Free delivery Worldwide!

Does Cashmere Shrink? If yes, How to Unshrink it?

According to the statistics, a woven fabric shrinks by 2-4% and a knitted textile shrinks by 3-8% of its original shape when wetted [1]. 

The data is not shocking or unique. You might have witnessed upon continuous washing, our clothes deform in terms of size. Same is true for natural fabric – Cashmere! A wool garment, like downy cashmere, can shrink up to 20% [2].

So, Yes, Cashmere shrinks! The question ‘does cashmere shrink’ can be one of the early questions you might have before purchasing such a luxury item. Well, it’s expensive and features of pure cashmere items are still unknown to most.

To answer the question with valid reasons, we have conducted the research to help you shrink and unshrink precious Cashmere.

Why is it easy to shrink Cashmere?

The significant reasons for Cashmere clothes shrinkage is its structure and washing process.

Cashmere is an animal wool from the special breeds of Himalayan Cashmere goats. The cashmere fiber is hollow from inside, that’s the reason behind its lightweight. Like all other wool fabrics, when subjected to moisture or high heat, Cashmere clothing will shrink.

Often fabrics are dumped inside a washing machine, on it and left to be cleaned and dried. That will be a big no for Cashmere. Using the wrong washing habit and hot water will shrink Cashmere. Use cold water while washing to keep Cashmere’s shape timeless.

What shrinks Cashmere and how to do it?

Well, some of you might be thinking ‘I came to learn on protecting my Cashmere and Colorful Cashmere is teaching me to ruin it’. Relax, there might be times when you don’t like the natural shape of cashmere. Times like to get fit into old clothes, resizing gifted cashmere sweaters or just experiment lovers, we got you. 

So, how can we really shrink Cashmere – heat, just continuous bombardment of the low heat. Here’s the step wise process for you:

7 Steps to Shrink Cashmere

When you want to knowingly size down cashmere, it can be a daunting task. It is a repeated process of minute shrinking.

  1. Start from hand washing cashmere (refer to how to wash cashmere properly)
  2. Use warm water (not hot) instead of cold water during hand wash
  3. Throw away excess water
  4. Let the wet cashmere lay on flat surface till it get dry (no direct sunlight)
  5. Wear the cashmere to check if required shrink is met or not
  6. If not, repeat the process of washing using warm water
  7. Repeat until the adequate size is met

Washing your cashmere with warm water is directly proportional to shrinkage. More warm wash results in more shrinkage. So the shrinkage formula is,

Washing with warm water = K (Shrinkage), where K is number of times the cashmere is washed with warm water

There is another way to shrink Cashmere pieces – using a dryer. It is a much riskier approach but it is quick. The drying process relies on high temperature to remove wetness. But the process might damage the delicate cashmere fiber. Not recommended but an efficient process indeed! 

What Unshrinks or stretches Cashmere and how to do it?

Your Cashmere is shrunk accidentally or on purpose you shrink a cashmere scarf much tighter or simply want to stretch it. Is there any way to do this? Yes, there is. And for reverse shrinking, you need a lot of precision and patience. This is how you do it:

10 Steps to Unshrink or Stretch Cashmere

Unshrinking delicate Cashmere garments is a work of art. It is more artistic than you have ever imagined.

  1. Start by hand washing your cashmere
  2. Use cool water to wash cashmere for almost 15 minutes
  3. Remove excess water
  4. Lay the cashmere garment flat
  5. Here’s where art starts. Pull the garment gently and try to stretch it.
  6. Stretch one area at a time. Focus on small and extremely minute increment
  7. Let the garment rest as continuous pulling will ruin garment and you might stretch it more
  8. Pull again
  9. Repeat the process
  10. If the garment is dry and you still haven’t managed to get your desired stretch, repeat from step 1.

Washing your water with cool water and tiny pulls will expand your cashmere. So, Cashmere Unshrink formula is,

Cool water wash + Minute Pull = N (Cashmere Stretch), where, N is the number of times a cashmere garment is pulled.

Comparing Cashmere Shrinking and Stretching Process

Shrinking CashmereUnshrinking Cashmere
Cashmere will downsizeCashmere will get bigger
Use warm water continuouslyUse cold water and pull
Risks aesthetic quality of CashmereRisks cashmere fibers
Washing couple of minutes 15 minutes of cold rinse water
Providing heat is the keyPrecision and Patience is the key

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Does Cashmere shrink on washing?

No, the cashmere doesn’t shrink on washing. However, Cashmere is a delicate fiber and special care needs to be taken. If you don’t use hot water, follow the hand wash process, and store it properly, there will not be cashmere shrinking problems.

Does Cashmere shrink on dry washing?

Cashmere might shrink upon dry cleaning. It will not shrink immediately after dry wash. But the continuous use of heat will certainly affect Cashmere’s shape.

What temperature does cashmere shrink?

Cashmere shrinks when exposed to any sort of heat, water or dry. For reference, a water is considered hot when its temperature is 49-60 degree Celsius. So, it can be said that Cashmere starts shrinking at temperatures 49-60oC.

Does cashmere stretch over time?

Yes, Cashmere stretches over time. Its natural drape is the reason for automatic stretching as the textile gets old. Folding is a better option compared to hanging to store Cashmere.

Is it ok for Cashmere to get wet?

It’s completely fine to wet your Cashmere. Not washing cashmere will reduce its lifespan. But your washing technique should be a luxury fabric friendly.

Should you size up for Cashmere?

Sizing Cashmere depends upon the season, clothing type and your preference. If you purchase for winter, you can size up for a looser fit. For summer, you can get cashmere of your own size. As you can stretch the shrunken cashmere, you should not worry about getting a bigger one.

Does 100% Cashmere shrink?

No matter how good your cashmere is, it does shrink. 100% cashmere will shrink if you wash it carelessly. Even though it shrinks, you can always stretch it. The cycle of shrinking and expanding will not severely impact Cashmere’s lifespan.

External References

Making shrinkage percentage consistent in denim garments manufacturing and washing processes (2022).

Fabric Shrinkage (2023).