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Can You Wash Cashmere?

When I lived in California in the 1980s, I kept up with the latest fashions and loved to dress well. Then, in 1990, I moved to Montana, lived on a shoestring, and found myself a fish out of water....nobody dressed like I had in California! Not even the news reporters! I tried to wear my clothes, but people looked at me; I could just feel their eyes roll and knew I may as well have "California Girl" tattooed on my forehead! I got rid of everything in my closet except the Basics and Classics and began to search for a new fashion identity.

Then, about 20 years ago, I started watching What Not to Wear. Clinton and Stacy came onto my radar right about the time I started menopause and began to gain weight, and they had such great advise. One of their pet peeves was that women shied away from purchasing cashmere sweaters. In Montana, we wear sweaters at least 8 months out of the year, so I decided I needed to take their advise to heart and looked for a couple to add to my wardrobe. I was fortunate to stumble onto a clearance sale on cashmere and purchased three. What a game-changer! They are soft, pretty, and very warm...what more could a girl want?

Now I have a good stack of cashmere sweaters. Also, I am retired and money is tighter than when I was working. I realized about a month ago that my sweaters had not been cleaned in over three years!! Even though I have a dozen, they still need better care than that! However, at $10 each for cleaning....

So, on Pinterest, I went to my friend, Martha Stewart, and got a good bit of advise on washing cashmere. This is what I did to clean them...

1- I got out my old sweater rack (see photo) and my bottle of Woolite. I filled one of my kitchen sinks with cold water and a tablespoon of soap and the other with cold clean water.

2- I put a sweater in and let it sit just a bit, then lifted it in and out without wringing. Then I kind of rubbed the cuffs and collar where stains are more inclined to be hiding. Once I felt it to be thoroughly cleaned, beginning at the neckline and working down, I squished out as much soapy water as I could and moved the sweater to the clean water.

3- I rinsed it the same way.

4- I quickly moved the sweater to the washing machine (avoiding dripping on the floor as much as possible). I set the machine to the "delicate" final spin cycle and ran it to get as much water out as possible.

5- Removing the sweater from the machine, I laid it on the sweater rack and began stretching it to the size and shape I wanted. Pull from both sides at the same time. Then stretch from the top and bottom at the same time. Finally, pull the sleeves cross-ways so that they do not dry too tight. While it is damp, get the sweater the way you want it, folding the sleeves across the chest, and leave the sweater to dry for a couple of days. Finish drying it another day on a hanger, then fold it and put it away....

Congratulations! You just successfully washed your cashmere sweater!

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