The Safe Way to Wash Wool & Cashmere Sweaters & A Great Book!

Welcome to the 421st Metamorphosis Monday!

A couple of months ago I purchased this navy and white shirt-jacket online at J. Crew. I loved it sooo much, I searched and found last year’s version in a different color on eBay. Then I turned right around and purchased a second navy/white one because I was worried I’d never find it again when the first one eventually wore out. That’s how much I love this shirt! Have you ever felt that way about a favorite sweater or dress or a pair of shoes?

Besides how cute it is, it is amazingly warm and without any bulk. It’s 40% wool and 0% scratchy! Hope J. Crew continues to carry it each year, bringing it back in different colors. I could literally wear it everyday throughout fall and winter. I have to force myself to wear something else each day. lol

Update: This shirt is sold out at J.Crew but a BNOTP reader found it on eBay here: Shirt-Jacket.

J. Crew Buffalo Check Shirt Jacket


Since it’s part wool, the care label recommends dry cleaning. I hate dry cleaning things because when I’ve done that in the past with shirts, they never look the same again. It often dulled down the colors and changed how the shirt felt. So I knew there was no way I was going to dry clean it.

I did some research and this was the product I saw most recommended for hand-washing fine wool clothing like cashmere sweaters: Wool and Cashmere Shampoo.


I placed the shirt/jacket I’ve been wearing the most in cold water with two capfuls of the wool and cashmere shampoo. I slowly swirled and moved it around, scrubbing very gently the cuff/sleeve areas. I rinsed it out twice in cold water, then gathered it together, and gently pressed the water out of the fabric by pressing it against the side of the sink.

When washing a sweater, especially a wool sweater, you don’t want to “wring” the water out. Wringing out sweaters, especially cashmere or wool sweaters, can pull them out of shape. So it’s best to press the water out gently.

If you’re worried a sweater will stretch out of shape when trying to squeeze out the excess water after rinsing, you can lay the sweater out on a thick towel, roll it up, then gently squeeze the towel to absorb the water from the sweater. Remove it and repeat with another thick, dry towel, if needed. My shirt didn’t feel like it would be prone to stretching, so I just squeezed the water out without “wringing” it out.


After washing it, I placed the shirt on a plastic drying rack that I’ve had for many years. I wish I had a large, flat drying rack for more delicate sweaters, but this one worked well for this piece. If you have a soft, more delicate cashmere sweater, a large flat drying rack would be better.


Update: I just ordered a flat, drying rack after writing this post. It had good reviews and the legs fold up when it’s not in use. The fold up legs will let me tuck it behind the laundry room door when I’m not using it. Also, the legs are spaced the correct distance apart where it is supposed to fit on top of a standard washing machine. It’s available here: Flat, Drying Rack with Fold Up Legs.

The Next Morning

My shirt turned out great! There’s no fading and it feels soft and plush. I noticed the info about this wool-cashmere shampoo states: “naturally repels bugs and moths.” I think that’s due to the cedar extracts in the shampoo base. I smelled my shirt and it doesn’t have any scent that I can detect. That’s good because I don’t like for my clothes to have a scent after being washed.


I’m very pleased with this wool-cashmere shampoo and how my shirt came out. If you’re in need of the same, you’ll find it available here: Wool Cashmere Shampoo.


An Awesome Book 

Before I close this post, I have to share the book I’m listening to on Audible right now, it’s really good! It’s called, Sleep Smarter by Shawn Stevenson. If you’re not an Audible member, don’t worry, it available on Amazon and Kindle here: Sleep Smarter.

I used to have trouble occasionally falling asleep. That rarely happens now, especially since I started taking spin classes several times a week on my Peloton. I’m usually whipped by the time my head hits the pillow these days, not just mentally but physically, as well. Regular exercise definitely helps with sleep!

Since I used to occasionally have problems falling asleep at night, this book caught my eye so I decided to give it a listen. I noticed it had excellent reviews on both Audible and on Amazon. I’m only on Chapter 3 and I feel like I have learned so much! I love that the author doesn’t waste your time and gets right into the good stuff, starting in the Foreword. Just from what I’ve read so far, I never want to cheat my body of a full night’s rest ever again!

This book is not only about steps you can take to get a good night’s sleep, it covers a lot more including about nutrition and how sleep and nutrition work together to fight disease and to heal our bodies. The author was in terrible shape at the young age of 15. His doctor told him he had the bones of an 80-year-old! He refused to accept that and turned his life and health completely around.

This book definitely makes you want to eat healthier. It makes you think twice about what you’re putting inside your body each day. I really like the author’s style of writing and his sense of humor. Give your body the important gift of a good night’s sleep! It’s so important, if only for the fact it helps our body fight off disease. But it really does so much more! If you tend to be a night owl like me, read this book. It will make you look a sleep in a very different way.

If you’re not an Audible member, you’ll find it available on Amazon and Kindle here: Sleep Smarter.

Looking forward to all the fabulous Before and Afters for this Met Monday!

Metamorphosis Monday

Metamorphosis Monday is a party that’s all about Before and Afters. If you are participating in Met Monday, please link up using the “permalink” to your MM post and not your general blog address.

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In order to link up, you’ll need to include a link in your MM post back to the party so the other participants will have an opportunity to receive visits from your wonderful blog readers.

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Please link up Before and After posts that are home, gardening, decorating, crafting, painting, sewing, cooking, fashion or DIY related.

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  1. Good Morning, Susan!

    Great tip on how to wash wool things – thank you. I usually send my to the dry cleaners because I am so afraid I will ruin it by washing!
    I have one of those flat drying racks and it works really well. Just be careful opening it to full size – the plastic frame can crack very easily.
    Have a wonderful day.

  2. Thanks so much for the party!!

  3. That shirt turned out looking good, Susan. I was reading your post, and my workers showed up. My kitchen is already in total disarray! They’ve already made comments about how heavy the double wall ovens are (now out), and that they don’t make them like that anymore (read, cheaper now). Ugh! Buyer’s remorse on replacements and we’re just beginning….
    Have a great week.

  4. This is wonderful. I know what you mean about dry cleaning clothes. The cleaning fluid is rough on them. Thank you so much for sharing. May I return the favor. So many clothes contain Lycra today. The sales lady in the lingerie department suggested using Forever New to wash bras to preserve the elasticity and anything else that had fibers that stretch.

    • I remember a shirt I once took to the cleaners that looked so lifeless and dull after a couple of dry cleanings. That’s when I decided to avoid as much as possible. Thanks, Ellicia, I’ll look for that…thanks for the tip!

  5. Mawnin’ Susan,
    Been using the Laundress for a decade plus. One gets spoiled by their products. I use them all. A bit pricey at purchase, but they last a very long time is used as per directions. Stiffen Up is super for all the things that needs just a little stiffing up. Spring and summer coming up with all the thin cottons and silks.
    I have a large stand alone freezer and the two top shelves are for my cashmere and other wooly favorites. Actually learned that from The Laundress site. If you don’t have a freezer, another good idea is a food saver. Just don’t remove the all the air. Cedar is a must in your closet. I use the hang up kind in between the clothes about a foot apart. Works like a charm.
    PS For those lucky enough to live in our area, Gibbs garden is a must see.
    Twenty million daffodils. A sight one never forgets.

    • Thanks for all those tips, Kem. I’ve been to Gibbs but never during the daffodil season. I need to see it!

    • Kem, I’ll have to check out their other products. So is the freezer just to ensure moths can’t get to the clothes? I have those cedar things hanging in my closet, but wasn’t sure how well they worked. Do you have any particular brand you recommend? Can’t remember where I got the ones that I have…probably Amazon knowing me.

      • Sorry for the delay. I found that the cedar hangups were not sufficient. We have other small creepy crawler that love our closets. What the exterminator calls imported critters. Also the cedar can leave stains if it touches the cashmere and other light garments. The fluff stays intact and you don’t have to comb them when they come out again. I don’t think it matters as to what brand you use. Real cedar wood is real cedar wood.Tuesday Morning is a good source. A large hang up zippered wardrobe is also a good idea if you have the room. I cover the bottom with cedar balls or chips then all the expensive. blazers and slacks have a safe place to summer in. The Laudress Webb site is the best source for all the products. The travel kit is something you’ll want to take along on any trip. One use of the conditions you’ll wonder how you lived without it. Gwen and Lindsey’s story is fun to know. Oh, the spot remover. IT WORKS. I’m a huge fan.

      • Lavender in drawers ia a must. Great repellant and smells yummy.

  6. I’ve got several pashmina and wool scarves and shawls that need to be laundered. So this product hits the spot. For some unknown reason your blog hits on products and projects that resonate with me. Thanks!

  7. It is good to know there is something besides Woolite out there for wool and cashmere garments! You are such a great source of useful info!!!

  8. Oh my, too early in the morning for me. Spelling errors. Sorry the proof reading didn’t catch them. Don’t have an editor at the moment.

  9. I don’t like sending my clothing to the dry cleaners, either. I usually do light machine or hand washing with another brand but will be looking for this one to give it a try. Thanks for hosting a great party!

  10. Susan, can you give me the name of the antique store that you mention a lot in your blog where you get a lot of your finds?

  11. Wow, you really do love that shirt Susan! It is really cute, but I don’t buy anything that won’t wash in the gentle cycle πŸ™‚ Thanks for the party and the tips!

    • I think I could probably put this in the little hand wash basket of my machine, but I really don’t mind washing it by hand. It only took about 10 minutes when I did it. Also, since it’s wool, it doesn’t absorb stains easily, plus I wear a long sleeve t-shirt under it, so it doesn’t need to be washed as often as some clothes do. It’s worth it. lol

  12. Thank you for the wool sweater washing tips and hosting today Susan!!

  13. I’ve been a “Laundress” fan for some time now…if it works…don’t…well, you know. franki

  14. Susan, thanks so much for hosting!

  15. Great tips on washing wool. Although I’m allergic to wearing it, and I’m at that point in life when wool is just too warm. πŸ˜‰

    • I sympathize! I can’t wear some types of wool, it has to be merino wool or something super soft. I’m not sure what kind of wool they used in the shirt-jacket but fortunately it hasn’t caused any itching. I don’t wear it directly against my skin, though…wear a t-shirt underneath due to being so cold natured.

  16. I hate sending stuff to the Dry Cleaners too. Thanks for sharing, I tend to not buy things with wool just because of the Dry Clean thing. I will have to try some wool for next winter.

  17. That is funny. I buy ‘back up’ favorites on Ebay also. My mom was a whiz and washing everything. Her washing machine literally died the day she did. She hated anyone else using it. Lots of folks just don’t know how to take care of fine clothing. Thanks for helping.

    • Oh my gosh, that is amazing, Taria. The washing machine I use is the one I/we purchased new back in 1980, just a couple of years after getting married. I’m still using that same washing machine today, so it’s almost 37 years old. At this point I can’t bring myself to get rid of it. I want to see how long it’s going to last! lol It may outlast me, who knows!

  18. My browser is up to date and I was unable to see the link-ups last week. I just thought I had “jumped the gun” and read your post before anyone linked up…

    • I don’t know why some folks could see it and some couldn’t. The staff at InLinkz said that it was probably an out-of-date browser, but I think something else must have been going on. I’m going to continue using their older InLinkz system for now, since it seems to work for everyone. Sorry you weren’t able to see the links before, Renee.

  19. Nice tips! Thanks so much for hosting!

  20. Thanks for the tips. I buy multiples of things I love too.
    Now that I am retired, I never use a dry cleaner.
    I don’t like to use a dryer. I never dry my underware or dark clothing. Hanging up to air dry in the laundry room prevents taking the colors out in black, reds, and purple. It also keeps the elastic lasting longer in your unmentionables.

    • Myrna, I so agree, I’m the same way. The only thing I dry are towels and sometimes socks. Everything else I hang up in my bathroom and it dries overnight. I once read an article that said much of the fading we see in clothes happens in the dryer. Apparently drying clothes is really tough on them. I find clothes last and look new so much longer if they are hung to dry.

  21. Thanks for tip…just put the soap in my basket. I try to use dry cleaning as little as possible, having read an article that indicated the products used are really unhealthy and tend to outgas. Yup, I do have back up things I purchase up in one of the guest rooms closet. Especially if something I love goes on sale and is a great deal. πŸ™‚

    • I’ve heard that, too…that the chemicals are bad for you. And to think we wear them right against our skin and breath that stuff in. Ugh. Yay, for backups! If you really love something and it’s a classic style, I think that’s so smart of you! πŸ™‚

  22. Barbara Wagner says

    Hi Susan, As someone who knits and sews, I can perhaps offer some other tips. Your local yarn shop will usually sell products for cleaning wool items. Eucalan is one brand (and there are others) that is used for soaking a garment as you did, but no rinsing is required. You mentioned the shirt is 40% wool. If the remaining fiber content is a synthetic or cotton or other washable fiber, you could probably get away with machine washing it on a gentle cycle, and laying flat to dry. You treated your shirt gently, and that will certainly keep it looking newer longer! Love your blog!! – you always have something interesting.

  23. I love the J Crew shirt jacket… looks so comfy
    I’m wondering about size… I’m a medium in most shirts but I kinda like things on the loose side… does their fit run big, small or pretty much accurate?
    I’m thinking of ordering a Large.
    Thanks for any advice. πŸ™‚

    • I think it runs pretty accurately, at least in the shirt jacket. I purchased it in a Small in the store and it was just right, but not a lot of extra room. It pretty much fit exactly. Then I purchased it later in a Medium because that was what they had left online at that time.
      Since then, they have added other sizes off and on, I guess they found more or got more in. The Medium also fits well…just has a little more room through the hip area. I would say the Small is around a 6 to a smallish 8 and the medium is around an 8-10, if that helps a bit.

    • Oh, and it is amazingly comfortable! I wear a long sleeve t-shirt under it, I should have added that in my previous comment. So that sizing info I gave you, includes wearing a form fitting, cotton, long sleeve t-shirt underneath. I buy these fitted long-sleeve t-shirts in Walmart each year, very inexpensively, and wear them under my clothing all winter since I’m sooo cold natured.

      • Thanks Susan…
        I decided to order a large because I want room to wear a sweatshirt under since I’ll mainly use it for walking our dog along the dykes in early morning and again after dinner… it can be quite chilly with the dampness in the air but it’s not actually raining so I hate to wear something waterproof when I don’t need to.
        I think this will be perfect… Can’t wait to get it… looks so wonderful comfy and warm πŸ™‚

  24. Great tip on the wash Susan! Here in Texas we do not wear anything wool very often but I will keep it in my file to remember. Thanks for a great party and I hope your week has started off well!

  25. Sheila Vann says

    Susan, not only did I purchase the navy/white plaid CPO shirt after seeing it on your blog but I love it as much as you. That was my first J Crew purchase, thanks to you! I live in a coastal area and it is a great piece that takes me most casual places or even to dinner, comfortably! Thank you for so much good info, great shopping tips, and nice style!

    • I’m so glad, Sheila…makes my day to hear that! I just started shopping at J. Crew about a year or so ago, I think the first thing I purchased was a pair of Stubbs and Wootton shoes with little foxes on them. I love that they carry such classic styles! I can see how that shirt-jacket would be perfect for where you live. Hoping they bring it back again next year in another color.

  26. Thanks for hosting, Susan.

  27. I had a pair of shoes I loved. I wore them until the fell apart. I still miss those shoes.

    • Oh, I have so done that, too. I had a pair of sandals that I wore to the point it was embarrassing. lol I hated to give them up because they went with everything and were so comfortable! Theresa, do you remember who made the shoes you loved? I think mine were by Ecco, but instead of being so “practical” looking like most of their shoes, they were actually very pretty and feminine. Unfortunately, they discontinued the style.

  28. Susan, thanks for the tips on washing wool/cashmere! But mostly, for the “sleep” book….I ordered it immediately and read the small digital sample online. Can’t wait for it to arrive. It is very interesting from the get-go!

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