A lot of people are uncertain about how to wash cashmere, however, before you consider washing your cashmeres, instead of asking ‘how?’ there is another question you should ask first:
‘Do I need to wash?’
We live in an age where many have easy access to washing machines, and in our quest for cleanliness many have gotten into the habit of washing clothes every time it has been worn. Add to this, that today more than half of all clothes are made of polyester and other chemicals that bind bacteria at a rate of more than 80 % and therefore are bacteria traps that need frequent washing to stay odourless. No wonder, many believe they have to constantly wash their clothes. The need for frequent wash of synthetic clothes, by the way, is one of many reasons why half or more of the pollution created by synthetic clothes is done after it leaves the shop. Natural fibres, especially protein fibres, are a whole different story.
Clothes made of natural plant fibres such as cotton, hemp, bamboo and flax also need regular washing as they are not antibacterial . However, to put the need into perspective: clothes made of plant fibres bind only around 10 % of bacteria.
Natural protein fibres such as cashmere, silk and wool are naturally antibacterial. This doesn’t mean that you never have to wash them, but it means you probably have to wash them a lot less than you think.
Now, you’re probably wondering: How do I know, when I need to wash my cashmeres, silks and woollens? There are two correct answers: 1) You do need to wash them before you put them away for the season. 2) When needed. Always air your clothes after you’ve worn them. Best thing is to leave them out overnight, so they are completely dry before you put them back in your wardrobe. Another thing to consider is spot washing instead of washing the whole item. Maybe you just need to gently wash the armpits, but not the whole sweater?
Natural fibres have been used for making textiles for millennia, we should keep it that way.