Did your cashmere shrink and what to do about it
No matter how careful we are, sometimes mistakes happen. Maybe you washed your cashmere scarf, dried it, and now realised that it’s smaller. Such a situation can definitely give us a scare. But there’s no need to panic! In this article on cashmere care, we’ll tell you everything you need to know when it comes to shrinking and unshrinking cashmere.
There is one obvious question we need to get out of the way. Does cashmere shrink?
Yes. Cashmere can shrink due to a certain factor. Heat. If you have read our previous article on washing cashmere, you probably remember that we emphasised the use of lukewarm water when washing cashmere. That’s because hot water can shrink your cashmere. And in the article about drying cashmere, we discouraged the use of dryers for the same reason. Even in the article about storing cashmere, we said to not expose cashmere to direct sunlight.
As you can tell, we really don’t want you to expose your cashmere to heat. But, as we said, mistakes happen. So, now that you know what makes cashmere shrink, let’s discuss how to fix it.
How to unshrink cashmere?
Now that your cashmere has shrunk, what do you do? Fortunately, there is a way to unshrink cashmere. And we’re going to tell you how to unshrink cashmere clothes the easiest way. Let’s get right to it.
Unshrinking cashmere – step by step
- The first step is to hand wash your cashmere. We have already written down the method in this article. But, this time wash it for about 10 minutes and use cold water.
- Remove any excess water as you normally would.
- Lay the cashmere garment on a flat surface.
- Now for the most important step. You need to be really careful here, as you could accidentally tear your clothes. You need to gently pull and stretch the fabric. Try to stretch large areas in one go. Going for small sections can misshape cashmere in a weird way. Also, stretch the fabric in small increments. Gently pull for a short moment, allow the fabric to rest and relax, and then pull again.
- Take your time, patience is key here. It’s much better for your cashmere if you stretch longer, while still remaining careful.
- After you stretch it to the size you want, leave it to fully dry. We have explained the nuances of drying cashmere in our article on how to dry cashmere.
- Congratulations! You have successfully unshrunk your cashmere.
We also have a great tip for you. Getting the cashmere to a very specific size can be problematic. After all, we have to eyeball the process, and that’s not a really reliable method. So instead of eyeballing, we suggest you grab a piece of clothing that’s roughly the desired size and shape. Lay it on top of some parchment paper, and trace the outline. It’s really going to help you reach the desired size when going through the unshrinking process.
And that’s how you unshrink cashmere. But what if you want to shrink it?
How to shrink cashmere
It may sound counterintuitive at first, but there are situations in which you’d want to shrink cashmere. Maybe you received a cashmere sweater as a gift, but it’s too large? Or maybe you lost a couple of pounds and now your whole wardrobe doesn’t fit you properly? Fortunately, that doesn’t mean you need to sell your cashmere clothes or throw them away. Here is how to shrink cashmere safely and on purpose.
Allow us to sound like a broken record for a moment. Heat is the reason cashmere shrinks. So, to shrink cashmere, we need to leverage it. Here’s how.
Shrinking cashmere – step by step
- And again, it comes down to washing. Repeat the cashmere hand wash process from our article, but use warm water instead of lukewarm. Be careful with the water temperature though. It’s better for you to shrink your cashmere incrementally, in a couple of tries, than to over-shrink it and turn your sweater into a kid-sized one.
- Push the excess water out, lay it down, and let rest for a couple of hours.
- Try it on after about 4-6 hours. If you see that you need to shrink it a bit more, rinse it with hot water. Then, lay down for 4-6 hours again. Repeat this step until you’re satisfied with the amount of shrinkage.
- Let your cashmere dry properly.
Fortunately, there are not a lot of steps here. Keep in mind that you can’t really predict how much your garment will shrink. Lower-quality cashmere fibers are less heat-resistant than high-quality ones. The age of your cashmere piece also comes into the equation. So be careful and exercise patience.
There are still some questions that we want to answer when it comes to unintentional shrinkage. So, here we go.
Will cashmere shrink when washed?
Not if you wash it properly. Cashmere is a very grateful material. If you take care of it and treat it the right way, it will serve you for many years without issues. Remember, DO NOT wash your cashmere in hot water. If you do that, it will cause shrinkage.
Does cashmere shrink when dry cleaned?
Yes, it might. Although the dry cleaning process doesn’t use water, heat is used to dry the clothing. In the long term, you’re practically guaranteed to notice some shrinkage of your garments.
Does cashmere shrink in the dryer?
Yes, it might. Again, a high temperature is used for drying. This means that using a dryer is also an option if you want to shrink cashmere on purpose. However, it’s much riskier. You can easily over-shrink cashmere and damage the fibres. As such we do not recommend you shrink cashmere in a dryer.
And that’s pretty much everything you need to know in regards to shrinking and unshrinking cashmere. Remember, it’s better to avoid accidental shrinkage at all than to have to unshrink cashmere. So, provided you’re not shrinking your cashmere on purpose, exercise proper cashmere care. Both you and your cashmere will be much happier.