How To Wash Cashmere Sweaters Correctly So You Don't Ruin Them Forever — PHOTOS

When it's cold outside and you have to trek to a laundromat to wash your clothes, it can be tempting to skip sorting and just toss everything from your laundry bag into a washing machine. Resist. The. Urge. Fabrics like velvet and cashmere require extra care to not wreck them, and learning how to wash cashmere sweaters is crucial to keeping them in perfect condition for years to come. It only takes a little extra effort, but it's well worth it.

I learned the "don't be lazy" lesson the hard way two winters ago. My mom had bought me this gorgeous aqua blue cashmere sweater for Christmas and I was completely obsessed with it. Instead of taking the five minutes to look up how to care for the cashmere sweater properly, I irresponsibly figured "meh, whatever, it's gonna be fine in the washer and dryer." Oh my heavens, was I wrong.

When I opened the dryer, my beloved cashmere sweater was not only substantially faded into a funky sky blue, but had shrunken to the point that it may or may not have been able to fit an American Girl doll. Tears were shed, curse words were whispered, and I promised myself that would be the last time I'd be so careless about clothing.

Don't let my sob story become yours and follow the easy steps below to wash a winter cashmere sweater correctly every single time.

1. Hand Wash

Real Simple on YouTube

Real Simple put together a wonderfully easy video on exactly how to hand wash cashmere sweaters. You'll need two bins of barely warm water, baby shampoo, and a sink to press out all excess water for washing. To dry, make sure you have a clean white towel and a mesh drying rack. That's it!

2. Dry Clean

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Though hand washing is the preferred method for cleaning cashmere according to Glamour, there's usually a good reason not to if your sweater's label explicitly says not to hand wash. In this case, opt for dry cleaning to be on the safe side.

3. Spot Treatment

Laundry Stain Remover Treatment, $8, Amazon

If you need to fight a stain on cashmere before washing the whole sweater, the Cashmere Connoisseur blog advises rinsing immediately with cool water (just run the water over the stain, never rub it in!), and reaching for a spot cleaner like Zout. Then, proceed with hand washing as usual. By the time it dries, the stain should be gone.

Images: Maria Morri, Parker Knight/Flickr; Courtesy of Brand