If you live in a colder climate, wool and cashmere are probably standbys in your closet during the fall and winter months. From gloves to scarves to sweaters, these materials make for both warm and stylish attire. Many wool and cashmere items, though, suggest dry cleaning, which can quickly get expensive. If you’re on a budget, you might have considered washing your wool and cashmere wardrobe at home in the past but decided not to for fear of ruining things you love to wear.

Not to fret; this guide is here to help! As you continue reading, you will discover how you can clean wool and cashmere clothes at home without damaging them in any way. It might be a good idea to print this guide and hang it in your laundry room so you can reference it as needed until you feel comfortable with the process.

Prepare Your Clothes to Be Laundered

The first thing you need to do, which might not be necessary in all cases, is getting your wool and cashmere clothing ready to be washed. The worse condition an item is in, the more prep work will be required. If some areas are pilling, use a lint brush or a fabric shaver to remove the fuzz. If the item is particularly smelly, spray it with distilled white vinegar. Finally, if there are noticeable stains, use a mild dish detergent (like Ivory) to pre-treat them.

Hand-Washing Wool and Cashmere

If you opt to hand-wash your wool and cashmere clothes, the first step is to fill a sink with cool water and detergent of your choice (do not choose something harsh or heavy duty for these items). Then, swirl each article in the water until it is fully saturated. After you are satisfied that the item has been cleaned sufficiently, press as much water as possible out of the item; do NOT wring it! The best way to drain an item is to lay it on a bath towel and roll the towel up, pressing gently as you go.

Machine Washing Wool and Cashmere

If you decide to try machine washing your wool and cashmere clothes, you must first make sure any buttons, zippers, and other closures are shut. Then, turn the item inside out (unless it is a scarf) and put it into a pillowcase. After tying the pillowcase, run the item(s) through your washer on a cold, delicate cycle.

Drying Your Items

Wool and cashmere clothing should never be put in a dryer. Instead, lay each item flat on a dry bath towel for 12-24 hours per side. If any articles wrinkle, use a fabric steamer on them before returning them to your closet.

Once you learn how to wash wool and cashmere items at home correctly, you will find that it doesn’t take much time. In fact, you’ll probably save time compared to visiting your local dry cleaner on a regular basis! You will also assuredly save money. Both of these benefits make it well worth the minor learning curve you will initially experience.