Today's post is one that I've been working on for a while because I wanted it to be just right. As you know, I love silk and cashmere and over the years I have collected a small selection of basics in these luxe fabrics. Beyond being super luxurious to wear, one of the reasons I love these materials so much is because they tend to last longer in my closet - when cared for appropriately. With that in mind, today's post is all about how I keep my pieces looking fresh for years so that you can look after your own investments and really stretch that wardrobe dollar.
When it comes to washing silk and cashmere the name of the game is to be as gentle as possible. To accomplish this I take a multi-pronged approached that I've broken out below based on cashmere and silk individually.
- Like my silk, I always wash my cashmere in a clean bowl rather than the sink or tub.
- Next, I fill my bowl with luke warm water and add about a cap full of the detergent - this one by The Laundress is my favorite because it's super gentle, lasts forever and smells amazing.
- Like my silk, I then slowly lower my sweater into the water - the only difference is that I wash my cashmere inside out so that I can ensure all the hidden bits get nice and clean.
- Once my sweater is clean I remove it from the water slowly and gently press it between my palms to remove the excess water. This step is especially important because if you hang a sopping wet sweater or blouse to dry, the weight of the water will stretch it out.
- When it comes time to wash my silk I always do so in a separate, clean bowl rather than the silk or tub. The reason being that then I don't need to worry about residue from the silk or tub transferring to my tops.
- Once I have my bowl I fill it just below the top with luke warm water (don't fill it too high otherwise you'll end up with a mess once you add your shirt).
- Next, I add detergent as directed - this one by The Laundress is my favorite for it's light scent and gentle formula.
- Now it's time to do the actual washing. For this step I like to gently swish my shirt in the soapy water like I'm kneading bread. I do this very gently for about 1/2 a minute
- Once my blouse is sufficiently clean, I lift it slowly from the water and ever so slightly press it between my palms.
Once your pieces are sufficiently washed, you can move onto rinsing them. For that I like to rinse each item in luke warm water for a few seconds to ensure that all of the soap residue is removed. Also, an important thing to remember for both silk and cashmere is that you never want to ring your pieces because you will ruin the shape and deteriorate the fabric more quickly. Instead, I like to gentle press my blouses and sweaters together to remove any excess water. Now that the washing is done, it's time to move onto drying!
For me, the drying part of the process is my least favorite because it requires a lot of patience. Even though hand washing my sweaters and blouses may seem like a lot of work it's actually very quick and the whole thing only takes me a few minutes. The drying process on the other hand can take upwards of several hours depending on how humid it is but I have a few tips to speed it up none-the-less.
- First of all, I always dry my pieces on a drying rack (this is the one I have and I think it's great!) because it ensures that I can lay my sweaters and blouses flat so that the sleeves don't get stretched out and the threads don't become weak too quickly.
- Next, like I mentioned briefly above I always ensure that my sweaters are laying as flat as possible - I have a clip of this in the video below. By doing this and taking care not to let my sleeves hang off the sides of my drying rack, I am able to help ensure that my sweaters don't become stretched out.
- Another thing I keep in mind when drying my pieces is that sweaters in particular can take quite a while to dry (blouses are usually really quick) so I try not to leave my sweater care to the last minute if I know I will need them within a day or two.
- Beyond that I just keep my drying rack in the bathroom while my pieces dry so that water doesn't ruin the other floors in my house. One thing to note is to be careful when entering your bathroom while your items are drying because they can drip onto the floor making it slippery - I like to put a towel under the rack to help catch the excess water and prevent a slip and fall.
Once my pieces are squeaky clean and ready to wear, the last step in the process is maintenance to ensure that stains are treated properly and wrinkles and pills are tended to. For stains, I defer to The Laundress again and this tutorial and their fantastic stain treatment.
When it comes to wrinkles I use a good old fashioned steamer. This one is the one I use and I love it because it's hand-held and portable and the water heats up very quickly. The only thing to keep in mind when working with a steamer is that they can be a little unpredictable at times and can splatter water at you so always be careful and work with the nozzle facing away from you.
Lastly, I tend to sweater pills by carefully trimming them with manicure scissors like these. I know that most people also use a sweater brush but I haven't added one to my routine yet. That said, I am very interested in doing so and have my eye on this one.
That's all! I know that initially the upkeep of cashmere and sweater can seem daunting but for me at least, once I got the hang of it is has been super simple and well worth the effort. Not only do my pieces last longer, but I save a ton of dry cleaning fees by tending to these fabrics myself. Before I go, I've embedded my corresponding video below for you that I hope will help further explain everything I've outlined here. I've also linked most of the products mentioned throughout this post below along with some of my favorite cashmere and silk pieces.
Until next time,