Washing cashmere and wool sweaters extends their wear and keeps them looking newer than when they are dry cleaned. Even when a care label says “dry clean only,” you can hand wash your sweaters if the primary fiber is wool or cashmere.
Fill a basin or sink with cool water and add 1 Tbsp. of a mild detergent that’s free of bleach, such as Woolite Extra Delicates Care. Pretreat stains with (my personal favorite) Shout Advanced Stain Lifting Foam.
Place the sweater in the water and swish it around until it’s completely wet. Don’t scrub or stretch the sweater. Soak for 10 minutes while the detergent breaks down soil.
Rinse the sweater in cold water. You can add a few drops of lavender oil (available at Whole Foods) – not only does it smell good, it deters moths.
Gather the sweater, gently press to remove water and lay it on a white or colorfast towel that has been spread on a flat waterproof surface.
Tightly roll the sweater in the towel- most of the water will be absorbed. Then, unroll and lay the sweater flat on a dry towel.
Gently reshape the sweater, extending the arms and buttoning, if necessary. Let dry flat. De-pill any fuzz balls on the sweater with a commercial gadget or a “used” (never use a fresh one- the fibers could be cut) double edged razor. Gently run the razor over the sweater, shaving in a downward motion and then pick up the fuzz balls with double sticky tape.
To touch up wrinkles, turn it inside out and iron on low heat with steam (always test on a small area first).