How to Unshrink Cashmere?

How to Unshrink Cashmere?

The 7 Benefits of Cashmere Reading How to Unshrink Cashmere? 7 minutes

You've just bought a beautiful cashmere sweater, thrown it into the wash, and discovered that it is now two sizes too small.

Now what? You probably think you've ruined it and have to throw it away.

No matter how careful we are, sometimes mistakes happen and that may include damaging your beautiful cashmere garment! We understand the heartbreak of watching a prized cashmere piece shrink. It's not just a wool sweater; it's an investment and a beloved wardrobe piece.

But before you mourn its loss, we have solutions to bring it back to life!

Our article provides tried-and-true methods to restore your favorite cashmere garment to its former glory. We'll also let you know the best way to wash your cashmere items in the future. These cashmere-saving tips will ensure you never face the same panic again!

Does Cashmere Shrink?

Yes, cashmere can shrink.

Cashmere is a luxurious woolen fiber from the undercoat of Himalayan goats. A cashmere goat (or pashmina goat) has exceptionally soft wool. Unfortunately, like other wools, it will shrink when exposed to hot water or high heat from a washer or dryer. Heat agitates the woolen cashmere fibers, causing them to constrict which, in turn, causes cashmere to shrink.

Washing cashmere on a high heat cycle can cause shrinking and pilling. So, it's best to separate cashmere goods from other clothing when doing the laundry.

It's also worth mentioning that cashmere should not be exposed to direct sunlight either! But, with proper care, cashmere can last for years.

How To Unshrink Cashmere?

If you have a shrunken sweater on your hands, it's relatively straightforward to unshrink. Luckily, we've got the tricks to help you out!

Materials Needed

  • Large sink or bucket
  • Stainless steel pins
  • Liquid fabric softener (alternatively use baby shampoo or hair conditioner)
  • Wringing cloth (e.g. muslin cloth)
  • Towel (microfibre works best)
  • A foam board

    Step-By-Step Guide

    1. Assessing the Damage

    Before you start to panic, begin by assessing the damage done to your cashmere item.

    Check if the fabric has been felted. This means the wool has 'matted' or 'fused' fibers, resulting in a dense, less flexible, 'non-woven' look. When the natural fibers of your cashmere sweater are in this state, the process, unfortunately, is often irreversible.

    However, if the individual fibers are visible - and your cashmere garment has a bit of stretch left - you may be able to rescue it!

    2. Preparing a Shrinkage Solution

    Next up, prepare your shrinkage solution:

    • Fill a sink or bucket with lukewarm water.
    • Add two tablespoons of liquid fabric softener.

      3. Soaking the Cashmere

      Now that you have your solution ready:

      • Gently hand wash your cashmere item.
      • Soak the cashmere for about 2 hours.

        4. Gently Stretching and Massaging

        This is the most tedious part of the process. A healthy dose of patience is key if you want to successfully restore shrunken cashmere back to its original shape.

        • Remove the garment from the solution but do not rinse it.
        • Gently wring out the excess water from the garment using a wringing cloth. A salad spinner is also a handy tool that can be used.
        • Lay the item flat onto a foam board.
        • Gently stretch the cashmere as far as you can, making sure you stretch it in uniform directions (i.e. pull it evenly on all sides).
        • For larger garments, you may need to 'massage' the fibers when you pull, to ensure an even shape.

            5. Rinsing and Patting Dry

            • Next, rinse the garment under cool water.
            • Carefully pat it dry - a microfibre towel is gentle on the fabric.

              5. Blocking and Reshaping

              While it is still damp, it's time to reshape the cashmere:

              • Pin the edges in place with the stainless pins. Just remember to be careful not to rip or tear the fabric!
              • After an hour, re-stretch your item and re-pin it into place.
              • Repeat this step until there is no more stretch left (i.e. no further stretching is possible).

                6. Air Drying

                Once you have reached the size you want, leave the garment (in its stretched state) to completely air dry - this could take up to a few days!

                7. Final Touches

                Voila! You have successfully restored your shrunken cashmere garment.

                It's important that you do not hang your cashmere garments on hangers, as this can cause them to stretch even further. Instead, fold your cashmere and store it on shelves in your wardrobe.

                Moth-repellant balls can be helpful to use when storing to prevent nasty critters from damaging the cashmere fibers.


                The journey from a shrunken cashmere disaster to a restored masterpiece is entirely possible with the right knowledge and care. With the right techniques and a bit of patience, you can breathe new life into your garment and restore it to its original splendor.

                Remember, cashmere is a delicate fabric that requires special attention and care. By following our guidelines, not only will you be able to salvage your beloved sweater, but you'll also be well-equipped to care for all your cashmere items in the future.


                Can I put cashmere in the dryer?

                No. Cashmere is a delicate fabric and should not be put into the dryer. Instead, allow cashmere to dry naturally. Avoid using hangers as this can warp its original shape.

                Are there other ways to unshrink cashmere?

                Another way you can do this is by soaking your shrunken cashmere in a bucket of warm water and then sandwiching it between two boards. Add two tablespoons of liquid fabric softener (or baby shampoo) and let the sweater soak for about 2 hours.

                While your cashmere is soaking, grab a garment of clothing - that is your desired size - and trace its outline onto a piece of parchment paper. Lay the parchment paper onto a flat surface, such as a foam board or towel.

                Remove the cashmere garment from its soaking solution and lay it on top of the paper. With this method, do not wring out the excess water! Gently stretch the sweater to match the dimensions (size) of the traced garment. Place another foam board (or towel) on top of the soaked cashmere with a heavy item (like a brick) on top.

                Essentially, you are making a 'cashmere sandwich' to press out the excess water. Leave the cashmere item to dry completely. Ta-da!

                Can cashmere be dry-cleaned?

                Yes, cashmere can be occasionally dry-cleaned but it should not be relied on for primary cleaning. While dry cleaning does not use water, other forms of high heat (such as steam) or harsh chemicals may cause it to shrink or damage the delicate fibers.

                Can I wash cashmere in hot water?

                No, do not use hot water when washing cashmere as it will cause it to shrink. Cashmere should be hand-washed in cold or lukewarm water.

                What is the best way to wash cashmere to prevent shrinking?

                The best way to clean cashmere is by handwashing in cold water.

                How do I intentionally shrink cashmere?

                Perhaps you've lost some weight or were given a cashmere sweater that is too big. In this case, intentionally shrinking cashmere is pretty simple. Hand wash the garment in warm water, using two tablespoons of fabric softener. Allow it to soak for 10 to 15 minutes. Using your hands, push out the excess water and allow it to dry on a towel on a flat surface for about 4 - 6 hours.

                If you find it is still too big, repeat this process using hot water. Continue the cycle until you reach your desired fit.

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