Does Cashmere Shrink? Do’s and Don’ts

Discovering the luxurious world of cashmere is like wrapping yourself in a cloud of softness and warmth. As you revel in the cozy embrace of your favorite cashmere sweater, a lingering question may cross your mind: Does cashmere shrink? Picture the anticipation before unwrapping a cherished gift – that’s the curiosity we’ll unravel together.

In the journey of wardrobe love affairs, understanding the temperament of your garments is key. So, let’s delve into the secrets of this exquisite fabric, exploring whether it gracefully adapts to your care routine or reveals its elusive tendency to transform.

Salient Points

  • Cashmere may shrink if exposed to heat and agitation during washing or drying, so it’s crucial to follow proper care instructions.
  • To preserve the luxurious feel of cashmere, opt for cold water hand washing or the delicate cycle, and avoid high-heat drying settings.
  • Treating your cashmere garments with care, including gentle washing and drying methods, is key to maintaining their quality and preventing shrinkage.

Properties of Cashmere Fabric

Cashmere fabric is renowned for its luxurious feel and warmth, making it a popular choice for various clothing items. Its distinct properties contribute to its high demand and unique status in the textile industry.

One key characteristic of cashmere is its softness. The fibers are finer and softer than traditional sheep’s wool, providing a gentle and comfortable touch against the skin. This attribute makes cashmere garments highly desirable for their exquisite feel.

Another notable property is the insulation capability of cashmere. Despite its lightweight nature, cashmere has excellent heat retention, keeping the wearer warm in colder climates. This makes it an ideal choice for winter sweaters, scarves, and other cold-weather apparel.

Durability is a significant aspect of cashmere fabric. When properly cared for, cashmere items can withstand the test of time. The long fibers in cashmere contribute to its strength, resulting in garments that maintain their quality and appearance over the years.

Breathability is yet another advantage of cashmere. The natural fibers allow air circulation, preventing overheating and ensuring comfort in various weather conditions. This breathability makes cashmere suitable for year-round wear, offering versatility in different climates.

Versatility is a key characteristic that sets cashmere apart. The fabric is not only used for traditional sweaters but also for a wide range of items, including shawls, gloves, hats, and even blankets. This adaptability showcases the diverse applications of cashmere in the fashion and textile industry.

Thus, cashmere fabric boasts remarkable properties, including softness, insulation, durability, breathability, and versatility. These features contribute to its popularity and make it a sought-after material for high-quality, luxurious clothing items.

Understanding Fabric Shrinking: Does Cashmere Shrink?

Does Cashmere Shrink?

Cashmere, obtained from the soft undercoat of goats, is known for its delicate and fine fibers. The potential for shrinkage largely depends on how the garment is cared for. Cashmere can indeed shrink if exposed to certain conditions, such as heat and agitation.

Washing cashmere in hot water or using a high-heat drying setting is a recipe for shrinkage. To preserve the integrity of your cashmere items, it is advisable to follow the care instructions provided by the manufacturer.

Hand washing in cold water or using the delicate cycle on your washing machine, coupled with air-drying or using a low-heat setting, can help prevent unwanted shrinkage. It’s essential to treat cashmere with the gentleness it deserves to maintain its luxurious feel and fit.

Does Cashmere Shrink?

Does Cashmere Shrink Every Time You Wash It?

The answer depends on how you wash and care for it. Cashmere fibers are known for their natural elasticity, and excessive heat and agitation can cause them to contract, leading to shrinkage. When washing cashmere, it’s crucial to use cold water and a gentle cycle to minimize the risk of shrinkage.

Avoid using harsh detergents and fabric softeners, as they can damage the fibers. Instead, opt for a mild detergent specifically designed for delicate fabrics. Always follow the care instructions on the garment’s label to ensure proper maintenance.

For example, if you consistently wash your cashmere sweaters in hot water and tumble dry them on high heat, you’re more likely to experience shrinkage over time. The combination of heat and friction can cause the cashmere fibers to lose their natural stretch and bounce back.

To preserve the softness and size of your cashmere items, hand washing in cold water or using a cold, gentle cycle in a mesh laundry bag is recommended. Additionally, laying the garment flat to dry will help maintain its original shape. Taking these precautions will ensure that your cashmere pieces remain a luxurious and comfortable addition to your wardrobe without the worry of excessive shrinkage.

Does Cashmere Shrink in Dryer?

The answer is yes, cashmere can shrink in the dryer if not handled with care. Unlike some other fabrics, cashmere is susceptible to changes in temperature and agitation.

When exposed to the heat and mechanical action of a dryer, the natural fibers in cashmere can contract, causing the garment to shrink. To avoid this, it’s advisable to follow proper care instructions. Instead of using a dryer, it’s recommended to air-dry cashmere by laying it flat on a clean, dry towel. Additionally, using a gentle detergent and cold water for washing can help preserve the fabric’s integrity.

In summary, to keep your cherished cashmere items in top condition, it’s crucial to prioritize hand washing or using the delicate cycle in your washing machine, and opting for air-drying over exposing them to the heat of a dryer. This simple practice can help maintain the quality and size of your beloved cashmere pieces.

How Much Does Cashmere Shrink?

Generally, cashmere can shrink to some extent, and this is primarily due to its natural fibers. When exposed to moisture, such as through washing, the fibers can contract, leading to a reduction in size.

The extent to which cashmere shrinks depends on various factors, including the quality of the cashmere, the manufacturing process, and the care instructions followed. High-quality cashmere that has undergone proper processing is less prone to significant shrinkage. However, lower-quality cashmere or garments that have not been treated with care may experience more noticeable changes in size.

If interested you can read about whether or not you can dye silk and different textures of silk.

Factors that Can Affect Cashmere Shrinkage

Understanding the factors influencing cashmere shrinkage is essential to maintain the longevity of these cherished items.

1. Water Temperature:

The temperature of the water used during washing plays a significant role in cashmere shrinkage. Hot water can cause the fibers to contract and result in shrinkage. It is advisable to use lukewarm water to preserve the integrity of the fabric.

2. Agitation:

Excessive agitation, such as vigorous rubbing or wringing during washing, can lead to cashmere shrinkage. Gentle handling is crucial to prevent damage. Consider using a mild detergent and avoid any harsh rubbing.

3. Drying Methods:

The method of drying is another critical factor. Air-drying is the safest option for cashmere, as machine drying, especially at high temperatures, can cause the fabric to shrink. Lay the garment flat on a clean, dry towel to air-dry.

4. Quality of Cashmere:

The quality of the cashmere itself can impact its susceptibility to shrinkage. Higher-quality cashmere fibers are often more resilient, whereas lower-quality ones may shrink more easily. Investing in high-quality cashmere can contribute to garment durability.

5. Preventive Measures:

Taking preventive measures can help minimize shrinkage. Before washing, consider gentle brushing to remove any loose dirt or fibers. Additionally, turning the garment inside out before washing can protect the outer surface from unnecessary stress.

How to Wash and Dry Cashmere?

Washing Cashmere:

  1. Fill a basin or sink with lukewarm water.
    • Avoid using hot water, as it can cause cashmere to shrink.
  2. Add a small amount of mild detergent.
    • Use a detergent specifically designed for delicate fabrics.
  3. Gently submerge the cashmere item.
    • Press the item down to ensure it absorbs the soapy water.
  4. Gently agitate the water.
    • Avoid vigorous rubbing or wringing, which can damage the fibers.
  5. Let the cashmere soak for 10-15 minutes.
    • This helps to loosen dirt and oils.
  6. Rinse thoroughly with cool water.
    • Ensure all soap is washed out to prevent residue.
  7. Squeeze out excess water gently.
    • Avoid twisting or wringing to maintain the garment’s shape.

Drying Cashmere:

  1. Lay the cashmere item flat on a clean, dry towel.
    • Shape it to its original dimensions.
  2. Roll the towel with the cashmere inside.
    • This helps to absorb excess water.
  3. Unroll and reshape the cashmere.
    • Lay it flat on a dry towel or drying rack.
  4. Keep it out of direct sunlight.
    • Sunlight can fade the color and weaken the fibers.
  5. Allow it to air dry completely.
    • This may take a day or more, depending on the humidity.
  6. Avoid using a clothes dryer.
    • High heat can cause cashmere to shrink or lose its softness.
  7. Store properly once dry.
    • Fold and store in a cool, dry place to prevent wrinkles and maintain the fabric’s quality.

Remember, gentle handling and using appropriate detergents are crucial to preserving the softness and longevity of cashmere garments.

Do’s and Don’ts of Cashmere

1. Hand Wash: Gently hand wash cashmere items in cold water using a mild detergent to preserve their softness and color.1. Avoid Machine Washing: Machine washing can cause friction and damage the delicate fibers. Always opt for hand washing.
2. Dry Flat: After washing, lay cashmere items flat on a clean towel to air dry. This prevents stretching and maintains the garment’s shape.2. Avoid Hanging: Hanging cashmere can lead to stretching and deformities. Air-drying on a flat surface is preferable.
3. Store Carefully: Fold cashmere items neatly and store them in breathable garment bags or a cool, dry place to prevent moths and maintain freshness.3. Avoid Sun Exposure: Prolonged exposure to sunlight can fade the color of cashmere. Store items away from direct sunlight.
4. Use a Cashmere Comb: Gently remove any pills or fuzz with a cashmere comb to keep the fabric looking smooth and free from unwanted blemishes.4. Avoid Sharp Objects: Be cautious with jewelry or accessories that may snag or damage the delicate fibers.
5. Rotate Wearing: Give your cashmere pieces a break between wears to allow the fibers to rest and maintain their resilience.5. Avoid Excessive Wear: Wearing the same cashmere item frequently can lead to wear and tear. Rotate your wardrobe to extend the life of each piece.

Following these simple guidelines will ensure that your cashmere items remain soft, vibrant, and last for years to come.

How to Unshrink Cashmere?

Shrinking cashmere can be a common mishap, but fear not! Unshrinking cashmere is possible with the right approach. Follow these steps to restore your beloved cashmere items to their original size and softness.

Step 1: Assess the Damage Begin by examining the shrunken cashmere item. Take note of the extent of the shrinkage to determine if it’s salvageable.

Step 2: Prepare a Basin Fill a basin or sink with lukewarm water. Ensure the water is not too hot, as extreme temperatures can worsen the shrinkage.

Step 3: Add Hair Conditioner Mix a small amount of mild hair conditioner in the lukewarm water. Conditioners help relax the fibers and aid in the unshrinking process.

Step 4: Soak the Cashmere Submerge the shrunken cashmere item into the prepared solution. Gently massage and knead the fabric, making sure the conditioner is evenly distributed.

Step 5: Let it Sit Allow the cashmere to soak for at least 30 minutes. This gives the conditioner time to penetrate the fibers and loosen them up.

Step 6: Drain and Gently Squeeze After soaking, drain the basin and carefully squeeze out excess water without wringing the fabric. Be gentle to avoid causing additional stress to the fibers.

Step 7: Stretch the Cashmere Lay the cashmere item on a flat, clean surface. Gently stretch the fabric back to its original shape, focusing on the areas that have shrunk.

Step 8: Towel Dry Place the cashmere between two clean, dry towels. Press down to remove remaining water and absorb moisture from the fibers.

Step 9: Air Dry Allow the cashmere to air dry naturally. Avoid using direct heat or sunlight, as this can damage the fibers and potentially lead to further shrinkage.

Step 10: Final Touch Once the cashmere is completely dry, give it a final gentle stretch if needed. Your cashmere should now be restored to its original size and ready to wear!

Remember, patience is key during this process, and rushing it may result in damage. If unsure, consider seeking professional assistance for delicate items.


Congratulations on uncovering the truth about cashmere shrinkage with our guide on does cashmere shrink! While cashmere is a delicate fabric, proper care can help you minimize the risk of shrinkage. By following recommended care instructions, such as handwashing in cold water or using a gentle cycle with mild detergent, you can preserve the size and shape of your cashmere garments. 

It’s important to avoid excessive agitation, high heat, and harsh chemicals, as these can compromise the integrity of the fibers. With mindful care and attention, your cashmere pieces will continue to envelop you in luxurious comfort for years to come. Embrace the elegance and longevity of cashmere by treating it with the care it deserves.


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Frequently Asked Questions

How much does cashmere cost?

The cost of cashmere depends on its quality and the store you shop at. But, no matter what price you pay, it’s important to follow the proper cleaning methods and washing instructions for your cashmere garment. Doing so will ensure that you can enjoy it for years to come, making it an investment worth making!

Does cashmere wrinkle easily?

You may be wondering if cashmere wrinkles easily, but the good news is that it’s both machine washable and dry cleanable! As a result, you won’t be spending hours ironing out pesky wrinkles. Instead, you can trust cashmere to keep its shape and appearance–giving you one less thing to worry about as you join the fashionable crowd.

Is cashmere breathable?

Yes, cashmere is breathable! To keep it that way, make sure to follow proper cashmere maintenance and washing techniques. Doing so will ensure your cashmere stays comfortable and breathable for years to come.

Is cashmere suitable for all climates?

You can trust cashmere for all climates. Durability testing and temperature regulation make it an ideal choice for any weather. Allude to the sense of belonging that comes with owning a timeless garment, no matter the season. Cashmere’s superior comfort and style will be your best friend come rain or shine!

Is cashmere animal-friendly?

Yes, cashmere is animal-friendly! It’s produced ethically and sustainably, so it’s good for the environment too. Wear it with pride – you’re part of a growing movement that cares about how our clothing is made.

Does cashmere shrink every time you wash it?

Cashmere is susceptible to shrinking or felting if exposed to too much agitation, whether from using a washing machine on an inappropriate setting or hand washing too vigorously. It is recommended to promptly remove the sweater after the washing cycle is completed.

Does cashmere stretch or shrink over time?

Yes, cashmere can indeed stretch. As a fiber, it possesses more drape than bounce, making it less likely to spring back to its original shape after stretching. Storing cashmere folded in a drawer or on a shelf is advisable to maintain its shape over time.

What happens if you put cashmere in the dryer?

While cashmere can be washed in a machine with precautions, it should never be dried in a dryer. To prevent issues such as shrinking, fraying, or pilling, the recommended method is always to air-dry cashmere.

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