Cashmere is both beautiful and comfortable, which is a hard combination to find. It's also expensive, and you'll want to make sure that your cashmere pieces stay beautiful and don't wear out early. However, if you wear your cashmere often, the dry-cleaning bill can get unwieldy. You can save some cash by handwashing your cashmere at home, but you need to be careful to avoid damage. Take a look at some tips that can help you keep your cashmere as good as new without overspending on dry cleaning. 

1. Stay Cool

When it comes to both water and soap, take the gentlest route available. That means that you shouldn't wash your cashmere in steaming hot water. Hot water is harsh, and can shrink the clothing or cause the fabric to pill. Cold water is gentler on your clothing, and that's especially important with a material as fragile as cashmere.

In most cases, you don't need the extra heat to get your clothes clean. If your cashmere is particularly soiled, for some reason – or if you just don't want to stick your hands into icy water – then you can use lukewarm water, but any warmer than room temperature is probably too warm.

2. Use Cashmere Soap

While it's fine to handwash your cashmere at home, it's not fine to do it with the same detergent you use to clean your kids' muddy jeans. Remember, you want to treat your cashmere gently. The best way to do that is to pick up a detergent specially formulated to clean cashmere. These are usually unscented soaps with natural ingredients.

However, if you need a less expensive alternative to a cashmere detergent, you can use a very mild soap, like baby shampoo. Just steer clear of the heavy-duty detergents that you use for spaghetti stains or heavy dirt.

3. Soak

Just like you shouldn't use the same soap you'd use for a pair of jeans, you also shouldn't treat the fabric the same way that you'd treat denim or cotton. First, turn the piece of clothing inside out – this reduces the friction on the outer part of the garment, and makes it less likely that you'll be covered in little fabric pills the next time you put it on. Then soak it for several minutes. Don't rub the fabric vigorously.

4. Rinse

Once it's had a chance to soak, rinse by removing the clothing, running a clean sink or tub of water, and then putting your cashmere back in the water. Repeat this as often as necessary, but don't place the cashmere under water to rinse – just keep removing it and placing it into clean water.

5. Blot

When the soap has been removed, you will need to empty the basin, roll the cashmere into a loose ball, and press it against the side of the basin or tub to remove the water. Then blot the remaining water out of the clothing by laying the cashmere out flat on one dry towel and placing another towel on top of it. Press gently on the top towel and then remove it and repeat again with a new, dry towel.

For more tips about keeping your cashmere in peak condition, talk with a professional, like Paula & Chlo cashmere wraps and scarves. Safely handwashing cashmere takes some extra time and attention to detail, compared to hardier fabrics. However, it's worth taking the time to preserve your cashmere and keep your cash.