As the founder of Clothes Doctor, you can bet that I have a bit of a weakness for beautiful fabrics, and one of my favourite fabrics, by far, is cashmere, especially the gorgeous items from the new Olivia Von Halle cashmere range.
Cashmere has to be the most soft and luxurious of fabrics, and wearing it always makes me feel indulged, with the delicate fibres so smooth against my skin. Another reason I love cashmere is that it’s hypoallergenic and antibacterial, and even better, it’s an environmentally friendly material, being completely organic and biodegradable.
These latter considerations in particular mean that there is a special way to care for cashmere, which is very different to how you would care for other, manmade fibres. So, in collaboration with Olivia Von Halle, I am going to share with you my cashmere care routine, and explain why each step is important for keeping your cashmere garments soft, free from damage, and feeling gorgeous.
Choose the right detergent. The best cashmere wash should use a pH neutral formula. Most detergents are alkaline as that helps to remove grease and dirt, but alkalinity can damage natural fibres like cashmere, so a lower pH level is best. Our Eco Wash for Cashmere has a pH level of 7-8, which is the perfect level for gentle cleaning of natural fibres. Crafted with our proprietary formula and delicately fragranced with Himalayan Cedarwood and Orange Oil, this will leave your knitwear refreshed and nourished. Even better, the essential oils in the formula provide a natural moth deterrent.
And the right technique. I cannot stress enough, hand wash, hand wash, hand wash! This will give you complete control of the cleaning process. If your garment is free from stains and marks, then follow these steps:
2) Turn the garment inside out and gently submerge it, agitating the water with your hands to distribute the soap. Be careful not to pull and stretch the fabric at this stage, as this may misshape your garment. Soak for up to 30 minutes.
3) Rinse with cool, fresh water and then gently press between your hands to remove water.
4) Absorb excess water with a towel and leave to dry flat, as hanging will stretch the fibres of the garment.
I try to wash my cashmere items as little as possible, and between washes I refresh them with my handheld steamer. To do this I simply pop them on a hanger and pass the steamer from top to bottom, focusing on any areas that might smell a bit musty. Steaming removes 96% of bacteria, removing smells and causing the fibres to look fuller, fresher and more colourful, so it’s a great revival technique! It is also suitable to use on cashmere items that are better not being submerged in water – for example, tailored or embellished items.
Always remember to fold your cashmere, and store flat in a cupboard or drawer, rather than storing on a hanger. This is because prolonged time on a hanger will cause the fibres around the neck and shoulders of the garment to stretch and warp.
Because cashmere is a natural fibre, and therefore contains proteins, it’s a feast for moths if given a chance. The products mentioned earlier will provide natural moth defence, but in addition, these following steps are well worth it too:
Put your cashmere items in an airtight bag and put them in your freezer for a weekend, every 3 months. This will kill any moth larvae that might have taken up residence, before they can cause damage.
Keep your cashmere garments stored in airtight bags with one of our Natural Fragrance Bags, for added protection. These gorgeous little bags are packed with a special blend of dried herbs and flowers that are renowned for their moth repellent qualities – including lavender, sandalwood, patchouli, lemongrass and more. They are brilliant dotted around your wardrobe, hung on hangers and popped into your drawers of knitwear. We have them available on subscription too.
- Also consider this – moths prefer dark quiet spaces, for that very special garment, see if you can find a place to store it outside your wardrobe, or go for an open-fronted wardrobe that is less appealing to moths!
So, I hope you find these steps helpful to prolong the life and looks of your cashmere garments, as well as to help bring a little slice of luxury to your laundry routine. Your cashmeres will stay lustrous and soft, and smelling divine - plus you’ll retain the beautiful colours and textures of your favourite Olivia Von Halle items.
Now your cashmere is looking great, it's time to perfect the rest of your laundry routine - shop our full range today!