Cashmere is a luxurious and coveted fabric known for its soft texture and lightweight warmth. For those who love luxury, cashmere provides an unparalleled experience and is often considered the pinnacle of refined style and comfort. Let’s explore the wonders of this fabulous fiber.

The Origins of Cashmere

Cashmere wool comes from cashmere goats, who produce the fine, downy fibers as part of their winter coat. Cashmere goats originated in the Kashmir region between India and Pakistan, hence the name cashmere. The goats developed their super-soft undercoat to help withstand the extreme cold temperatures of the Himalayan mountains.

Today, while still produced in Kashmir, the majority of cashmere comes from Mongolia and China. The long, fine hairs are combed out during the goats’ spring molting season when they naturally shed their winter coat. It takes about four years for a goat to produce enough fiber for just one cashmere sweater!

The Appeal of Cashmere

Cashmere is coveted for many reasons:

  • Extreme Softness: The fibers are very fine, averaging between 14-19 microns (a human hair is 60 microns). This makes it one of the softest natural fibers.
  • Lightweight Warmth: Cashmere provides excellent insulation without the bulk. It’s up to 8X warmer than sheep wool.
  • Breathability: The fibers have a natural crimp that allows space for air circulation. This makes cashmere less likely to overheat than other materials.
  • Natural Luxury: Cashmere is rare and highly exclusive, driving up demand. Less than 0.1% of the world’s wool production is cashmere.
  • Versatility: Cashmere garments range from winter coats to lightweight scarves and accessories. It adapts well to various wardrobe needs.
  • Durability: Properly cared for, cashmere can last for decades. Some antique garments are still around today.

Caring For Cashmere

To get the most out of cashmere pieces, proper care is essential:

  • Hand or delicately machine wash in cold water with a mild detergent. Avoid hot water.
  • Reshape the garment while still damp and lay flat to dry. Avoid hanging or tumble drying to prevent stretching.
  • Fold knitwear neatly rather than hanging to avoid sagging. Store off-season cashmere packed away with cedar or lavender.
  • Avoid pilling by layering cashmere carefully. Turn garments inside out before washing. Use a cashmere comb to gently remove pills.
  • Protect from moths by periodically airing out in sunlight and having professionally cleaned.

Shopping for Cashmere

When buying cashmere, here are some tips for finding quality:

  • Source Matters: Look for reputable brands that detail the origin and source material of their cashmere. Mongolian and Italian cashmere are prized.
  • Check the Fibers: Pure cashmere should be labeled 100% cashmere. Beware of ‘cashmere blends’ which reduce cost but also softness.
  • Check the Weight: Higher weights around 14-19 microns are best. Super light cashmere under 12 microns may sacrifice durability.
  • Look for Finer Threads: Examine knitwear to ensure individual threads are fine and tight, not loose and thick.
  • Seek out Ethics: Opt for brands that source cashmere sustainably and humanely. Check for certifications.

Enjoying Cashmere for the Long Term

Cashmere is undoubtedly a luxury indulgence. But with proper selection and care, it’s built to provide lasting value and sophistication. For those who appreciate fine craftsmanship and comfort, cashmere is an investment that can be enjoyed for years or even decades down the road. Treat your cashmere well and it will prove itself as a wardrobe staple that evokes timeless elegance every time you wear it.

Frequently Asked Questions About Cashmere

Here are some common questions about cashmere and its care:

How often can cashmere be worn between washings?

Cashmere can be worn for several uses before needing to be washed, unless it becomes stained or soiled. Air it out occasionally and steam or spot clean as needed between full wash cycles.

Does cashmere have to be dry cleaned?

No, cashmere does not require dry cleaning. It can safely be hand washed or washed on the delicate cycle of a washing machine using a mild detergent. Avoid frequent trips to the dry cleaner.

Can cashmere go in the dryer?

It’s best to avoid putting cashmere in the dryer, as the heat can damage the fibers. Allow cashmere to air dry flat to retain the shape and softness. If using the dryer is unavoidable, use the lowest heat setting and remove immediately after drying.

Does cashmere pill easily? How can pilling be removed?

Because the fibers are so fine, cashmere is prone to pilling. This can be minimized by careful washing, correct storage, and avoiding excessive abrasion. Use a cashmere comb or fabric shaver to gently remove existing pills. Take care not to damage the fabric.

How can moths be prevented from damaging cashmere?

Moth larvae feed on protein fibers like cashmere. Prevent them by periodically airing out cashmere, cleaning before storage, and using cedar balls or lavender sachets as a deterrent. Freezing for 48 hours can also kill moth eggs.

Is cashmere expensive to maintain and repair?

Quality cashmere is a long-term investment. With proper care, it will last for years. While pricier than other fabrics, repairs like reweaving holes or replacing buttons are worthwhile for treasured items. Find an experienced tailor or fabric specialist.


For those who appreciate luxury, cashmere’s rare indulgence is hard to resist. Now that you know the origins, appeal, and care for this incredible fiber, you can shop for and maintain cashmere like a pro. Cherish cashmere as a staple of comfort and style that when cared for properly, can last a lifetime. The extra effort pays dividends in enjoying this most wondrous and luxurious material for decades to come.