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Cashmere Care Guide: How to Wash, Prevent Pilling and Treat Moth Holes

Find out how to wash cashmere, prevent pilling and treat moth holes with a little help from our Cashmere Care Guide.


Soft and luxurious cashmere has been used in clothing production for centuries.

Over the years, the fabric has been well-loved by people across the globe, and used for various different purposes; whether as a quality picnic blanket on a warm summer’s day or as a stylish, well-cut cardigan complementing the Duchess of Cambridge’s sophisticated dresses.

To this day, cashmere is synonymous with affluence, elegance and panache.

If we listed all of the reasons that individuals with a seasoned sense of style turn to this material time and again, we’d be here for a while. However, durability is most certainly a strong suit and these investment pieces truly can stand the test of time, as long as you care for them properly.

Right here, in our guide, we’ll cover how to wash cashmere, how to prevent pilling and how to keep the moths at bay, so you can wear your favourite pieces as and when you like, without worrying about disproportionate wear and tear.

How to wash

How to wash cashmere

Washing cashmere can be quite a daunting feat - do it wrong and you could end up with a cashmere jumper half the size! If you follow our guide however, you should keep your cashmere looking and feeling as soft and stylish as the day you bought it.

How to wash cashmere by hand

As it is such a delicate material, in general, we recommend airing on the side of caution and washing cashmere by hand. To do this, follow the below steps:

1. Fill a clean bowl with cool water. Make sure to keep the temperature below 30 degrees as hot temperatures can cause cashmere to shrink. Additionally ensure the bowl is free from any cleaning products as

2. Add a few drops of detergent or wool conditioner to the water. Baby conditioner also works well due to the lack of harsh chemicals.

3. Let your cashmere soak. Keep your garment in the bowl for five minutes without touching it. Once done, gently squeeze to remove any dirt.

4. Squeeze out the excess water. Remove your cashmere garment from the water and gently squeeze the water out. Be careful, as too much pressure could warp the piece.

5. Replace the water with fresh, non-soapy water. Carefully rinse and swirl again to rinse out any remaining detergent. Repeat this process as many times as necessary to ensure there’s no detergent left in the garment.

6. Air-dry your cashmere. Rather than wringing out the garment, lay it flat on a clean towel and press lightly to remove excess water and limit any creases in the fabric.

7. Once the garment is almost completely dry, pat it lightly with tissue paper to remove any excess moisture.

Can you machine wash cashmere?

The first question everyone has when it comes to washing cashmere is: “should I wash cashmere by hand?”. While we encourage you to do just that, washing by machine does not damage the material if you do it in the correct way. The most effective way to wash your cashmere in the machine is as follows:

1. Turn the garment inside out and place inside a mesh laundry bag. If you don’t have a laundry bag, we recommend using a white pillowcase with the open end tied shut.

2. Set your washing machine to “delicate” or choose a setting with a temperature 30 degrees and below with a low spin. Not only is this temperature kinder to clothes but it will also save energy and running costs in the long run.

3. Choose a non-biological detergent or a specialised wool/cashmere detergent and avoid using fabric conditioner. For many other materials, it may provide a soft, luscious feel, but will give cashmere and other natural fibres a chemical coating and encourage pilling in the long run.

4. Once the cycle has finished, make sure to air-dry your cashmere. Rather than wringing out the garment, simply lay it out flat on a clean towel and press lightly to remove excess water and limit any creases in the fabric. Finally, remove the towel and leave your garment to dry flat, away from direct heat and sunlight to ensure it won’t lose shape.

5. Once the garment is dry, pat it lightly with tissue paper to remove any excess moisture.

All cashmere products from The Edinburgh Woollen Mill are machine-washable and you will find that this is usually the case, no matter where you buy your garments. However, we would always recommend checking the label just to make sure.

Can you iron cashmere?

It is possible to iron cashmere, but it can be a tricky business so we will always endeavour to make it unnecessary by drying flat and pressing out excess water.

If you find that creases are unavoidable however, use the lowest heat setting and iron inside out. Ensure that you press gently and keep the iron moving to avoid burns which will leave your cashmere looking stiff or dirty.

Top tip! Only iron your garments when they are freshly washed. Ironing clothing when already worn could grind dirt into the fabric irrevocably.

pilling prevention

Cashmere Pilling

Pilling - more commonly known as bobbling - are small balls of fabric that appear on cashmere clothing.

Once you’ve worn your cashmere knitwear several times, these small surface pills may be visible in areas where the fabric has been in contact with excessive friction causing the fibres to knot.

But never fear – pilling doesn’t indicate inferior-quality cashmere. This is a result of wearing such a fine fibre, and an example of the natural wear-and-tear that comes with a well-loved garment.

It is almost impossible to avoid cashmere bobbling if you wear your piece, however you can remove them with minimal damage to the garment.

How to remove cashmere pilling

You can easily remedy cashmere pilling with a quality cashmere comb. Simply lay your garment on a flat surface and brush gently against the fabric to see the fuzzy layer come away.

Those with a steady hand and plenty of patience might be tempted by others’ online anecdotes suggesting that they use a razor, however we wouldn’t endorse this technique – it’s far too easy to cut into your clothing and before you know it, your favourite garment could be spoiled forever.

Finally, do not pick at the bobbles. This could cause irreparable damage to the garment and you are likely to wear it out a lot faster than otherwise.

How to store

How to store cashmere

Cashmere is such a delicate material that storing it correctly can elongate your garment’s lifespan significantly. Follow our tips to store your cashmere safely:

1. Refrain from using hangers - When you aren’t wearing your cashmere garments, we highly recommend that you refrain from using hangers, as they can cause your clothing to lose shape. Instead, we’d suggest storing your wool in a chest of drawers, ensuring that the area is completely damp-free, clean and away from direct sunlight.

2. Wash and dry before putting away - Cashmere garments should always be washed and dried prior to storing.

3. Store in a sealed box or garment bag - If you’re stowing your cashmere for a longer period of time, we suggest investing in a sealed box or garment bag as it will protect the cashmere against sunlight. This is also a great deterrent for moths!

Avoiding moths

How to protect cashmere from moths

Unfortunately, cashmere and other quality fibres represent a choice meal for moths and their larvae, and many of us have fallen foul of their summertime snacking – only to reach for our favourite jumper when the weather takes a turn and find it full of holes.

Cashmere is more popular than ever and pleasingly, it has also become more affordable. While we're over the moon about many of us owning more cashmere than ever before, warmer weather and better central heating encourages more moths leading to more nibbled cashmere!

Those of us with a particular dislike for moths will be well aware that they like to loiter in the warmth and the dark, so not only are our wardrobes an ideal breeding ground but our cashmere clothing is also packed with keratin which these creatures love to eat.

Fortunately however, there are steps you can take to prevent an infestation of moths from eating their fill of your most exquisite garments:

  • Rewash your clothing - As we mentioned earlier, washing and drying your garments before storing them away is essential. Even if clothing looks clean, the faintest residue of perspiration or spilled food spells a feast for a family of moths.
  • Invest in garment storage - If you suspect moths are already hunkering down among your prized pieces, after you have taken out all of your cashmere clothing and washed it, invest in sealed boxes or garment bags for storage.
  • Clean your wardrobes frequently - About once a month, make sure to vacuum the inside of your drawers or wardrobe to dislodge any moths or larvae.
  • Add lavender bags to your wardrobe - Discourage critters and make your drawers smell wonderful with the sweet scent of lavender. Either scatter yours in a box at the bottom of your wardrobe or place bags of this pretty plant in your drawers.