Washing cashmere and wool sweaters extends their wear and keeps them looking newer than when they are dry cleaned. Even when a care label says “dry clean only,” you can hand wash your sweaters if the primary fiber is wool or cashmere.
- Fill a basin or sink with cool water and add 1 Tbsp. of a mild detergent that’s free of bleach, such as Woolite Extra Delicates Care. Pretreat stains with (my personal favorite) Shout Advanced Stain Lifting Foam.
- Place the sweater in the water and swish it around until it’s completely wet. Don’t scrub or stretch the sweater. Soak for 10 minutes while the detergent breaks down soil.
- Rinse the sweater in cold water. You can add a few drops of lavender oil (available at Whole Foods) – not only does it smell good, it deters moths.
- Gather the sweater, gently press to remove water and lay it on a white or colorfast towel that has been spread on a flat waterproof surface.
- Tightly roll the sweater in the towel- most of the water will be absorbed. Then, unroll and lay the sweater flat on a dry towel.
- Gently reshape the sweater, extending the arms and buttoning, if necessary. Let dry flat. De-pill any fuzz balls on the sweater with a commercial gadget or a “used” (never use a fresh one- the fibers could be cut) double edged razor. Gently run the razor over the sweater, shaving in a downward motion and then pick up the fuzz balls with double sticky tape.
- To touch up wrinkles, turn it inside out and iron on low heat with steam (always test on a small area first).