Cashmere is one of those luxury wools in high demand worldwide, especially during harsh winters. Coming from the goats of Kashmir, this type of wool has been used in many types of clothing, like scarves, jumpers, coats, blankets, shawls, socks, hats, gloves, etc., for hundreds of years.
In this rapidly-growing world of fast fashion, there aren’t many people interested in slow fashion who take the effort and time to purchase handmade products. And cashmere is one such fabric that takes a lot of time to be acquired, developed, and processed. It must be manually retrieved from the Himalayan mountains and transported to processing facilities.
Since these items are handmade, one must take special care and attention when using, washing, and keeping these luxurious and delicate pieces of clothing.
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The Story Of The Cashmere Pashmina Shawl
Known as one of the finest fabrics in the world, the Cashmere Pashmina comes with an age-old history of being the most popular fabric by royalty and wealthy social classes of the past. While cashmere can be used for many different clothes like scarves, jackets, socks and gloves, the Kashmiri Pashmina Shawl has its own uniqueness and demand due to its longstanding reputation as the finest and most exclusive art form in the world.
In Kashmir, the art of hand-weaving a Pashmina is being passed down for generations for decades. The wool required to make Pashmina is produced only by a certain breed of goat native to Changthang in the Himalayan region. The Kashmiri artisans collect the Changthangi goat’s fleece and process it by hand cleaning and spinning it on a wooden wheel.
The fabric is incredibly warm and soft at the same time. Although Pashmina shawls had been made in Kashmir for generations, it wasn’t until the 15th century that the cloth became widely used for shawls. By the 16th century, the Kashmiri Pashmina shawl industry was thriving in the Mughal Empire in India. Having a pashmina shawl was regarded as a symbol of status.
As the exports of these shawls started to grow, the European markets and the French fashion industry were flooded with Pashmina shawls by the 18th century. Due to its high demand across the world, many cheap imitations also entered the market around the same time.
Though Kashmir is still famous for its historic Pashmina production, other parts of the country have also paved the way for the authentic production of Cashmere Pashmina shawls.
How To Care For Your Cashmere Shawl
Hand-washing is one of the best and safest ways to wash cashmere. Here’s how you do it:
- Fill up a tub with lukewarm water. Make sure the temperature is not more than 30 degrees, as hot water can damage cashmere.
- Purchase a special cashmere shampoo if possible. If you can’t find any, just use any mild detergent. Mix a little amount of this detergent (one teaspoon for every 4 litres) with the water in the tub.
- Soak your cashmere in the water for about 20-30 mins before rinsing, as this can help remove all dirt and help the cashmere become fluffy again.
- After this, remove the scarf and give it a gentle squeeze to remove the soapy water.
- Fill the tub with cool and clear water after draining the soapy water. Put the scarf back in the tub and squeeze it once more until the water is fully clear.
While hand-washing is considered the best method to wash your cashmere shawl, machine-washing should not be a problem if you follow the right instructions.
- Always put your cashmere shawl in washing bags before you throw them in the washing machine. These can protect your shawl from all the twisting and turning in the machine.
- As mentioned before, use a special cashmere shampoo or a mild detergent in lesser amounts.
- Choose the slowest or most delicate cycle on your washing machine. The slower the cycle, the better for your cashmere.
- When it’s done, gently remove the excess water from the shawl by squeezing it out. Remember to never tumble dry the cashmere in your machine.
3. Spot Cleaning
If you have a stain on your shawl and want to remove only that, you can spot-clean your cashmere shawl instead of fully washing it. Here’s how you can do it:
- Always use cold water when treating a stain.
- Treat the stain with a mild cashmere shampoo or detergent. Dab on the stained spot gently with water and the solution.
- You can also use a soft-bristled toothbrush to gently brush away the dirt if dabbing doesn’t work.
- Make sure never to rub on the cloth harshly, as this can damage the shawl forever.
1. How To Dry Your Cashmere Shawl?
Once your cashmere shawl is washed, it’s time to dry it. There’s a certain process to dry your cashmere clothing so that you can stop it from reshaping or getting damaged. Here’s the best way to do it:
- Spread your cashmere shawl between two clean and dry towels.
- To allow the towels to absorb the excess water from the shawl, roll up all three items gently without any squishing or wringing.
- Now that it is semi-dry, lay your cashmere shawl on a flat surface away from sunlight and dampness. It is important that it completely air dries in natural air.
2. Can You Tumble-Dry Your Cashmere Shawl?
The simple answer to this question is an absolute NO. As mentioned earlier, you can never tumble-dry any cashmere clothing, as the excess heat and harsh movements will damage your cashmere forever.
1. How To Store?
- The first and most basic advice is to clean, dust, and wipe the shelf where your cashmere is stored. It must be completely dry and spotless.
- To prevent reshaping and stretching, it is best to avoid hanging your cashmere shawl for long periods of time.
- It’s also advisable not to store them in plastic bags as they can react to sunlight and change the colour and texture of your shawl.
2. Keeping Them Moth-Free
When storing your shawl for longer durations, using cedar wood balls can help prevent mildew and are a natural way to keep moths away from cashmere. You can also purchase a reliable moth trap to get rid of them. It is a sure-shot solution to prevent moths from damaging your cashmere.
3. Avoiding Pilling
Generally, clothes made from natural fibres have a tendency to “pill” or “bobble,”, especially in areas where there is friction, like against rough clothing or leather handbags. Most people tend to misunderstand that pilling often reflects the fabric’s quality. However, that is not true, as pilling is just another unique characteristic of cashmere.
To avoid pilling, you can use a special cashmere comb. Lay your cashmere flat, then gently run the comb over the shawl in the areas where you notice pills forming.
Now that you know how precious your cashmere is, you might have also realised how well you should take care of it. Whether hand-washing or machine-washing, your cashmere requires a lot of attention, both pre-wash and post-wash. Make sure you follow our tips for easy maintenance!
And if you are still doubtful, you can always book an appointment with Quiclo for expert care!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. Can you put cashmere in the washing machine?
Yes, you can put your cashmere in the washing machine. You can turn on the wool cycle and use a mild detergent to wash it. Make sure you turn the cloth inside out, and the temperature is not more than 30 degrees.
2. How many times can you wear cashmere before washing?
Cashmere should ideally be washed after every 2-3 wears. A cashmere comb or bristles garment brush can be used to remove any fabric pills in your cashmere between washings.
3. Does 100% cashmere shrink?
Yes, even 100% cashmere shrinks in size once it dries up after the wash. This mostly happens when you wash your cashmere in hot water with temperatures higher than 30 degrees.
4. Does cashmere get ruined by water?
Cashmere is most prone to damage when damp since it can quickly stretch out of shape. Clean each piece individually and use fresh water for each wash to avoid over-pulling or over-stretching wet cashmere.
5. How do you make cashmere fluffy again?
If you want your cashmere to get fluffy, you can soak them up in cold water with a mild detergent for 20-30 minutes before washing.