Will cashmere shrink?
Will cashmere shrink?
Yes, cashmere can shrink if not properly cared for. Cashmere fibres are delicate and can easily contract when exposed to certain conditions or improper washing techniques.
Here's a detailed explanation of why cashmere shrinks and how to prevent and remedy it:
Why Cashmere Shrinks
Cashmere fibres are derived from the soft undercoat of cashmere goats, known for their fine and insulating hair. When exposed to heat, moisture, and agitation, these fibres have the potential to contract and shrink. Excessive heat, changes in water temperature, friction, and agitation can disrupt the fibres' natural structure, causing them to tighten and become shorter, resulting in shrinkage.
Preventing Cashmere Shrinkage
- Proper Washing: Hand-washing cashmere is the safest way to prevent shrinkage. Use cold water and a gentle detergent specifically designed for wool or cashmere. Avoid hot water, which can cause fibres to contract.
- Avoid Agitation: Never wring, twist, or scrub cashmere items while washing. Gently agitate the water by swishing the garment.
- Temperature Control: Keep cashmere away from excessive heat, both during washing and drying. High heat can damage the fibres and cause shrinkage.
- Use a Mesh Bag: If machine-washing cashmere on a ‘hand wash’ setting, place it inside a mesh laundry bag to reduce friction and protect it from tangling with other items.
Remedies for Shrunken Cashmere
If your cashmere item has already shrunk, there are a few methods you can try to restore it to its original size:
- Re-Blocking: Gently soak the shrunken cashmere item in lukewarm water mixed with hair conditioner for about 30 minutes. Gently stretch the garment back to its original shape while it's still wet. Lay it flat on a towel and reshape it as it dries.
- Steam Treatment: Use a garment steamer to gently steam the shrunken cashmere while gently pulling and reshaping it. Be careful not to hold the steamer too close to the fabric to avoid damaging the fibres.
- Soak and Stretch: Immerse the shrunken item in a mixture of lukewarm water and baby shampoo for about 30 minutes. Gently stretch the fabric while it's wet, then rinse with cold water. Carefully press out excess water and reshape the item as it dries.
- Professional Help: If the above methods do not work or you're uncertain about treating your cashmere item, it's best to seek professional help from a reputable dry cleaner experienced in handling delicate fabrics like cashmere.
To ensure the longevity of your cashmere items and prevent shrinkage, always follow the care instructions provided by the manufacturer. Hand-washing, proper drying, and storing in a cool, dry place will help maintain the softness and fit of your cashmere garments for years to come.