What is pashmina? The term “pashmina” refers to the textile made from the finest and highest grade of cashmere wool harvested from the belly of the pashmina goat. A warm and soft natural fiber, pashmina creates women’s garments such as shawls, which are called pashminas. If you are fortunate enough to own a pashmina, you understand the need for protecting your investment in the garment by learning how to care for pashmina.
How to Care for Shawls Made from Pashmina
Before washing or dry cleaning your pashmina shawl, read the garment label. You are looking for the answer to the question: “Is the shawl 100% pashmina, and not combined with viscose or other synthetic materials?” If so, proceed as directed on the garment label. Most pashmina shawls can be safely hand-washed, but consulting the label for your specific garment provides the best information.
Let us look at some advice from various experts on how to care for a pashmina shawl. Most agree that a good first step is to wash the shawl prior to the first wearing to set the dyes. Here are the steps to take to give your shawl a professional hand wash.
How to Hand-wash a Pashmina Shawl
Use cold water and an approved hand-washing type of detergent, like Woolite.
Fill a small pan or the sink with cold water and add the detergent, following the manufacturer’s recommendations for the necessary quantity. Swish the water and detergent mixture with hands until the detergent dissolves.
Gently immerse the shawl, pressing softly with hands, and turning the garment over carefully to wet all the fibers. Set a timer and let the shawl soak for no more than two minutes.
Remove the shawl from the water, and place it on a towel. Empty the tub or sink, and then refill with clean cold water. Dunk the shawl into the water, and then swish it around to rinse. Repeat, if necessary, until the water stays clean with no evidence of any dye residue.
Blot the garment very carefully with a towel, being careful not to scrub, twist, or wring it. Use as many towels as necessary to blot the excess water.
Lay the shawl on a towel and smooth it gently with hands to smooth out wrinkles. Shape it if necessary and leave to dry.
How to Store a Pashmina Shawl
Woven garments, like pashmina shawls, should be folded for storage. Lay the garment on a flat surface, like the top of a bed, and carefully cover the top surface with layers of tissue paper. Fold the shawl in half, and again cover the top surface with tissue. Continue in this manner, putting tissue between the layers to prevent the fabric from wrinkling. Store in a cool place, like a closet shelf, and out of direct sunlight. The storage space should not be humid.
With proper care, a pashmina shawl will last for several lifetimes. In fact, in many families, this type of shawl becomes a treasured family heirloom and transfers from mother to daughter to granddaughter and so forth through generations. Now that you know how to care for pashmina, if you do not already own a pashmina shawl, why not considering investing in one soon?