Our Guide to washing wool, cashmere & alpaca
At Paul James, we work with natural yarns to produce our knitwear. Unlike their synthetic counterparts, natural fibres provide qualities that are inherent properties. They handle beautifully while providing thermo-regulating, breathability and durability. They're also more sustainable and environmentally friendly, because they're produced using a renewable source and biodegrade.
Learning how to care for natural fibre knitwear is one of the best ways you can ensure that your knitwear will last. While wool and fine fibres like cashmere can sometimes feel intimidating to maintain, understanding how to care for your knit is actually quite simple.
To help you get the most from your knits and ensure they last a lifetime, we've created a simple guide to caring for natural fibre knitwear made from the wools that most customers feel most apprehensive about caring for. In this guide, we've included washing recommendations wool, cashmere and alpaca care guidance to help you maintain your knitwear, ensuring it lasts for many years to come.
Wool is an incredible natural fibre that's made for colder weather and winter months. Its versatility makes it perfect for knitted garments. It's soft, warm and comfortable whilst still being extremely durable.
We'd recommend you only washing woollen garments when its absolutely necessary. This will prevent your wool knitwear from losing its shape, colour and quality. Wool fibres are breathable, and odour resistant, so they don't need to be washed as frequently.
One of the biggest reasons for we see for issues with 100% wool knitwear is customers who have mistakenly washed their knitwear in a machine using a temperature which was too high.
Hand-washing with cool water is always best for your knitwear. It’s less abrasive than machine washing and reduces the risk of shrinkage and damage.
How To Wash Cashmere?
One of the most luxurious fibres, cashmere is a lightweight fibre that is incredibly soft and warm. It's 8 times more insulating than sheep's wool, with hollow, finer fibres. It might be quite a delicate yarn, but it is incredibly hard-wearing and strong which makes it a truly premium yarn.
Like wool, cashmere doesn’t require washing very often and its naturally breathable qualities keep it clean, odour free and easy to maintain. However, extra care should be given when handling cashmere items.
We'd recommend always hand-washing your cashmere knitwear, and only doing so when absolutely necessary. You should always use cool water, as this avoids the risk of damage or shrinkage. When washing cashmere, it's always best to use a cashmere/silk specific detergent, and you should avoid fabric softeners as this affects the handle and can cause pilling.
How To Wash Alpaca?
Alpaca is luxuriously soft whilst being extremely durable and insulating. A perfect combination for our chunky knit lounge socks and walking socks, its natural breathability adds to a superior performance for daily wear, while offering a little every luxury.
Like wool and cashmere, we'd always recommend washing alpaca with cool water and by hand where possible. This is because it's less likely to result in damage or any shrinkage.