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How to wash and care for cashmere

When the air gets chilly, there’s nothing quite as cozy as slipping into a luxurious cashmere sweater. Cashmere is soft, lightweight, breathable and insulating, making it perfect for keeping warm. Cashmere can also last longer than many other types of wool with proper care.

Some may feel that it's challenging to maintain, but don’t let that discourage you. Once you know the proper dos and don'ts, washing cashmere at home can be an easy task. Explore how to wash cashmere below to help keep it looking and feeling fabulous.

Can you wash cashmere?

You can absolutely wash cashmere at home with a gentle touch. Just be mindful that cashmere garments are not only incredibly soft but also delicate. To keep your cashmere looking and feeling its best, always check the care label for specific washing instructions. If using a washing machine is recommended, use a mild detergent, select a delicate cycle and wash in cold or lukewarm water.

With select Whirlpool® washers, you can choose a delicate cycle and wash your cashmere items with cold water. These features help ensure a gentle yet effective cleaning process. For flexible fabric care, opt for a Whirlpool® 2 in 1 Removable Agitator Washer. Wash with the agitator for a thorough clean on sturdy fabrics like jeans, or remove it for an extra gentle and thorough clean.

How often should you wash cashmere?

It’s not necessary to wash your cashmere as often as other garments. In fact, washing too frequently may cause the fibers to weaken and lose their softness. Instead, aim to wash cashmere when it becomes soiled or stained.

Select Whirlpool® washers offer Pretreat Stations or Soaking Cycles, providing convenient options for treating stains and ensuring gentle care for your cashmere items.

Swash detergent being poured into Whirlpool washer’s detergent dispenser. Swash detergent being poured into Whirlpool washer’s detergent dispenser.

How to wash cashmere in a washing machine

Washing cashmere in a washing machine might sound intimidating, but it can be done with the right technique. In just a few simple steps, you can learn how to care for your cashmere items. However, be sure to check the care tag on your cashmere garment first to ensure it's safe for machine wash. If it is, follow these simple steps to keep your cashmere soft, comfortable and in great condition.

  • Cashmere-safe laundry detergent

  • White vinegar (for stain removal)

  • Cleaning wipes

  • Mesh laundry bag

  • Shampoo (optional)

  • Sink or basin for handwashing

  • Washing machine (if machine washing)

  • Towels or drying rack

  • Cotton storage box

Remember that the exact supplies and tools needed may vary depending on the specific washing method, instructions on the care tag and personal preferences.

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Step 1: Test a small patch

Before machine washing your cashmere item, it's a good idea to test a small, inconspicuous patch for colorfastness and any reactions to detergent. 


Dab a little bit of water and one drop of mild detergent on an inconspicuous spot, then gently blot the area with a cotton swab or paper towel. If there are no signs of color bleeding or fabric dye transfer, it's generally safe to proceed with machine washing. 


However, always refer to the care tag instructions on your garment to ensure that machine washing is recommended for your specific cashmere item.

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Step 2: Place cashmere item in a mesh laundry bag

Place the cashmere item in a mesh laundry bag to prevent it from getting tangled or stretched out during the washing cycle. This helps prevent the delicate fibers from getting tangled or stretched out. 


Some Whirlpool® washers offer features such as the Delicate Cycle and the Soak Option, specifically designed to help minimize stretching and damage to delicate clothing. 


However, if your washer doesn't have specific cycles or options designed for delicates, using a mesh laundry bag is especially recommended to safeguard your cashmere garment.

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Step 3: Select a gentle cycle and cold water temperature

Choose a gentle cycle from your washer’s settings and cool water temperature to help prevent  the cashmere from shrinking or becoming damaged during the wash.


Select Whirlpool® washers offer various features that can be ideal for delicate items such as cold water wash options and stainless steel wash baskets to help prevent snagging and further protect delicate fabrics.

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Step 4: Add a mild detergent

Add a mild detergent that is specifically designed for wool or cashmere to the washing machine.


You may want to avoid using fabric softener when washing wool or cashmere items. Fabric softeners can leave residue and affect the natural softness of the fabric.

Wash cycle

Step 5: Start the wash cycle

Start the washing machine and allow the cycle to run until it is complete.

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Step 6: Remove the garment from the washing machine

Remove the cashmere garment from the mesh laundry bag and lay it flat on a drying rack or clean towel to air dry. Do not hang the garment to dry as this can cause it to stretch out of shape.

Tips for washing and caring for cashmere

When caring for your cashmere clothing, there are several important points to keep in mind. 

  • Dab and spot treat stains. 

  • Avoid ironing your cashmere. 

  • To avoid lint buildup and pilling, use tools like lint roller before washing. 

  • Avoid hanging your cashmere items and instead store them in cotton bags.

  • Before storing your cashmere during the warm seasons, ensure that the items are clean. This helps prevent any dirt or stains from setting in during storage. If your cashmere items are already clean, no need to rewash them before storing.

Clothes in the washer Clothes in the washer

How do you wash cashmere by hand?

To wash cashmere by hand, prepare a tub, sink or basin by filling it with water that is cool and add a specially-formulated detergent for wool.

Once the detergent has been added, place your sweater in the water, being sure to keep any beiges and whites separate from any colors. Gently move your garment around in the water, making sure it is fully submerged, for about 30 seconds. 

Then, let it soak in the water for up to 30 minutes to allow the fibers to absorb the water and loosen any dirt or grime.

After soaking, rinse the cashmere item with fresh cold water to remove any soap residue. Ensure the water runs clear, indicating that the detergent is completely removed. Drain the used water and continue rinsing with cool, clean water until the cashmere sweater is thoroughly rinsed.

Once rinsed thoroughly, you can gently roll up the cashmere item in a towel to remove excess water. Avoid wringing or twisting the fabric, as this can cause stretching or damage. Then, lay the cashmere sweater flat to dry on a clean, dry surface.

How do you care for cashmere between washes?

To care for cashmere in between washes, use a long-handled boar-bristle cashmere brush to remove lint, fuzz and dust. Store cashmere in a cotton bag to prevent damage from moths. Before washing or storing, turn the item inside out to help prevent damage to the delicate fibers.

Clothes being washed in the washer Clothes being washed in the washer

How do you get stains out of cashmere?

To help remove stains from cashmere, start by identifying the type of stain you are dealing with. For light stains, dab the affected area with a mixture of cool water and mild detergent, then rinse with cool water.

Will cashmere shrink if washed?

Cashmere can shrink if washed in hot water or put in the dryer. It’s important to always check the care tag or label of your cashmere garment before washing to ensure you're following the proper care instructions. To help prevent shrinkage, always wash cashmere in cool water and lay flat to dry.

How do you dry cashmere?

To dry cashmere, gently press out excess water and lay flat to dry on a clean towel. Avoid hanging or using a dryer, which can damage the fibers.

Explore Whirlpool® washers

Whirlpool® washers offer a variety of features to help ensure your delicate clothing items, including cashmere, are cared for properly. From top load washers with a cold wash cycle to front load washers with the Pretreat Stations or Soaking Cycles on select models, you can trust your clothing will be washed with care.

Learn more laundry tips from Whirlpool brand

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