How to protect a cashmere coat.
January 21, 2007 2:57 PM   Subscribe

i just had a cashmere coat made in china. it's beautiful, and i'd like to keep it that way. can i use scotchgard or something like that on it for preventative care?
posted by andifsohow to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (2 answers total)
The laundress has some tips. I would avoid all artificial treatments, including dry cleaning.
posted by beagle at 3:33 PM on January 21, 2007

Best answer: Woven cashmere fabric has different "hand" than the loftier yarns from which cashmere sweaters are knitted. Cashmere fabric can be drycleaned and pressed, but pure cashmere fabric is not as sturdy as wool or wool-blend fabric. Often cashmere is blended with wool to make fabric that is more dimensionally stable than pure cashmere. But even the finest cashmere fabric can be successfully dry cleaned, steamed and pressed, with standard dry cleaning solutions and equipment, if care is excercised. Basically, cashmere fabric should be handled as any other delicate natural fabric would be, meaning that the garment should be carefully and minimally pre-treated for spots and stains, the dry cleaning process should be done in as short a cleaning cycle as possible (to minimize abrasion and resultant pilling), the garment should be handled and blocked with attention to avoid stretching, and pressing should be done at low temperature, using only cool steam and high vacuum, if necessary, to set creases. You should seek out cleaners with expertise in handling such fabrics, as in any metropolitan area, some cleaners will specialize in doing delicate fabric and garments, such as wedding gowns, and high value garments, and other cleaners often sub-contract work with them, to minimize their own liability for damage to such things.

One other thing to be aware of is that some of the reason that low cost garments in luxury fabrics from China are available at very attractive price points, is that interior findings, such as fusible interlinings, shoulder pads, pocket interlinings, and buttons are not always of the highest quality, or put on with the proper equipment to achieve the best life. In particular, I have seen men's suits from a few friends who travel regularly to China, which seemed to be great custom tailoring bargains, yet had the fusible interlining so poorly fused to the shell fabric, that it delaminated in a number of spots at the first dry cleaning. If this happens, it is not a fault of the cleaner, but of the garment maker, or the supplier of the interlining material, but you as a consumer may have little recourse. The problem is widely enough known in the drycleaning business, that you may find few cleaners willing to take on the garment, unless you release them from claims in advance.

As for using a stain repellent, you could choose to do so, but an application of a product such as the DIY spray on version of Scotchguard may noticeably change the "hand" or feel of the garment, on a fabric as fine as cashmere, and anything less than a thorough coating will not material improve the stain resistance of the coat. You need to check the colorfastness of the material on a selvage edge before applying such treatments overall, and if you do this, you will need to re-treat the garment regularly after dry cleaning.
posted by paulsc at 12:21 AM on January 22, 2007

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