Cashmere, Mohair & Angora Sweaters – Wash Away!

sweaterFall is right around the corner, and soon we will be bundling up in our sweaters to ward off the chill.  I am a real sweater lover.  I have stacks and stacks of them in every color, style, fiber, and weight.  My personal preference is cashmere, as I can wear it against my sensitive skin.  Wool, angora and mohair tend to irritate me, so I wear a layer in between.  I also have a fabulous vintage beaded cardigan collection.

I will admit that one of my biggest pet peeves is the dry cleaning of sweaters!  Please do not, I repeat, do not dry clean sweaters!

Dry cleaning leaves the fibers stiff and flat.  The natural fibers were never meant to be chemically cleaned.  When was the last time you saw a sheep, goat, or angora rabbit being run through a dry cleaning process?  No; they are out in the elements.  Water is certainly not going to hurt!  In fact, a gentle hand washing in cool water and gentle cleanser will bring out the natural beauty of the fiber.  It plumps and fluffs up the yarn and brings out incredible softness.

I air-dry the sweaters on special flat sweater dryers.  These are good because you can shape and block the sweater before it dries.  They are mesh, so both sides dry evenly without turning.

Vintage sweaters have always turned out well for me being hand-washed.  Even delicate beaded sweaters flourish.  I wash them all!  In fact, I have a stack of sweaters waiting to be freshly washed for the cooler temps, so I must heed my own advice soon.

So even if you see the dreaded ‘Dry Clean Only’ label…ignore it.  Tell ’em Marilyn said you could hand wash!

Get ready to wear those fabulously sexy sweaters, girls!


14 Responses to “Cashmere, Mohair & Angora Sweaters – Wash Away!”

  1. Deb

    I have seen your sweaters on ebay.. They are soooo fluffy and beautiful.

  2. amy

    i just washed my mohair sweater but i did not dry it.What should i do if it is wet and very tight.Should i let it dry?Will it go back to its softness?Will it relax?

  3. finnfemme

    Hi Amy,
    What you can do is gently stretch it and block it into shape. Then let it air- dry flat, preferably on a mesh sweater dryer if you have one. It should relax and go back to softness once it’s dry.

  4. Taylor

    Hi, just bought an angora beaded sweater from a vintage fair. Smells a bit musty… Do you put anything in your handbag such as fabric softener?

  5. finnfemme

    Hi Taylor,
    If you gently wash and air-dry your angora sweater, it should turn out great. A trick is to turn it inside out to protect the beading. Good luck!

    I don’t use fabric softener for anything, as I find it too chemical and its scent overbearing.

  6. Meg

    I have a wool, synthetic & 16% angora cardigan that has shed beyond belief. Can I do anything? I rang the designers hq, where the receptionist confessed that they had to wash theirs 6 times on the hand wash cycle of the machine before it settled down and to add some fabric softener to settle the fibres. I did. It shed like crazy but didn’t settle. I brushed it which helped. Can I do anything to reverse this process? Everything I wear with it gets covered in hair.

  7. finnfemme

    Hi Meg,
    Wow, that sweater sounds like a bit of a disaster! Now I am curious as to who the designer is -hehe.

    What I would do is gently hand wash it in baby shampoo, rinse, and then let it soak in warm water with a dollop of hair conditioner added. Yes, hair conditioner! Then block and let air-dry. This should help settle the fibers. Good luck!

  8. Linda Tipler

    how can I clean out the many tiny leaf particles in my 4 y.o’s Polyester , raised pile sweater? Sticky tape doesn’t grab them. Brushing will cause pilling or removal of nap loops. The clothes dryer , on low, fluffed some out

  9. Marcy

    I have a beautiful pearl white mohair sweater which i recently sold. I need to wash it before i ship it out, but I’m afraid if i do i will ruin it somehow. Can you tell me how to wash and dry the mohair (and what i should use to do so) that will keep the sweater looking beautiful and not potentially ruin the white?

  10. Lori Estes-Blunt

    To get those nasty little fur balls off your sweaters—USE A RAZOR! YES a razor BELIEVE IT OR NOT will NOT cut your sweater! Use in downward motion only]

  11. Carrie

    Dear Marilyn:

    I found a top-tier wool and mohair sweater while thrifting and would like to hand-wash it…but it also has some narrow strips of knotted silk fabric embellishments stitched on the body and sleeves. Is it still safe to wash? I really don’t want to take it to the cleaners, because in the past they’ve destroyed the buttons on two of my sweaters.

    Thanks for your help!

  12. finnfemme

    Hi Carrie,
    If it were me, it would gently hand-wash it in cold water and Woolite or baby shampoo. But hey, I hand wash EVERYTHING! 😀 Of course, block it and air-dry it on a sweater dryer. Good luck!

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