Contrary to popular belief, that stain on your favorite cashmere, in most cases, needn’t ruin your day. We’ve put together some tips to keep you looking your best, even when your fork or glass may stray.
There’s a LOT of conflicting advice out there. After wading through and gathering data from extensive sources such as Woolmark, Martha Stewart and even Iowa State University (plus a good bit of grannie fixes), we’ve done our best to narrow down the most consistent bits (of advice).
Knowing your cashmere is key. Stain-removal may not be rocket science, but it is a science starting with the fibres. As a protein-based material (think goats!!), cashmere along with its silk and wool cohorts, have their own set of stain removal rules.
Red wine (tannin stains)
This also includes raspberries, tea, coffee and fruit juices such as tomato and orange…
Water-based stains like wine will be absorbed more deeply by natural fibres. In case of a spill, it’s best to treat ASAP with water and a little pH-neutral dish-washing liquid (lubricration helps assist the wine’s exit). Do not use natural soap or dish-washing machine detergents. Being highly alkaline, these can and will set rather than remove tannin stains, as well as damage protein fibres.
Gently sponge the area following with low-pressure rinses of cool water until gone.
And the question of rubbing salt onto the stain – would not recommend this. Some sources warn this will set the stain permanently, with yet another highly regarded one suggesting that you can rinse using water containing salt. On a personal note, have used white wine vinegar the morning after, on my red wine stain, and watched with delight as it disappeared in front of my eyes!
Greasy & oil based stains
Think Christmas pudding, mayonnaise, butter, make-up, hand lotions…
Begin by gently blotting to remove any excess. We then recommend pre-treating the stain by soaking the garment in mild shampoo, or using a pH neutral dish-washing liquid that cuts grease. Follow this with a handwash in cool water.
Another suggestion we discovered applies baking soda to absorb the grease (finish by shaking or brushing the baking soda off the garment after a few minutes).
Some additional tips:
Think cream, eggs, mud, blood and baby formula…
Again gently squeeze or blot fabric under running water to remove as much of the stain as possible. From here, we recommended gently dabbing the affected area with white vinegar (for blood) or diluted white vinegar followed with a gentle handwash with shampoo in lukewarm water.
Researched especially for one particular client who had a very large chocolate mishap on her cashmere sweater!
It’s important to immediately, but gently remove any excess chocolate. A dull knife or a spoon will work (be careful not to spread the chocolate to the clean parts). Follow this with a low-pressure cold water rinse from the back side of the stain.
No luck? From here, our best advice is to pre-treat the stain by soaking the garment in a mild shampoo, or using a pH neutral dish-washing liquid that cuts grease. Gently rub a liquid detergent into the chocolate stain area, wait a few minutes and then soak in cold water for a good 15 minutes, whilst gently rubbing to loosen the stain. Be careful not to be over zealous as you can “scrub rub” the garment into nicely formed pills if you use excessive force! Rinse thoroughly and all going well the stain will be gone.
Your favorite bubbly is fairly easy to deal with. A quick blot in cool water and rinse should do the trick with this plant-based stain. Although our unofficial sources recommend a quick lick when no one’s looking. Don’t you dare waste a drop!
And last thoughts on stain removal – one reviewer shared a rather ‘creative’ opinion (And may we firmly suggest you do NOT do this!). It may fix the stain once and for all, but it will also fix your ability to enjoy your garment!
“How do you get wine off a cashmere sweater?”
Answer: “Set the sweater on fire and the stain will disappear!”
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