Why does cashmere shrink

As a noble fiber material, cashmere is often used to make high-grade cashmere products, but why it is easy to shrink in the cleaning process is a question worthy of in-depth study. The unique properties of cashmere give it exceptional softness and warmth, making it ideal for winter clothing and accessories. However, with the increasing demand for cashmere products, shrinkage has become a key challenge in cashmere care.


Cashmere fiber is unique in its slender and soft properties, which makes cashmere products have excellent touch and warmth. Cashmere fibers are relatively small in diameter but long in length, which gives it a natural denser feel and is also one of the root causes of shrinkage problems.


Effects of warm and hot water

Cashmere is a high-quality fiber, and its sensitivity to water temperature during washing cannot be ignored. The use of warm or hot water may cause changes in the fiber structure of the cashmere, which causes the fiber to shrink. This phenomenon involves the structural changes of the molecular layer of cashmere and the influence of water molecules.


The fiber structure of cashmere consists of proteins, which are arranged in a spiral pattern to form the basic unit of the fiber. When cashmere comes into contact with warm or hot water, the water molecules penetrate the fibers and interact with the protein molecules. This interaction may lead to the deformation of the helix structure of the protein, which in turn causes the contraction of the fiber.


The influence of water molecules on cashmere is mainly manifested in two aspects. First, hydrogen bonds form between the water molecules and the cashmere molecules, changing the relative positions of the fiber molecules. Secondly, the presence of water molecules will break some of the weak bonds between the cashmere molecules, leading to the adjustment of the molecular structure. These two factors work together to cause the cashmere to shrink during washing in warm or hot water.


Overheated water should be avoided when washing cashmere. Overheating water may not only cause the shrinkage of the cashmere, but also make the fibers of the cashmere more fragile and easily damaged. Therefore, choosing cold or warm water is a safer and more suitable washing option.


Special detergent selection

Cashmere fibers are relatively soft and therefore very sensitive to strong detergents. Strong cleaners may contain too many chemicals that, when in contact with cashmere, may cause damage to the wool scales on the surface of the fiber, destroying the natural shine and fiber strength of the cashmere. This damage may make the cashmere more prone to deformation and shrinkage.


Cashmere is also sensitive to alkaline environments. Too alkaline detergent may destroy the acid-base balance on the surface of the cashmere fiber, and then lead to the instability of the fiber structure. In this case, the cashmere fiber easily loses its original elasticity and becomes fragile, increasing the risk of shrinkage.


In order to avoid damage to cashmere from overly strong or alkaline detergents, it is recommended to choose mild detergents specifically designed for cashmere. These detergents usually contain natural ingredients and do not contain overly harsh chemicals. Mild detergents can effectively clean cashmere products while maintaining the natural properties of cashmere and reducing the risk of damage to the fiber structure.


When using any detergent, pay attention to the amount, especially for cashmere. Too much detergent may remain on the fibers during the cleaning process, which may not only lead to incomplete cleaning, but also may cause unnecessary burdens on the cashmere. The correct dosage helps to maintain the cleaning effect while reducing the possible damage of the detergent to the cashmere.


Improper kneading and wringing

When cleaning cashmere products, rubbing too strongly may have a negative effect on cashmere fibers. The fiber structure of cashmere is relatively delicate and easy to be damaged by external forces. In the process of intense kneading, the fine cashmere fibers may be excessively rubbed, resulting in the weakening of the binding force between the fibers, which in turn affects the overall fiber structure. In this case, the cashmere fibers may break or crack, making the product appear tight and shrunken after washing.


In order to avoid this problem, it is recommended to use a mild detergent when washing cashmere by hand and avoid rubbing vigorously. Instead, a gentle massage can be used to evenly penetrate the detergent into the cashmere fibers, ensuring that the integrity of the fibers is maintained while washing.


Over-wringing is another problem that can cause cashmere to shrink. Cashmere fibers are more likely to deform in a wet state, and during the wringing process, the fibers are overstretched and twisted, potentially leading to a reduction in overall size. Especially in the use of more vigorous wringing methods, cashmere products are more vulnerable to damage.


To avoid problems caused by over-wringing, it is recommended to use a gentle approach when squeezing excess water. The cashmere product can be gently squeezed to remove excess water, but not too hard, so as not to cause deformation and shrinkage of the fiber structure. In addition, the use of clean towels to absorb water is also an effective way to maintain the texture of cashmere while avoiding excessive mechanical damage.


With the correct cleaning and care methods, the cashmere fiber can be protected to the maximum extent possible to prevent shrinkage problems that may occur during rubbing and wringing.


Improper drying method

Sunlight is one of the most direct drying tools in nature, but for cashmere products, exposure to sunlight can lead to a series of problems. First, the sun’s ultraviolet rays may cause aging and deterioration of cashmere fibers, making them lose their original elasticity and softness. Cashmere is delicate and fragile because of its fiber, and long-term exposure to ultraviolet light may lead to micro-cracks on the fiber surface, which will affect the overall strength and durability. Secondly, the heat in the sun may trigger the shrinkage of the cashmere fibers, which in turn leads to changes in the size of the cashmere products. Therefore, exposure to sunlight is a potential cause of shrinkage of cashmere.


The use of high temperature blowers or hot air drying machines is also a potential risk factor for cashmere products. High temperature will accelerate the evaporation of water in cashmere fiber, but it may also cause excessive heat to change the structure of the fiber. The fiber structure of cashmere is more sensitive to temperature, and excessive temperature may lead to fiber shrinkage and deformation. In addition, the overheated wind will make the cashmere product too dry, so that it loses its natural oil, reducing its softness and gloss. Therefore, the use of high temperature blowing tools may destroy the structure of cashmere to a certain extent, leading to the shrinkage of cashmere products.


When drying cashmere products, we should choose a gentle natural air drying method to avoid excessive sun exposure and high temperature wind to ensure that cashmere products maintain the original texture and shape. The correct drying method is an important part of maintaining the quality of cashmere products, and it is also an effective means to avoid shrinking problems.


How to properly care for cashmere

  • Choose a mild detergent

In order to properly care for cashmere, you should first choose a mild detergent specifically designed for cashmere. Such detergents usually contain soft ingredients that effectively clean cashmere fibers without damaging their structure. Avoid using cleaners that contain strong chemicals or bleach to avoid causing irreversible damage.


  • Use cold water

Temperature is a crucial factor in cashmere care. When washing cashmere, use cold water instead of hot water. Hot water can cause the wool fibers to deform and shrink, so choosing cold water can better protect the natural shape and size of the cashmere.


  • Gently scrub

When cleaning cashmere, avoid too strong scrubbing, choose a gentle way to clean. Gentle scrubbing helps to avoid damage to the fabric structure while effectively removing stains. Gently massage the cashmere with your fingers, especially in areas with stains, and avoid using too intense scrubbing to avoid damage and shrinkage of the cashmere.


  • Gently squeeze the water

After washing the cashmere, do not strongly wring out the cashmere product. Instead, choose to gently squeeze the water to remove excess water from the cashmere. Intense wringing can cause the fibers to deform and shrink, so choosing a gentle way to handle wet cashmere is crucial.


  • Lay flat to dry

Finally, lay the cashmere product flat on a clean towel or a well-ventilated surface to dry. Avoid using clothes hangers or tongs, as this can cause the cashmere fibers to deform. Make sure the shape of the cashmere is maintained and dry in a cool, ventilated place away from direct sunlight and high temperatures.

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