Cashmere is one of the softest and most luxurious fabrics, but it can be tricky to clean. Cashmere is delicate and prone to shrinking when washed. However, with the right techniques, you can safely remove stains from cashmere without damaging the fabric.
Always test any cleaning method on an inconspicuous area of the cashmere item first. Cashmere dye can bleed or fade with the wrong cleaning approach.
- Start by dabbing a bit of the cleaning solution on the inside hem or corner.
- Check for color transfer or damage before applying it to the stained area.
It’s crucial to treat cashmere stains as soon as possible. The longer a stain sits, the harder it will be to remove.
- Immediately blot liquid spills with a clean cloth or use a stain remover stick on grease stains.
- Avoid rubbing or scrubbing the fabric as this can push the stain further into the cashmere fibers.
Use Cold Water
Stick to lukewarm or cold water when pre-treating or hand-washing cashmere. Hot water can cause cashmere to shrink or felt.
- Check the care label for washing instructions. Many cashmere items must be dry cleaned, so test a stain remover first before attempting to hand wash.
- Woolite Delicate Care Liquid Laundry Detergent – formulated for hand washing delicates like cashmere
- The Laundress Wool & Cashmere Shampoo – cleans and conditions cashmere fibers
- Soak Wash Liquid Laundry Detergent – specifically for hand washing wool and cashmere
Remove Food Stains Gently
For food stains like sauces, chocolate, or grease, gently scrape off any excess with a dull knife. Avoid using regular dish soap, which can be too harsh for cashmere.
- Opt for a mild laundry detergent, wool soap, or cashmere shampoo.
- Soak the stain in a detergent solution for 15 minutes then rinse with cold water.
- Repeat as needed. Avoid vigorous scrubbing.
Tips for Specific Food Stains
- Oils: Dish soap, shampoo, or laundry detergent can lift grease and oil. Rinse thoroughly.
- Sauces: Soak in a delicate detergent, then dab with a vinegar solution.
- Chocolate: Pretreat with a laundry detergent or shampoo, then rinse.
- Wine: Blot immediately, then spray with hairspray to help lift the stain.
Use Vinegar for Tough Stains
For stubborn stains or dinginess, make a solution of 1 part white vinegar to 3 parts cold water.
- Soak the stained cashmere in this mixture for 20 minutes, then rinse.
- The vinegar will help break down and dislodge stuck-on stains without damaging the fibers.
- This works well for coffee, tea, wine, or sweat stains.
Lift Out Oil Stains
For oil-based stains like makeup, greasy food, or lotion, use an oil-lifting solution.
- Liquid dishwashing detergent or even hair shampoo contains surfactants that can lift oil from cashmere.
- Dab some detergent on the stain then rinse under cold water until the stain is gone.
- Don’t let the item soak.
Use a Cashmere De-Piller
Pilling is a common issue with cashmere over time. To remove bobbles or fuzzy pills without damaging the fabric, invest in a cashmere de-pilling shaver or sweater comb.
- It will quickly remove pills and fuzz.
- Always shave in one direction on a flat surface.
- Avoid using a regular razor which can cut the cashmere.
Recommended Cashmere Tools
- Conair Fabric Defuzzer – battery-powered shaver
- Gleener Ultimate Fuzz Remover – manual sweaters shaver
- Evercare Lint Brush – affordable cashmere comb
Blot Perspiration Stains
For white deodorant marks or sweat stains, blot the area with undiluted white vinegar.
- For colored deodorant stains, dab with rubbing alcohol and rinse.
- Perspiration can be tricky to remove from cashmere but avoid scrubbing.
Use Laundry Detergent for Mud
If your cashmere got muddy, let the mud partially dry then gently brush off any dirt.
- Make a solution of laundry detergent and cool water and apply it to the mud stain.
- Allow it to soak then rinse repeatedly in cold water until the stain disappears.
Try Hydrogen Peroxide on Ink Stains
Hydrogen peroxide can often lift fresh ink stains from fabrics.
- Dip a cotton swab in hydrogen peroxide and dab the ink stain.
- Rinse with cold water. You may need to repeat this process a few times.
- Just don’t let the peroxide sit too long, as it can bleach cashmere.
Steam Stains Away
For light stains, a handheld garment steamer can help dissipate and lift stains from cashmere fibers without excess rubbing.
- Hold the steamer above the fabric and work in sections until the stain fades.
- Be careful not to get the cashmere too wet.
- Joy Mangano My Little Steamer – great for traveling
- Conair ExtremeSteam Hand Held Fabric Steamer – vertical steaming helps lift stains
- PurSteam Garment Steamer – large water tank capacity
Blot, Don’t Rub
Blotting with a clean cloth or paper towel is always safest for stain removal.
- Rubbing or scrubbing can damage the delicate cashmere fibers.
- For wet stains, place an absorbent cloth underneath and blot the back to draw out the moisture.
When in Doubt, Call the Cleaner
Some cashmere stains may require professional dry cleaning. This is the best option for large, greasy, or unknown stains.
- Be sure to point out the stain to the cleaner.
- Drop-off service is sometimes available for individual pieces like cashmere sweaters.
Protect Your Cashmere
Once you’ve removed a stubborn stain, be sure to properly store and care for your cashmere to prevent future stains.
- Clean cashmere before storing it for the season.
- Use fabric protector spray to guard against stains.
Recommended Cashmere Care Products
- Woolite Darks Fabric Care Laundry Additive – helps prevent fading
- Caralei Cashmere & Wool Moth Proof Storage Bags – keeps items safe when stored
- Rowenta Garment Steamer – steaming helps revive cashmere
Cashmere lasts for years when cared for properly between wearings. Follow these tips and techniques, and you can keep your cashmere looking luxurious for a long time. Just remember to always handle it gently and act quickly on stains for the best results.