Braving the elements on a cold winter holiday while looking chic is no easy task, but there's one trusty item we can always count on when push comes to shove. Enter the cashmere topper; a fail-proof way to combat pinching chills while keeping you toasty and snug. There’s a reason as to why it’s been one of the longest standing go-tos for cold-weather dressing; it feels incredibly soft, luxe and it keeps you warm at the same time. High-quality cashmere can be up to eight times warmer than regular sheep’s wool despite its lightweight, breathable material — triple score, if you ask us. Whether you’ve paid a hefty sum on a lovely cashmere sweater or snagged a bargain on high street, these 5 tips will help you care for your investment piece properly.
Wash it by hand
Cashmere needs to be dry cleaned or hand washed. But some people recommend washing over cleaning as dry cleaning uses harsh chemicals which will wear down the fibers in your sweater over time. This is easy enough if you a washing machine with a hand wash or gentle cycle — put that baby in a protective mesh bag, set the dial for the gentle cycle, and cross your fingers. If your machine doesn't have the aforementioned functions, button up your cashmere inside a pillowcase and put it on a cold wash instead. Once you’re done, lay it out to dry flat on a towel so that it won’t lose its shape. If you rather do things the traditional way and use your bare hands (good idea, hand washing cashmere can actually make it softer over time), simply soak your cashmere in the bathroom sink in warm water. Be sure to use baby shampoo or a mild detergent before gently rinsing it with fresh cold water. Tenderly press — don’t wring — it in a towel to get the water out, lay it flat, and gently coax it back into shape.
You should never hang a cashmere sweater on a clothing hanger. That will only cause shoulder dimples, and the pull of gravity will stretch it out of shape and leave you with with a distorted piece of garment that will no longer sit properly. Tragic. Always store your cashmere folded. To avoid a crease running down the middle of the sweater, fold each side of the sweater inward by a third. Smooth the arms down, and fold in half.
Store it in a zip-lock bag
You probably already know this, but moths love cashmere — or, to be specific, anything with moisture in the fibres. These vile creatures will happily feast on your Burberry or Chanel cashmere buffet without a second thought, so it’s needless to say that to us cashmere enthusiasts, they’re the enemy. To store your prized cashmere item safely, make sure it is totally dry before folding it up and storing it in airtight zip-lock bags. For added security, you can also line your drawers or zip-lock bags with anti-moth paper strips.
Freeze it (yes, you heard us right)
If you’re simply too lazy to go through all the trouble to hand wash your cashmere goods, there is an alternative. To keep your cashmere sweater fresh in between washes, let it sit nicely inside a plastic bag and toss it into the freezer overnight. This will literally freeze the odour molecules in the fabric temporarily and will help keep the wool from shedding.
The nature of cashmere is to pill. In fact, 100% pure cashmere will always pill. Keep a special knitwear comb on hand to deal with those tiny fabric balls: lay your cashmere flat, and gently pass the knitwear comb over the fibres to pick up the pills.You can also try one of those battery-powered “fabric shavers,” which buzzes the fuzz right off and is fairly helpful in de-pilling. You can readily get said pill removers on sites like Lazada, Shoppee and Qoo10.
Cover image: Instagram / neuzwei