The ultimate guide on how to wash cashmere

Table of contents

  1. General rules
  2. How to hand wash cashmere
  3. How to wash cashmere in a washing machine
  4. How to spot clean cashmere
  5. When to dry clean cashmere
  6. How often should you wash cashmere

Whether you’re buying your first cashmere scarf, or already have a whole selection of cashmere clothes, there comes a time you ask yourself “how to clean cashmere?”, or “can cashmere be washed?” Such a luxurious material is definitely hard to take care of, right? Wrong! It may not be as easy as throwing a 100% polyester shirt into a washing machine and calling it a day, but it’s not rocket science either.

This ultimate guide will teach you all about how to wash cashmere and not destroy it.

You’ll learn the best techniques for cleaning cashmere gently and effectively.

General rules when washing cashmere regardless of the method

Cashmere is not just any material. It’s special. It feels special. And it requires special care. Although the different methods explained later in the article will delve into more details, there are some rules that always apply when caring for cashmere.

Always use lukewarm water. Cashmere fibres get easily damaged in warm and cold water. Also keep in mind that when wet, cashmere is more susceptible to damage.

Don’t use soap or any regular detergent that’s not for cashmere use. You don’t want to leave soap grime in the fibres or wash away the colours, do you? And that’s not even mentioning the fibre damage a bad detergent could cause. So what is a good detergent then? We have a great in-depth review on cashmere detergents already on our website, we recommend you check it out.

Always check the product label. If you decide to machine wash cashmere when the label says to never do that. That’s on you.

Now, with these do’s and don’t out of the way, let’s read up on the specific cleaning methods, and find out which one you should use to clean cashmere.

How to hand wash cashmere?

In our modern age, we often think of washing machines as the default go-to option. So the question arises,

Can cashmere be hand washed? And should you be hand washing cashmere?

The answer to both these questions is a very loud


It is in fact the best and safest way to clean cashmere garments.

Hand washing cashmere bears the best results. You have full control over the strength you apply, water temperature, the amount of detergent you use, and all other important factors. This way, you can wash cashmere on your own with the care it deserves. This form of cashmere cleaning minimizes the damage that delicate natural fibre sustains during each wash. And on top of that, taking the time to hand wash your cashmere creates a strong bond between you and your clothing.

The only one is the time investment needed. Hand washing takes time, especially when we can’t just scrub all the dirt away with force. But since cashmere doesn’t need to be cleaned often, that’s not a hurdle you can’t jump over. Now, let’s take a look at how to hand wash cashmere, shall we?

Washing cashmere by hand – A step-by-step guide

Prepare: a basin, cashmere detergent

Step #1: Fill the basin with lukewarm water and add cashmere detergent

Cashmere doesn’t like extreme temperatures so avoid hot or cold water. Add the cashmere detergent of your choice. Remember to check the label on the detergent to determine the amount needed, but one tablespoon should usually be enough.

Step #2: Gently wash for a minute then soak for 15 minutes

Submerge your cashmere and keep gently squeezing it for about one minute. Then, let it soak for approximately 15 more minutes.

Step #3: Rinse the garment, don’t wring the water out

Take the garment out, rinse it, and gently press the water out of it. Remember to be careful, as wet cashmere fibres are much weaker compared to when dry. Do not rinse under running water because it can misshape the fabric. Instead, pour out the soapy water off the basin and fill it with clean lukewarm water. Repeat this step a couple of times. When no soapy water is coming out of your clothes when you press, that’s the sign you can stop.

Step #4: Dry it flat and avoid direct sunlight or heat

Next up is drying. In short, lay your cashmere on a flat surface and let it dry naturally, but please avoid drying under direct sunlight. There are more things to consider when drying cashmere in fact, If you want to learn more, we encourage you to read here about cashmere drying and ironing.

Let it dry fully and you’re good to go. Now you can keep wearing it, or store your cashmere with cedar wood discs to protect it from moths.

How to wash cashmere in the washing machine?

But the world doesn’t always give us free time to spend hand washing cashmere. What if you have a very busy day? You’re out of time, still doing housework when you should be going to an important meeting. And then out of nowhere, a nasty stain on your scarf! You don’t even know when it got there, but you can’t take that scarf with you now. And what’s worse, leaving the stain on your cashmere for too long would be really bad. You also don’t have time to clean it by hand. So what can you do?

So you think to yourself.

Can you wash cashmere in a washing machine?

You hop on the internet and find the answer.

Yes! But it comes with its own set of problems.

Washing machines can be a real timesaver, but the problem with machine washing cashmere is the lack of control over the process. When you clean cashmere in a washing machine you need to accept the risks of heavily damaging this precious material. But there are steps you can take to machine wash cashmere in a safer way.

Cashmere machine wash – A step-by-step guide

Prepare: cashmere detergent, a mesh bag for laundry

Step #1: Use a separate mesh bag per item

In order to protect the garment, put your cashmere piece inside a mesh bag. In case you’re washing more than just one, give each a separate bag.

Step #2: Use the most delicate wash cycle

Put the bags with cashmere in the washing machine and set it to a hand/wool setting. In case you don’t have a dedicated hand/wool option, choose 30°C/86°F and 600 spin cycle as your setting.

Step #3: Add cashmere detergent

Add the cashmere detergent. Use the amount specified on the bottle label. Here are some cashmere detergent recommendations.

Step #4: Dry cashmere flat and avoid direct sunlight or heat

After the wash is finished, take your cashmere out and let it dry properly. Remember to not throw cashmere inside a dryer, as heat will definitely cause significant damage causing it to felt and shrink. Unless that’s your intention, if that’s the case we found a cool article about how to felt cashmere here.

Step #5: Store it safely to prolong its lifespan.

After it dries, stores your cashmere properly. Here is a handy guide on how to store cashmere.

How to spot clean cashmere?

How many times have you gotten your clothes dirty by not paying attention? The answer is usually more than we want to admit. But usually, it’s not a huge stain. Maybe you got some soup on your sleeve or dunked one end of your cashmere scarf in a cup of coffee. Do you really need to give the entire cashmere piece a wash?

Fortunately, no. You can just spot clean cashmere to save time and still get rid of that annoying stain. So, how can you spot clean cashmere?

It’s a simple process and takes less time than hand washing. Spot cleaning cashmere is in a way similar to a hand wash. The basic rules of water temperature and not using force still apply. Let’s take a look at the specifics of how to get stains out of cashmere

Cashmere spot cleaning: a step-by-step guide

Prepare A piece of cloth, cashmere detergent, stain remover, and a basin

Step 1: You should know what caused the staining, to then clean it properly. Take a while to determine if the stain is grease, juice, or something like whipped cream.

Step 2: Remove any blots or solid substances with a cloth. Gently scoop them out. And remember not to press on the cloth. You’re trying to get the substance out, not push it further in.

Step 3: Apply the stain remover onto the surface, but don’t leave it there for too long or rub it into the fabric because it may create a hole in the cashmere. Wash it with lukewarm water. Depending on what caused the staining you need to approach it differently.

If the stain is greasy products like makeup or oil, apply some baking soda to absorb the grease and leave it for 15-20minutes and then shake it off. If there is still some staining left after this whole operation, you have to use the previously described hand washing method to tackle the rest.

If the stain is caused by something tannins like coffee, tea, wine, or juice you can mix some cashmere detergent with water. Then soak the stain, and keep applying the mixture while gently massaging the garment. If the stain refuses to come off, then you need to apply the hand washing method for cashmere.

Step 4: Let it dry. If the staining remains, consider giving your cashmere another wash, but remember to not overdo it. If the staining is gone, you can now store or wear your cashmere with a happy face!

When to dry clean cashmere?

Sometimes mistakes happen and they can cause a real mess. Some stains are just too much for hand washing or putting clothes into a washing machine. What do you do then? Maybe take them to the dry cleaner? After all, that’s what you do with heavily stained garments, right? But is it safe to dry clean cashmere? Let’s discuss.

Drastic times call for drastic measures. If your cashmere got stained with something you can’t wash at home, it’s time to take it to a professional. But remember that dry cleaning requires the use of chemicals that have the potential to really damage your cashmere.

There are only two ways to reduce the risk that cashmere dry cleaning presents.

Make sure your dry cleaner knows how to handle cashmere, and don’t rely on this method every time your garments need a wash.

Cashmere dry cleaning: answering the most common questions

Can you dry clean cashmere?
Yes, but the method is very rough and can cause permanent damage to the cashmere fibers. You shouldn’t rely on this method though, treat dry cleaning as a last resort solution. If the question was “does cashmere need to be dry cleaned?” the answer would be a no.

Can you hand wash cashmere that says dry clean only?
Also, yes. Think of the label as insurance placed there by the company. They’re telling you to take your garments to a professional. If something happens to your clothes during the dry cleaning process, it’s not the fault of the cashmere producer, but the dry cleaner. Even “dry clean only” cashmere can be hand washed.

Should you dry clean or hand wash cashmere?
As a general rule of thumb, you should wash cashmere without dry cleaning. This way your cashmere will have a much longer lifespan.

Now, with all the cleaning methods discussed, one important question still remains…

How often should you wash cashmere?

With the amount of time you need to spend when cleaning cashmere it’s understandable that you want to do it as little as possible. The good news is, that’s precisely how often you should wash cashmere.

Cashmere is a great material that usually refuses to get dirty. Even when it does, exposing it to air triggers its self-cleaning properties.

Even various nasty smells can swiftly disappear when your cashmere gets a chance to breathe properly. Since each time you wash cashmere the material loses a little bit of its strength, you should leverage the self-cleaning property of cashmere as often as possible.

If you went through an entire season without catching a single stain on your cashmere garments, we still recommend you wash them before storing them for another season. This way you eliminate any lingering odours left on your clothes, as well as make your cashmere less appetizing to moths.