How To Wash Your Cashmere Sweaters

It's officially sweater season and I, for one, am super pumped. Nothing makes me happier than cool temps, big scarves and cozy sweaters. One of my favorite sweater materials is cashmere, but it doesn't come cheap. If you do splurge, you'll need to know how to wash your cashmere sweaters to keep them looking nice for years to come.

Cashmere is one of the most soft and luxurious fabrics known the man, and finding the perfect cashmere sweater is a lifelong goal for some serious shoppers. Cashmere is also notoriously expensive, and you most likely won't spend less than $100 for a quality cashmere sweater. Because that's the case, you'll want to know the best way to care for your cashmere.

Cashmere is a type of wool, which is one of the most difficult fabrics to wash at home. I'm pretty sure my mom is still kicking herself for accidentally shrinking one of her cashmere sweaters when I was little, but hey, at least the upside was that it fit me, her 8-year-old daughter. If you're not careful, you can ruin a sweater by not caring for it properly. It's definitely wise to skip the dry cleaners, because the chemicals they use can break down sweater fibers.

Luckily, there's loads of advice about how to properly hand wash a cashmere sweater out there, starting with this simple video tutorial.

Here's the most important things you need to know about washing cashmere at home.

1. Pick your detergent carefully

Woolite Darks, $9.44,

The video suggests gentle detergent or even baby soap, but Woolite is a classic choice as well. If you're washing a dark sweater, go for the specially formulated Woolite Darks. The normal version has added bleach, according to GQ.

2. Adjust water temperature as you go

The video tutorial suggests doing a bleed test before you add your sweater to the water, and I agree. You want your water to be warm, but not too warm. Hot water will cause colors to bleed and fade, and cold water won't remove stains effectively, according to Real Simple .

3. Rinse carefully to avoid stretching

When it comes time to rinse your sweater, drain the water from the sink then refill with cool water. Don't run the sweater directly under the stream of water or it make stretch. Then, carefully roll your sweater into a ball and press the water out. Wringing it can cause the fabric to stretch as well.

4. Wrap it in a towel to dry

This is a super important step, so don't skip it. The towel will help your sweater lose moisture and regain its fluff. According to Martha Stewart , it's best to use a white towel so the dye from the towel doesn't bleed onto your sweater.

5. Never hang-dry cashmere

Of all things, avoid hanging your cashmere sweater no matter what. The fabric (clearly) stretches easily, so you need to lay it flat on a breathable surface to dry. Then, reshape and fold it neatly. If you hang it in your closet, you'll end up with droopy shoulders.

Cashmere sweaters are an investment, so follow these tips to take care of your investment properly. Still afraid of real cashmere? Look into technical cashmere, which is easier to care for.

Images: Maria Morri/Flickr; Courtesy of Brand; LEAF/YouTube