Having invested in a beautiful cashmere sweater, there's nothing more frustrating that discovering the moths have got to it when you take it out to wear next season. A few golden rules about storage and washing should help to increase the life span of your special knitwear.
- Always make sure that any cashmere or knitwear that you put away at the end of summer is clean. You may think that it is but before you send it to the drawer of sleeping clothes, it's best to give it a thorough cleanse. Even if it doesn't look dirty, the tiniest traces of food, skin and hair particles or sweat can still attract clothes moths.
- Make sure that the drawer or wardrobe is also clean, give it a good brush or gentle hoover out to get rid of any dust in the corners.
- Pop a layer of acid free tissue paper in the bottom of any drawers.
- Turn out pockets on coats and jackets that may be hanging in your wardrobe as they may have fluff in them that can attract moths.
- Add some moth herb sachets, cedar balls or lavender bags, the french moth herb bags from Angela Flanders are my go to.
- If hand washing, rather than using the hand wash cycle on a machine, make sure the sink is spotlessly clean or use a clean large mixing bowl to ensure there is no food or cleaning product residue that could harm your cashmere.
- Make sure water is no hotter than luke warm
- Use a specialist gentle wool detergent, or even baby shampoo and make sure it's well dissolved before you begin washing.
- Turn you garment inside out and gently massage it in the water. Do not rub, wring or twist as this will pull the fibres out of shape. Gently squeeze the water through the fibres.
- To rinse use the same temperature of water and make sure the residue of detergent has gone, perhaps two rinses to be sure.
- Be gentle at this stage, do not tumble dry. Most knitwear needs to be dried flat.
- Do not wring or twist or be tempted to pop your knitwear into the spin cycle at this stage.
- Lay the item flat on a folded bath towel and gently roll up like a sausage roll, inside the towel, and lightly press. This will blot the majority of the water onto the towel.
- Unroll and reshape lying flat to dry. If you hang the item the weight of the water will stretch it out of shape.
- Allow to air dry gently avoiding radiators or excessive sunlight.
General Care Tips
- To de-crease, iron inside-out on the lowest heat setting using a damp cloth between the cashmere and the iron, keeping it moving. Or, if you can, steam it using a hand-held steamer.
- Pilling is not a sign of inferior quality, but it's a consequence of such a fine fibre and a natural effect. Using a cashmere comb to gently remove the bobbles will help to consolidate the fibres and improve the handle and touch.
- Don't wear the same garment too frequently. Allow it two or three days rest after a day of wearing.
- Be mindful about what you wear your cashmere with. A cashmere garment next to rough clothing, metal necklaces, bracelets, belts and rough leather items is a recipe for pilling and snagging.