Clean Your Cashmere Without Dry Cleaning

I love my cashmere sweaters because they work in every climate from an overly chilled air-conditioned office (not that I’ve experienced that in a while!) to a sub-zero January day. I used to haul my sweaters to the dry cleaners, which is expensive and uses toxic chemicals (read this if you’re curious), but now I exclusively hand wash my cashmere with The Wool & Cashmere Shampoo by The Laundress. While this fab product seems expensive compared to a huge jug of Tide (it retails for $19 everywhere), know that it launders a ton of sweaters. I’ve had the same bottle for a year and it’s not even half empty. Also, you don’t have to be fancy and only wash cashmere. It works for merino wool and that scratchy sweater that’s made from alpaca? llama? whatever it is, it will get clean. 

The Laundress was founded by two women entrepreneurs, Gwen Whiting and Lindsey Boyd, who left jobs in fashion to rescue beautiful clothes from harsh cleaning chemicals! The company is now owned by Unilever, but still run by Whiting and Boyd.

Here’s the drill: Fill a large bowl or your sink with cool water, add a squirt (less than a capful) and swish the water around until the cleanser dissolves. Add your sweater and again gently swish the water through the sweater. I let the mess sit for about 10 minutes, then empty the water while barely squeezing the sweater and repeat this at least four times. Crazy?! Yes, but you’re trying to get out all the soap without hard wringing. When I’m done, I roll the sweater in a towel, step on it and then unroll it and lay the sweater on a drying rack. The sweater will dry in a few hours, smell gorgeous (not like a chemical dump) and look very fluffy.

Also, you can wash some sweaters in your washing machine on the delicate cycle in a large lingerie bag, but honestly, I’m too chicken to try this with cashmere. I’ve successfully washed ski sweaters in the machine, but mine seem pretty hardy compared to cashmere. Better safe than sorry is my mantra.

If your sweater has pills, which happens to my expensive cashmere just as often as it does to my cheap sweaters (annoying!), use a Sweater Stone (The Laundress also sells one if you’re trying to get free shipping). Gently sweeping the pills is the key. Go too hard and your sweater will look like you shaved it!

At this time Style Challengers doesn’t receive any commission from products we recommend. We’re just telling you what we love because we love it!

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