Authentic pashmina shawls, which are made from the fine cashmere wool of the Changthangi or Kashmiri goat in the Himalayan region, have the potential to shrink if not properly cared for.
Pashmina wool is a natural fiber and can undergo felting, a process in which the fibers interlock and bind together when exposed to moisture, heat, or aggressive agitation, causing the fabric to shrink and become denser.
To minimize the risk of shrinking, it’s important to handle pashmina shawls with care and follow proper care instructions. Here are some general tips for caring for a pashmina shawl:
Dry Cleaning: Many authentic pashmina shawls are labeled as “dry clean only,” and it’s recommended to follow these care instructions to avoid any potential shrinkage or damage. Take your pashmina shawl to a reputable dry cleaner who is experienced in handling delicate fabrics like pashmina.
Hand Washing: If hand washing is recommended, use cold water and a gentle wool or cashmere shampoo. Avoid using hot water or harsh detergents, as they can cause shrinking or damage to the fibers. Gently agitate the shawl in the water without wringing or twisting, then rinse thoroughly and gently press out excess water.
Drying: After washing, gently reshape the shawl to its original size and dimensions, and lay it flat on a clean, dry towel. Roll up the towel to absorb excess moisture, and then lay the shawl flat on a clean, dry surface to air dry naturally, away from direct sunlight or heat sources. Avoid hanging the shawl to dry, as it can stretch the fibers and cause distortion.
Storage: When storing a pashmina shawl, fold it carefully and store it in a clean, dry place, away from direct sunlight, moisture, or strong odors. Avoid hanging the shawl for long periods of time, as it can cause stretching or distortion.
By following proper care instructions and handling your pashmina shawl with care, you can help minimize the risk of shrinkage and keep it in good condition for years to come. If you’re unsure about how to care for your specific pashmina shawl, it’s always best to consult the care instructions provided by the manufacturer or seek advice from a trusted dry cleaner or textile expert.