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Mohair is the soft, lustrous fiber made from the hair of the angora goat. Similar to wool in many ways, mohair can be knit or woven to make sweaters or mixed with wool fibers to create beautiful, lofty fabrics. However, mohair is more delicate than its wool counterpart, so it's important to care for it correctly. Before you go running to the dry cleaner, try some safe cleaning and handling tips to help ensure your mohair lasts a long time.
Don't confuse mohair with the fur from the angora rabbit, which is called angora wool.
Any small stains or spills on mohair should be treated immediately using spot treatment techniques. First blot the area of the stain with a clean cloth to remove any excess liquid. Treat stains from fruit juice or coffee with a dry foam cleanser or mild detergent, using a clean cloth and water to carefully dab the surface until the stain is lifted. Stains from liquor or spirits should be treated with rubbing alcohol, again using a clean cloth to dab the surface until the stain is released. Try not to scrub any mohair fabrics as this will ruin the nap, or direction and texture of the mohair fibers. Follow both cleaning methods by rinsing the stain under cold water, and gently squeezing out excess water. Finally, lay the mohair garment flat to dry.
For more general cleaning, hand wash mohair garments with cold or tepid water and a gentle wool or delicate-fabric soap. Be sure to gently squeeze the garment to release soap and excess water -- never wring the garment, because wringing will distort the delicate fibers.
The preferred method for drying mohair is to lay it flat on a towel to air dry. This preserves the fibers and shape of the garment. Never hang or line dry mohair, because the weight of the wet garment will cause the fibers to stretch and become distorted. Avoid direct sunlight, which causes discoloration. If you’re in a pinch for time, mohair can also be tumble dried in a pillowcase, but this is not the best method. To reduce shredding, tumble dry on the lowest setting for 10 to 15 minutes.
Storage and Care
Once your mohair garment is clean, store it in a cool, dry place. Never store mohair in plastic, because the fibers need to breathe. Don't hang mohair garments in the closet; it can cause stretching and distort the shape. Instead, fold mohair garments and store them on a shelf. While you should never iron mohair, streaming can help restore the pile to the fabric.
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Ann Jordan is a writer and clothing designer based in New York. She has three years of experience with technical clothing design and styling, and has written for online publications, including TwentySix Magazine.
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