Twelve Steps notwithstanding, we recognize that many of you won't read the whole treatise much less follow it step-by-step. For the impatient, here's the skinny:
Hand-washing is better than dry-cleaning
Wash gently with warm water and pure soap
Blot dry without twisting
Use a moderate-warm iron with a cover sheet
Hanging unbunched will get rid of most wrinkles
If you love it, let it go (for a while)
This is going to sound somewhat self-serving, but... one good way to keep your precious pash looking fresh is to give it a break. Let those fibers recoil to their pristine kinkiness, tighten up the weave, boost the loft, shed the wrinkles. We're not suggesting you go un-pashed -- just rotate. There's nothing like a walk-in closet rainbow-draped with a riot of color to boost one's spirit. And which would you rather do right now? Wash that lonely warhorse? Or shop for a rainbow?
Shower your pash with Affection
Some of you have asked why we don't
put "Dry Clean Only" tags on our pashmina shawls, like the Big Names
do. Well, first of all, we think tags look tacky. Secondly, it's
easy to damage the shawl in the process of removing a tag. And third,
pashminas can be washed by hand. More to the point, dry cleaning
can be pretty tough on pashminas!
Now, before we get into this, we must insist that we have no particular
expertise in laundering anything, and certainly will take no responsibility
for any contretemps. In fact, some of us don't even separate whites
and colors. But we have asked around quite a bit, and here is what
we got from our most knowledgeable sources.
Naturally, getting clean involves a 12-Step Method. Don't skip steps!!
1. Clean your bathtub thoroughly. Plug the drain.
2. Lay the pash flat, folded as necessary, depending on the size of your tub.
3. Using a hand-held shower, soak the shawl with lukewarm or cool water.
4. Squirt the shawl with a moderate amount of neutral detergent. Baby shampoo is okay.
5. Pat and squush the shawl to make sure the soap penetrates the entire piece.
6. Let it soak for 15 minutes.
7. Unplug the bathtub and let the water drain away.
8. Using the hand-held shower, rinse the pashmina thoroughly.
9. Remove the pashmina from the bathtub, and fold it small enough to fit into a large ziplock plastic bag.
10. Seal the bag and shake for a couple of minutes.
11. Remove the pashmina from the bag and lay it on a fresh, dry towel. Allow to blot for 15 minutes.
12. Push aside the shower curtain and hang unwrinkled from the shower rod. Allow to dry thoroughly.
How to... iron your pashmina? really??
Actually, a pashmina shawl does not generally require ironing. Just hang it up, unbunched, and let the wrinkles fall out. For a crisper, more elegant look, you might want to have it professionally pressed; or do it yourself:
a) Prepare the area around your ironing board or table. The shawl is a
long piece of fabric, and you don't want to have it mopping your floor. We
usually cover the floor area with a clean bedsheet.
b) Pre-warm your steam iron to a moderate heat.
c) Lay out your pashmina on the ironing board and cover it with a thin
cloth: you want to avoid direct contact between the pashmina cloth and the
iron. Again, a clean bedsheet will do the trick.
d) Iron the shawl from one fringed end to the other. Move the iron up and
down, not left and right. Use the steamer liberally.
By the way, if you decide to entrust your pashmina to a dry cleaner,
you should make sure that the establishment has had experience with
this fabric. Tighten every fringe knot beforehand, but be aware
that the tassles on the fringes are likely to lose their virginal
fluff, anyway. Make sure that the pash is carefully inspected as
it is received by the dry cleaner, and be sure to open and inspect
it thoroughly at the counter when you receive it.
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