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If you think a "Hand Wash Only" or "Dry Clean" tag on cashmere clothing sums up all you need to know, then think again. Failing to properly care for a cashmere coat can turn it from fierce to fashion felony in no time flat. If you want to keep your pricey coat as fabtastic as the day you bought it, give it the TLC that it deserves. With the right care, you can keep cashmere looking great and in your fashion line-up for years to come.
Take a good look at your coat's label and type of cashmere, woven or knit. If the label says "Dry Clean Only," stop. Trying to do it yourself could spell big trouble. However, if your label just says "Dry Clean" -- minus the "only" -- you have a choice and you can hand wash it. Hand-washing is usually better for cashmere knits.
Wash a cashmere coat in your bathtub, using cold water and two to three drops of mild detergent. Baby shampoo will also do the trick. After you've finished washing it, rinse it out with cold water until the water runs clear and suds free.
Pull your coat out of the tub, but don't wring it out -- even though it's dripping wet! Briefly roll it up in a thick white towel to soak up the excess water and then unroll it. Arrange your coat in its natural shape and leave it to dry.
Remove any cashmere "pills" that take away from the beauty of your coat. You can use a boar-bristled brush or a sweater shaver to smooth them out.
Wait at least 24 hours before wearing your coat again. This will air it out and help get rid of wrinkles.
Hang a woven coat on a padded hanger in the closet. Don't hang up knit cashmere or you might end up with a coat that's stretched out of shape. Instead, it's best to fold your knits and store them in a drawer.
Dry clean your cashmere knits only if there are stains that are difficult to remove.
Protect cashmere coats from moths by folding and storing clean coats in garment bags or a cedar chest.