stretched position.
- Leave it like this for an hour to start with, and check if it has regained its original state. If not, leave it again for as long as it gains its actual size.
- As soon as the wrap or sweater retains its original size, rinse it with cold water, and lay out flat on a towel.
- Roll the towel to squeeze and absorb the extra amount of water.
- Unroll the wet towel now, and replace it with a dry towel.
- Place the wrap/shawl flat on the dry towel and let it rest there till it air dries.
As soon as it is completely dry, your precious piece will have regained its actual state.
Precautions to be taken in future
Always handwash Cashmere. Fill a tub with lukewarm water and Cashmere shampoo. Soak your Cashmere in it for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, squeeze the water out and rinse it with cold water.
If washing in a washing machine, make sure to use the cold water setting, and handwash from the settings. Quickly take your Cashmere out of it as soon as the wash cycle ends.
Do not put your Cashmere in dryers. It is best to let your Cashmere air dry naturally. Do not hang your wraps as they may become deformed. Do not dry them in direct sunlight.
Store your Cashmere in a tissue paper bag, and not in plastic bags. Plastic tends to attract mixture which can be detrimental for these precious products. Place the wrapped Cashmere on a clean, dry shelf in your wardrobe. Place mothballs around the area if needed.
Wash the Cashmere wrap/shawl once every season. Too much washing too can prove inimical to this luxury product.
With the proper care and concern, you can again make your Cashmere products as fresh as new.
Also read: Is it worth buying Cashmere?