April 16th, 2024
Closet advice

Cashmere Care

A few weeks ago I posted on a Barrie cashmere cardigan and was asked about how to care for it. Paula very kindly spoke with a number of cashmere experts and here’s what they said:

The softer the cashmere (Baby, Vicuna), the more pilling will occur. Pilling is a completely natural part of the fiber, it’s part of wearing the softest natural fiber made.
It’s practically impossible to avoid pilling.  Over time, cashmere pills less and less.
Pilling comes from the fibers drying out and abrasion.  
They recommend hand washing often, using Loro Piana cashmere laundry product, which contains olive oil, to keep the cashmere moisturized.  Dry flat.  
Dry cleaning is not recommended.  
The cashmere sweater is not ruined if it pills, it can be cared for and restored to almost brand new.
All agree a simple pilling comb with a sharp razor blade on end is the correct tool to remove pilling.  The combs are basic and sell for as low as $4.00 on Amazon.
Manual combs are recommended over automatic.
Never store sweaters in plastic. I have placed a couple of orders with The Butler’s Closet and am very happy with everything!

Thank you, Paula!

  • The Laundress makes a wonderful wool and cashmere shampoo that I’ve used with great success and pleasure.

    Alicia WhitakerApril 16th, 2024  8:26 PM

  • I use Eucalan to wash my cashmere sweaters. It is a “no rinse, delicate wash” and is a lanolin enriched concentrate with
    eucalyptus oil. It leaves my sweaters soft and silky.

    BarbaraApril 16th, 2024  9:53 PM

  • This is fabulous! Thank you, Paula and Preston!
    I would not have guessed washing more often would be helpful!
    I will be back to report on success with the pilling comb.

    STApril 16th, 2024  11:03 PM

  • Same as Alicia, I also use the The Laundress wool and cashmere shampoo in cedar – it smells amazing. Since watching their step-by-step video online a few years ago, it’s been the way I do it.

    I’m intrigued by the Loro Piana one and will try it out!

    GeorgieApril 17th, 2024  4:53 AM

  • I was also a fan of products by The Laundress and purchased a sweater comb from them years ago that’s great for pilling, but wasn’t there a recall on their products?

    KimApril 17th, 2024  8:25 AM

  • Update on the Laundress recall here.

    PrestonApril 17th, 2024  8:38 AM

  • I use both Laundress and Eucalan and also Forever New laundry powder – smells heavenly and reminds me of a nostalgic smell when I was a child and what laundry detergents used to smell like.

    InesApril 17th, 2024  10:40 AM

  • This explains why my grandmother’s cashmere didn’t seem to pill! I’ve spent my life looking for the elusive knit like what she gave me: thick gorgeous cashmere that somehow stayed pristine. I know she depilled her cashmere by hand. By the time it got to me, it seems, it just wasn’t pilling as much. Thank you, Preston and Paula, for helping me understand.

    RMApril 17th, 2024  11:42 AM

  • Preston, question for you and your readers: Is there a ritual you have that signals, “Spring is here. Time to change my wardrobe.” I know spring is here when I start to want to wear white jeans and Birkenstocks.

    Laura Zinn FrommApril 17th, 2024  11:48 AM

  • OK, this begs the question. Anyone have a sweater pilling comb they love?

    STApril 17th, 2024  11:52 AM

  • The Butlers Closet website made my heart sing! Thank you! Got the jewelry pouches and the shoe stuffers – so much nicer than wadded tissue.

    I’m back to the Laundress cashmere wash since it’s reintroduction. Eucalan was my choice during its absence and I feel good about that product also.

    I have a J Crew ribbed cashmere sweater that I bought in 1992 (for a trip so I remember) that to this day has not pilled. Same goes for a 1960’s Saks cashmere cardigan that was my mothers. They don’t make it like they used to.

    MariaApril 17th, 2024  12:05 PM

  • Personally, I’ve had mixed results with hand washing cashmere. I say go slowly, start with something that isn’t too precious to you (or is at least replaceable), and if possible, get first hand recommendation from wherever you purchased it. Final comment is, ‘hand wash’ should be interpreted literally, i.e., as in ‘wash in a bowl with your hands’ and NOT the hand wash cycle on your machine!

    PaulaApril 18th, 2024  11:03 PM

  • One of my favorite topics and one that sparks strong views! I agree with much of what is said here but have used mesh laundry bags and the hand wash cycle on my machine for years with no ill effects. Another blog said warm water (vs. cold) helps keep pilling down but I have no idea if this is true since I’ve never tested them side-by-side. I’m also a fan of newly-formulated The Laundress products but loved TangentGC in the interim. It was the only line I could find that offered equivalents for the whole Laundress line: cashmere, denim, stain solution, and delicates. I just couldn’t spring for the Loro Piana cashmere soap at 5x the price per ounce! Lastly, in my experience, the cheaper the pilling comb, the better they seem to work!

    Lisa MacApril 19th, 2024  3:18 PM

  • Lisa Mac, I want your washing machine! Even on the hand wash setting, even with laundry bags, the spin cycle is likely the problem with mine. Seriously, I’m shopping for a new washer/dryer set. 🙂

    PaulaApril 19th, 2024  11:46 PM

  • Agree with Lisa Mac about Loro Piana cashmere soap – as much as I love it and have used it over the years,
    I think it’s gotten too expensive (not that it was ever inexpensive!).

    So, am on the hunt for a high quality cashmere soap that works as well but is more reasonably priced –
    and – very important to me – has a neutral scent: that’s one of the things I love about L. P. cashmere soap – the scent of olive oil (one of its ingredients) is barely detectable when washing cashmere and never lingers once the cashmere is dry.

    Found comments posted for “Cashmere Care” very interesting and educational – will keep for future reference.


    JaniceApril 20th, 2024  7:01 PM

  • Somewhat off topic – but before you remove this post from the most recent postings…

    Am trying to replace Edith Mezard eau de linge fleurs d’oranger that I bought years ago and can’t find anywhere.
    Am looking for a similar quality scented water (but doesn’t have to be an orange blossom scent).

    Found the brand “Scentenniel” on Amazon which has scented water(s) to refresh linens and other fabrics.
    Wondered if you or any of your readers are familiar with Scentenniels and recommend it –
    or is there is another brand you would suggest instead?

    Thanks for your help!

    JaniceApril 26th, 2024  7:08 PM


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