Can You Unshrink Your Cashmere Clothing Items?

Can You Unshrink Your Cashmere Clothing Items?

It is clear from the very first touch that cashmere clothing is not like many other materials and needs to be handled with a little more care than you might expect.

Cashmere is a soft, natural material which has abnormally thin threads weaved together using a careful process. This is what gives the material its softness, but also makes it more vulnerable to stretching, warping and even tearing when washed using conventional means.

The best way to wash cashmere is either using dry cleaning methods or carefully handwashing the garment in warm water, and machine washing can sometimes have very bad side effects.

However, accidents do happen sometimes even with handwashing, and that can lead to cashmere garments shrinking.

Do not fret, as depending on the reason why your item has shrunk, it is very possible to unshrink it.

Why Does Cashmere Shrink?

As a natural material, cashmere is more prone to shrinking than other materials, and the biggest cause of this is a combination of water and heat.

The natural fibres are good at absorbing liquid, and when they do they return to their natural state, which can cause the weaves to shrink if they had been stretched as part of the manufacturing process.

Add to this that cashmere naturally shifts based on its environment and cashmere can be prone to changing via gravity, pressure, rain or washing. The agitation of a washing machine can also have a major effect.

You can easily avoid this by washing at a lower temperature, hand washing the material and lying it flat when you dry it, ideally between two towels so that gravity does not cause it to pull against any hangers, clothes pegs or parts of a clothes horse.

However, if it has shrunk, there are a few methods you can try to fix it.

The Slow Pulse Method

When you notice your garment has shrunk, wash it in cold or tepid water for at least ten minutes. Do not use warm water as it can make the shrinkage worse

Next, gently press out excess water so the garment is damp but not soaking wet. Try to avoid wringing it out too vigorously as this can potentially damage the fibres.

Lay it out onto a flat surface and very gently stretch the fabric using a pulsing method. Pull slowly in larger sections and then release. It is essential to be careful as doing this part too vigorously whilst the cashmere is damp can rip a big hole in it.

Keep the stretching uniform, symmetrical and even. Sometimes it can help to trace another garment with the same dimensions and try to pull it to match those measurements.

Once it reaches the right size and shape, place clean, flat items on top of it to ensure it keeps its shape until it completely dries.

If done correctly, it will dry to the correct dimensions and look like it had never been shrunk before, but an ounce of prevention will always be worth more than a pound of cure, so try to stick to cold hand-washing and dry cleaning.