Incredibly soft, lightweight and sensual, precious and rare Cashmere is the ultimate wool. Because cashmere is so sought-after there are many “pretenders”. To make sure the cashmere you buy is genuine, check the sewn in label. This label by law has to list the exact fiber content of the garment. Some companies advertise that their garment is cashmere but when the label is read the actual content may not be 100% cashmere.
Another good test is to gently rub the cashmere on your chin as the chin is the most sensitive part of the face. If the wool feels scratchy or prickly, the cashmere isn’t 100% cashmere or is of an inferior grade and still contains some of the animal guard hairs.
Cashmere is made from the undercoat of Cashmere goats that live in some areas of China, Mongolia, Iran, New Zealand, Australia and Afghanistan. The undercoat is combed from the animal in the spring during molting season when the animals naturally shed their hair. In Iran, Afghanistan, New Zealand and Australia the goats are sheared with each goat producing about 3.5 ounces of the useable fiber. It takes about 3 goat undercoats to produce a sweater which explains why the cost of cashmere garments is high.
Cashmere has excellent insulating properties and is used in men’s and women’s coats, jackets, skirts, sweaters, slacks, scarves, hats and robes. Blankets for children and babies are pure luxury keeping the child warm without adding weight or bulk.
Cashmere jackets, coats, suits are dry clean only. Cashmere knits can be hand washed using a mild shampoo. Bleaches of any kind cannot be used as both oxygen and chlorine bleaches will damage the fibers. Cashmere care
One of the tests to determine wool is with the use of chlorine bleach:
Cut two small swatches of the fabric to be tested. Submerge one swatch in chlorine bleach for 8 hours. Keep the other swatch for comparison. After 8 hours the wool in the chlorine bleach will have dissolved or totally degraded. If the test swatch has other fibers left, the wool is a blend of wool and other fibers.